Beebe recognized for 50 years of training hunters
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
Arnold Beebe has been recognized by the Ontario Hunter Education Program (OHEP) for 50 years of service and dedication to training safe and responsible hunters in the province of Ontario.
Beebe was presented with a special certificate at the OHEP awards ceremony in Peterborough which he attended with his wife Noreen.
Reflecting on how he became an instructor, Beebe commented, “There was a knock at my door and it was Mike Semitok from the Department of Lands and Forests at that particular time in 1968. He asked if he could talk to me.”
Beebe continued, “He came in and said, “I’ve noticed your interest in fishing, hunting,” and said, “I’m curious, would you be interested in being an instructor for us?” I agreed.”
Beebe usually runs five hunter education training courses a year.
He teaches students about firearms, safe hunting practices, and to respect fish and game regulations.
“I always invite the conservation gentlemen to take part in it. Those conservation officers have done a service both to the young people and the older people who are in class by bringing the most important parts of regulation to them, explaining why, how, so they understand them,” Beebe said.
He instructs boys and girls as young as 12 years of age.
“We have two classes of hunting permits that are out today. One for an adult who is of age and the young people that take part in the program that become apprentices. Between the time they take the exam until they’re 18 years of age, they’re apprentices and in some cases may carry a firearm with their mentor, but there is only one gun shared between the apprentice and the mentor,” he explained.
At 15, with the consent of a parent, young people can apply for a licence for big game.
“As a result of these courses, the fatality instances are almost down to nothing,” Beebe informed.
He recalled with obvious pride, “I’ve had 12 year olds go with 100 per cent in the exam.”
He added, “When you see a kid carrying a firearm the way he’s supposed to, and handling it, it’s a credit to the system.”
“It’s always a delight to meet one of your apprentices or recipient of their licence along the game trail and see them dressed in blaze orange and following the regulations. I think that’s the kind of thing that’s kept me teaching hunter ed,” Beebe commented.
One of the biggest changes he’s noticed over the years is that the number of women taking part in the courses has increased dramatically.” He noted, “Sometimes I’ll have 20 people in a class and in one case, 13 of them were women.”
Beebe has been instructing Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) courses, since the new firearms licencing system was implemented in 1995. He instructs the course both in Sioux Lookout and in many northern communities.
“I had a course at the Lamplighter (Motel) just the other day. It was 12 people and I think there was an equal number of males and females,” he shared.
Beebe estimates he’s taught more than 1000 people over the years.
Beebe said it’s been a pleasure instructing both courses over the years.
He often runs into former students who recall having him as an instructor. This usually leads to stories about their hunts. Such run-ins always bring a smile to his face. “It gives you that feeling that what you’ve been doing is worthwhile.”
Asked if he feels like he’s been instructing for half a century, Beebe chucked, “I’d say no… when it’s something you enjoy.”
The Ontario Hunter Education Program is administered by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.