Hard work pays off for DNR firearms safety instructor

The 2011 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Firearms Safety Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year isn’t afraid of a little hard work.

Frank Przybilla

Frank Przybilla

As a matter of fact, Frank Przybilla of Ham Lake not only organizes and teaches firearms safety classes, but DNR snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle safety classes as well.

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department Water Patrol member is viewed as the consummate volunteer, said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division safety education coordinator.

“Frank Przybilla is a professional in every sense of the word, and the kind of volunteer any community or civic group would be proud to have representing them,” Hammer said.

Przybilla and his team are credited with certifying 137 firearms safety students in 2011.

That’s in addition to the 33 classes and nearly 1,000 students he’s helped certify since becoming a DNR safety instructor in 2002.

Aware of how busy kids are today, Przybilla has built a reputation as someone who will do everything possible to enable a child can attend a firearms safety class, said State Conservation Officer Lisa Kruse of White Bear Lake, who nominated Przybilla for the award.

“I have had parents call me frantically looking for a firearms safety class when classes in their area were full,” Kruse said. “I would mention this to Frank. He would either fit the child into a future class or put on an additional class. He realizes the importance of hunter education, and he wants any interested child to get the chance to attend a class. He also works closely with a St. Paul retailer in advertising and promoting upcoming firearms safety classes.”

Przybilla was also praised for marketing DNR safety programs and recruiting new instructors.

“The excellent job he’s done recruiting instructors means a very low student-to-instructor ratio, giving instructors more time to individually interact with each student,” Hammer noted. “He’s always looking for new ideas and techniques to promote firearms safety, to recruit new instructors and to teach students.”

Hammer added, “Volunteer instructors are the heart and soul of the hunter education program in Minnesota. The service of these dedicated men and women has made a significant difference in ensuring that hunting in Minnesota is safe, and hunters are ethical and responsible. No one knows how many injuries were prevented and lives saved because of their efforts.”

Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. About 4,700 volunteer instructors teach more than 23,000 students in Minnesota each year.

The DNR is always looking for experienced hunters to pass on the tradition of hunting safety and responsibility to the next generation. People interested in joining DNR in this volunteer activity, should call 800-366-8917, ext. 2504, for information on becoming an instructor, or visit the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us for more information.

Story courtesy of the Minnesota DNR

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