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Thread: Asked to Disarm at IDFG Bowhunter Education Class - Refused

  1. #1
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    Asked to Disarm at IDFG Bowhunter Education Class - Refused

    I recently bought a compound bow and intend to hunt with it in the fall season. I took the online bowhunter education course, which requires that you come in for a 3.5 hr "field day" (mine was tonight). The class was held at the IDFG Boise Hunter Education Center just off of Chinden in Garden City. I arrived about 10 minutes early and found that there were about 20 folks already in the classroom (and I was surprised to see that 1/4 were lady hunters). The instructor (and IDFG volunteer named Shane Sisler) was sitting at a desk in the front, and when I walked over to sign in and pick up my materials, Mr. Sisler greeted me with, "Is that sidearm unloaded?"
    Me: "No, sir."
    SS: "Could you please unload it?"
    Me: "Is this a state-owned building?"
    SS: "Uh, yeah." (the sarcastic tone of his voice was intended to make me feel like I was in the wrong)
    Me: "In that case, no, I'm not required to." [you should have seen the look on his face! priceless!]
    SS: "Why would you take a loaded gun to a class?" (again with the sarcastic tone, bear in mind that he is speaking noticeably louder than polite conversation level)
    Me: "It goes wherever I go, for protection."
    SS: "Well, I promise I'm not going to rape you or anything." (on my honor, direct quote. at this point he begins getting my materials together)
    Me: "I wasn't worried about you." ("until now," I wanted to add)
    SS: "We just don't like loaded guns..."
    Me: "I promise it'll stay right where it's at."

    I picked up my things and went to my seat. Mr. Sisler began the class and for about the first hour and a half, continued to draw attention to my firearm, which didn't seem to rile up anyone in the class, but made me vaguely uncomfortable. Things like, "What do you do for protection against predators while bowhunting elk? You pack what he's got!" and "What happens if you encounter anti-hunters? No, you can't shoot them!" (pointing at me). After awhile, I think he got the hint that I wasn't amused, and the rest of the class went on without incident. None of the other students even came up to me and asked about it during the break, which both surprised and pleased me.

    Overall, I'd rate this experience as neutral. While Mr. Sisler was unaware of the law, we have to bear in mind that he is a volunteer, and unlike IDFG enforcement officers, probably has no training in dealing with armed citizens. His immature attitude, tone of voice, and comments did peeve me slightly, but he seemed like a decent enough fellow and did know his stuff when it came to bowhunting elk. And, being obviously unaware of the law, I will give him credit for making the logical assumption that someone who is open carrying and seems to know what he is doing is probably not breaking the law, rather than the illogical assumption that something must be wrong and that calling additional armed strangers is necessary. At the very least, I hope that the encounter provoked at least one student to google "open carry."

    Any comments or constructive criticism is welcome!

    P.S.: Later in the class, he admitted, "You guys are going to rag me for this, but I'm actually originally from Kalifornia." I wanted to stand up and shout, "No, REALLY?!?"
    Last edited by ManInBlack; 07-28-2011 at 12:49 AM.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    It's unfortunate that he continued to draw attention to you. I'm sure that it took away from what he was supposed to be doing (teaching). I give you kudos for holding your ground and educating him while refusing to disarm. Perhaps he learned a lesson when no one else got riled up. Were you able to give him any OC pamphlets or something similar? It might not hurt to fire off a friendly email to IDGF asking that their volunteers be briefed on firearms carry. You could even go so far as to provide the briefing material. I guess the most important question is, did you pass the class?
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    It's unfortunate that he continued to draw attention to you. I'm sure that it took away from what he was supposed to be doing (teaching). I give you kudos for holding your ground and educating him while refusing to disarm. Perhaps he learned a lesson when no one else got riled up. Were you able to give him any OC pamphlets or something similar? It might not hurt to fire off a friendly email to IDGF asking that their volunteers be briefed on firearms carry. You could even go so far as to provide the briefing material. I guess the most important question is, did you pass the class?
    You know, I was at the university today printing off my online course certificate and I meant to print off some pamphlets just in case, but I forgot (don't have a working printer at home at the moment). Definitely on the "to-do" list.

    I probably will send an email to the IDFG. Would it be better to send it to the Director or try to find the individual in charge of hunter education? I dislike going over people's heads without giving them a chance, but on the other hand, I feel that an email to the Director might have a better chance of educating the Department as a whole. At the very least, we all know that dog doo rolls downhill, so I'm sure it will find its way to the right person.

