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FWC names Van Henry Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year

News Release

Friday, September 09, 2016

Media contact: Tammy Sapp, 850-228-1353

Photos available on the FWC Flickr site: External Website

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) named Van Henry of Port Charlotte the 2015 Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year at its Sept. 9 Commission meeting in St. Augustine. The award recognizes a volunteer who significantly advances the cause of safe hunting through extraordinary service in training and education.

“Henry is an exemplary volunteer, dedicating countless hours to teaching his students to be safe, responsible hunters. However, his commitment goes way beyond that,” said Bill Cline, FWC’s hunter safety and public shooting ranges section leader. “He volunteers for several organizations from the Boy Scouts to the NRA so he can introduce more young people to hunting as well as train instructors to help create a new generation of hunter conservationists.”

Henry has been a volunteer hunter safety instructor for 13 years. During the past year, he helped teach 10 hunter safety classes (eight as chief instructor) in Charlotte County, which certified 227 students.

Henry also pulled together a local team to compete in the Youth Hunter Education Challenge last year. This program provides hunter safety graduates a next step to learn more about leadership, ethics, and safety while giving them an outlet to expand their horizons in hunting, target shooting and conservation. 

In addition to volunteering for the state’s hunter safety program, Henry is the Southwest Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America shooting sport director where his work includes training scout leaders to become National Rifle Association instructors. He also is chairman of the Southwest Shooting Sports Corp., and he volunteers his time working with the Girl Scouts and Quail Forever.

A husband of 38 years and father of three with one grandchild, Henry won the FWC’s Southwest Region’s Area Hunter Safety Coordinator of the Year Award in 2005. As the recipient of this year’s Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructor Award, he is now in the running and representing Florida for the national title Federal Ammunition Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.

Successful completion of a hunter safety course is required for anyone born after May 31, 1975, who wishes to obtain a Florida hunting license to hunt unsupervised. For more information, visit

Anyone interested in learning how to become a volunteer hunter safety instructor should go to and select “Volunteer.”

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At birth, a bear cub is smaller than a can of soda.

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