My wife and I took the DEC's Hunter Education class at the Bath Rod and Gun club on Tuesday and Saturday. What a wonderful experience! She had grown up in a non-outdoors oriented environment and family so almost all of it was completely new to her but she learned in just a few days what many of us take years to learn. I figured that in addition to it being a requirement for the pistol license it's never a bad idea to freshen up on the important stuff as well--NO ONE is above going over safety, laws, and ethics at least one more time. She came away from with a profoundly enhanced appreciation for firearms, hunting, the outdoors, and the sportsmen/women community where before she had to a large degree been on the outside of and mostly thinking wasn't really for her. I can tell you guys for certain that we're a LOT more together as a couple because of it. I can't say it's a 100% sure deal for everyone, but I can say it's a greater than 50/50 shot it will improve things for you if take a non-hunting/shooting spouse or significant other, or family members who don't understand or appreciate what we love, to this course. The way the guys at the Bath club did it I'd say it's over 90%, and since it's a free course I'd say it's definitely worth a try.
The instructors were extremely smart, clear, enthusiastic, and friendly. I think their approach and attitude towards it makes all the difference in the world in delivering the content in a way that makes you excited about learning and proud of yourself and what you do. To help people "get it", to understand what we understand and appreciate it for all the greatness therein, is an amazing skill and an invaluable service. It really impressed upon everyone there (50 people or more I think) that we as hunters and shooters are a community built upon a solid foundation of respect, ethics, and goodness to our world and our fellow man. It makes you want everyone you know to come be a part of it.
The facilities at the Bath Rod and Gun Club are absolutely superb. The buildings are some of the best I've ever seen for a shooting facility. The atmosphere and decor with wood floors, trophy mounts, and wildlife art make it feel like a home you've always wanted to have, and the folks there are welcoming and kind. Everything ran very smoothly despite the long length of time (especially with the summer heat and the first half being a late night) required. The shooting facilities are excellent and made for the perfect introduction for first timers handling .22 rifles and shotguns.
Many thanks to Bob, Dean, Dennis, and Rod for putting on excellent program for us. :)