WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Rhonda Esakov wins International Hunter Education Association's 'Instructor of the Year'

On June 3, 2010, a wonderful recognition for women in the outdoors was made. Sponsored by Federal Premium Ammunition, the International Hunter Education Association [IHEA] presented the award for National Hunter Education Instructor of the Year to Rhonda Esakov of Georgetown, Texas.

In order to be selected for this award, a person must be an active volunteer, not a paid professional, and be nominated by a state agency. This year’s selection included 67 persons from more than 40 U.S. states, as well as a selection of other countries. The selection committee then narrowed the choice down to five finalists and selected one for the award, based on community involvement and other criteria. This year, Texas Parks and Wildlife nominated Rhonda as its candidate and were proud to share the limelight with her at the convention and awards banquet in Estes Park, Colo., the first week of June.

Rhonda is an active volunteer and spends many days, even weeks, volunteering her time to combat what she calls “Nature Deficit Disorder,” aka the lack of people participating in and enjoying outdoor activities. Working with the Boy Scout organization, Texas Parks and Wildlife, her local Parks & Recreation Department, Becoming an Outdoors Woman events, speaking at public and home schools and in corporate safety programs are just a few of the activities that she was involved with the past year and were used in consideration for nomination.

This is the first time Federal has given this award to a woman and a very fitting award it turns out to be. Besides the engraved plaque with name and date, the award itself is a copy of a bronze statue titled “Girls Day Out” and depicts a young girl with her mentor after bagging her first bird. Beautiful and appropriate for this occasion, the statue and the honor were a rare treat at the awards luncheon.

Olympic shotgun trap shooter Corey Cogdell and Rhonda Esakov in Colorado. Submitted photo.

The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) is the professional association for 67 state and provincial wildlife conservation agencies, and the 70,000 volunteer instructors who teach hunter education in North America.

Hunter Education classes reach more than 750,000 students annually. Since 1949, more than 35 million students have been trained. Courses cover firearm safety, bowhunting, wildlife management, field care of game, responsible hunting, landowner relations, wildlife identification, and much more.

Hunting is a safe activity, and it is getting safer all the time. Over the last 50 years hunting related injury rates have decreased dramatically, even as populations of deer, wild turkey, elk, geese, and other species of game have risen to record numbers.

During the 20th century, hunters raised billions of dollars for wildlife conservation in North America and championed the cause of wildlife restoration programs. Now, in the 21st century, hunters continue to be the most effective political voice supporting legislation to protect wild things and wild places for future generations. http://www.ihea.com/index.php

  • About The WON

    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.