Sportsmen Education Certification Classes have been a mainstay in New York State and new class formats have made certification easier and more effective.

Western New York instructors provide dozens of site options for obtaining hunter, archery, trapping, waterfowl identification, boating and pistol permit certification.

Statistics show that hunter-related shooting incidents have decreased as the state’s certification instruction expands. Recently, the program introduced home-study options, which have students prepared with information before class sessions meet.

Then, in 2011, combo classes were offered for certification in both hunter and archery. Frank Miskey Sr. and Frank Miskey Jr. began teaching these classes the first year, and Frank Sr. said, “Combo classes eliminate repetitive study and allow more time for us to do hands-on, outside activities.”

Miskey added, “Home study has made it more ideal for instruction in general and specific classes such as waterfowl identification and combo classes when the format was introduced.”

Students come to classes with a background gained from studying the online programs, which Miskey says continually improve. Most classes begin with an introductory session weeks before classroom and field/range instruction.

Two combo classes will start on June 28. Dave Lavery conducts a class at Middleport Rod & Gun Club, Freeman & Mountain Roads that Saturday, with follow-up classes July 19 and 20. For details call Lavery at 735-3343 (evenings).

Pete Cherico, Cheryl Schenne and Dan Fisher at Erie County Conservation Society, 13319 Miller Ave., Chaffee, offer a class June 28, with field and classroom instruction set for July 26 and 27. To pre-register, call 655-2328.

Another is scheduled for Elma Conservation Club in late August, and Miskey indicated possibilities for a women-only class in Wyoming County being planned for early fall.

Hands-on field instruction familiarizes students with gear and trappings. Classroom instruction offers immediate insights, and home-study programs have students prepared before class with useful information about shooting safety, equipment handling, and the ethics and good behavior that constitute sportsmanship afield.

To view the many Department of Environmental Conservation class-offering options, visit