MIKE BRAUN Father, daughter pass along knowledge
Those who come to the Western Reserve Fish & amp; Game Club on West Third Street in Niles to take a hunter education course will also get the experience of two generations' passing along their hunting knowledge.
Bill Murphy, of Niles, has been teaching Ohio hunter education courses at the outdoor club for 15 years. His daughter, Erica, joined him as an instructor about three years ago.
Bill, who has been hunting for many years, said he got the urge to teach when Erica was much younger.
"We took a hunter education course together when she was 9 and I got interested in teaching," he said. He eventually took the instructor's course and began to lead the classes.
These classes are an important first step for the novice hunter. They give first-time hunters a chance to learn basic safety rules as well as other aspects of hunting from animal tracks to bullet calibers.
Erica, 24, of Warren, began hunting with her father shortly after taking the course. She got interested further while helping her dad during his classes.
"She started out by helping in the kitchen," he said. "When she got older, she got interested in teaching."
She, too, took the instructor course and began teaching classes on her own three years ago.
Murphy said that having Erica in the class has not brought even one smart or sexist comment, and it has served to make the process more comfortable for women who wish to take hunter education.
"There's really been no reaction to her teaching," he said. "But what it has done is bring a bit more comfort to the women in the class and puts them at ease."
Murphy also said that he trades off being chief instructor with his daughter. "We take turns leading the class," he said.
Both have areas that they stress when they teach; Bill focuses on handguns and muzzleloaders, and Erica, a former EMT who works at an area nursing home, keys on the safety angles involved in hunting.
They are not the only male-female hunter education instructors at the club.
"We also have a husband-and-wife team here, Amy and Jason Halko," Murphy said. "In fact, Amy is scheduled to teach a class later this month."
UFor more information on hunter, trapper and bowhunting education: In Ohio, call (800) WILDLIFE or log on to www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/hunting/ huntered/huntcourse.htm, in Pennsylvania, call (814) 432-3187.