AGFC Hosts National Hunting Incident Investigation Training

Mayflower, Ark.- For more than 100 years the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been working to conserve and protect wildlife and their habitats, but Thursday, Game and Fish Enforcement Officers train to conserve and protect human life.

It's the first time ever Arkansas is hosting the International Hunting Incident Investigation Academy with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Conservation officers are here from 17 states.

Ken Kenyon, IHEA Instructor & State Game Warden in Iowa, says this training prepares officers for real-life hunting-related shooting incidents. "In this part of the scenario, we're trying to make it as realistic as possible. Role players will come out and they will play the victims, family, and actual hunters."

Thursday, 40 officers were assigned to one of eight different challenge scenes. The goal is to find the truth. They determine whether the scene is an accident, suicide or something malicious

Pam Steelman, Lt. Florida Fish and Wildlife says that "most of the other law enforcement agencies have this training but it is in the city or in houses. So when they call wildlife officers to the scene, its important that they have this knowledge to determine what type incident it is, whether it is murder-suicide or hunting accident."

Mike Brooks, the Hunting Related Shooting Incident Academy Director, says "with turkey season coming up, we have a lot of shooting victims mistaken for game."

By graduation from this academy, officers will know incident reporting, blood spatter analysis, scene management, evidence collection & preservation,

Most importantly, the lessons learned are turned around and used in civilian hunter education programs - all in an effort to make the sport of hunting safer.

"Its great for the outdoors because we can ID the accidents and how they happen by recreating in this school. That's going to help us in forecasting our safety precautions the state should be implementing, whether that is continuing blaze orange or limit the type of gun used to hunt wildlife," says Major Jason Parker, of the Arkansas Game and Fish.

With the recent hunting-related shooting accidents in Arkansas over the last couple of months, Game and Fish Officials say this type of training will prove even more important for their officers moving forward.

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