    And, thanks, yes I did pass. I would have had to be a really special individual not to, given the ease of the test questions. It was probably 85% waste of time, 15% legitimate information. Like most government functions, it revolves around the generation of revenue. I was surprised when I found out that Idaho is one of only a few states (including Montana - another surprise!) and most Canadian provinces (no surprise) that requires bowhunter education in addition to regular hunter education. Just goes to show that there's no such thing as "good government," just "less government" in a few, relatively-fortunate places.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManInBlack View Post

    I probably will send an email to the IDFG. Would it be better to send it to the Director or try to find the individual in charge of hunter education? I dislike going over people's heads without giving them a chance, but on the other hand, I feel that an email to the Director might have a better chance of educating the Department as a whole. At the very least, we all know that dog doo rolls downhill, so I'm sure it will find its way to the right person.
    I would try to start with the direct supervisor of the volunteers. I too am not a fan of going over someone's head because I personally like the opportunity to solve a problem before my boss hears about it. If you don't get the answer you are looking for you can always work your way up. Congrats on passing by the way!!
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Good job.

    Walk the walk!

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    This is the email I am considering sending. I just composed it hastily in the midst of work, so I am definitely looking for feedback. Thanks!

    Any suggestions on a subject line that will ensure it gets read?


    Mr. Ron Fritz
    State Hunter Education Coordinator
    Idaho Department of Fish and Game

    Mr. Fritz:
    I am writing to express my concern regarding an experience I had last night while taking a bowhunter education course from Mr. Shane Sisler at the Boise Hunter Education Center. I was openly carrying a firearm, as is legal under the Idaho Constitution and statutes. Upon entering the classroom, Mr. Sisler greeted me with the following, "Is that sidearm unloaded?" I replied, "No, sir." He asked me to unload it, at which point I asked him if the Hunter Education Center was a state-owned building. He answered in the affirmative, and I responded that I would not disarm because I was not legally required to under the state's preemption statute (see below). He then asked, "Why would you take a loaded gun into a class?" I replied that it was for protection. He then made the odd comment that, "Well, I promise that I'm not going to rape you or anything." I told him that I wasn't worried about it. He said that, "We just don't like loaded guns." At this point, Mr. Sisler was speaking louder than normal conversational tone, and there were approximately 20 students listening to the exchange. I told him that my weapon would stay in its holster, then gathered my materials and took my seat. For the first hour and a half or so, Mr Sisler continued to draw attention to my weapon in ways that I thought were imprudent. He would ask rhetorical questions like, "What do you do to protect yourself against predators when retrieving a kill the next day?" and "What do you do when you encounter anti-hunting protesters?" then respond with "You carry what he's got!" or "No, you can't SHOOT them!" while pointing at me. Eventually, he dropped it and moved on to the meat of the course.

    Please be aware that I do not fault Mr. Sisler for not knowing the law, only in his publicly-displayed reaction, attitude, and comments. This appears to be a training issue among volunteers and, as such, I felt it appropriate to bring it to your attention. Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading your response.

    Sincerely,
    <My Name>

    Note:
    From the Attorney General's web site (http://www.ag.idaho.gov/concealedWea...erson in Idaho):
    May I carry a weapon on my person in Idaho?
    Yes, you may carry a weapon on your person in Idaho as long as the weapon is clearly visible. You may not carry a concealed weapon unless you have a concealed weapons permit.

    Idaho Statutes Section 18-3302J(2):
    Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city, agency, board or any other political subdivision of this state may adopt or enforce any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance which regulates in any manner the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying or storage of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition.
    Last edited by ManInBlack; 07-28-2011 at 04:37 PM.

  7. #7
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    "don't piss him off! He'll shoot you!"

    This reminds me of my first day attending a Professional Military Education course. Day one everyone had to introduce theirself, where they're from, and what they do in their spare time. I stood up and after introducing myself I said I was a firearms enthusiest and I spent my time at the range.

    Immediately the instructor in the room *while pointing at me* was like, "oh no! Don't piss him off! he'll come in here and shoot you!" I just had a surprised look on my face as I turned to the class and ensured them I wasn't shooting anybody. Why do people think something like that is funny?

    Two people down someone revealed that they take MMA classes on the weekend and again she said, "OKAY SO HE'LL BEAT YOU UP, *points at me* and HE'LL SHOOT YOU! HAHA"

    Again, I'm ensured the class that it is not a joking matter and I wouldn't be shooting anyone.


    Why? Why would you say something like that? With all the crap going on in today's world?

    While at work (on 2 different occasions with 2 different people) I've had people joke about me not being able to be at the base when Obama visits because I'd some presidential threat. (Obama visited here when I was TDY across the country) I'm like what the F*$# why would you even say something like that? I don't find jokes like that funny. Stupid little snips like that are what get people into trouble. Some people are just rude/stupid and don't understand what is coming out of their mouth.

    Sorry to vent, hope I didn't derail the original thread here.
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManInBlack View Post
    This is the email I am considering sending. I just composed it hastily in the midst of work, so I am definitely looking for feedback. Thanks!

    Any suggestions on a subject line that will ensure it gets read?


    Mr. Ron Fritz
    State Hunter Education Coordinator
    Idaho Department of Fish and Game

    Mr. Fritz:
    I am writing to express my concern regarding an experience I had last night while taking a bowhunter education course from Mr. Shane Sisler at the Boise Hunter Education Center. I was openly carrying a firearm, as is legal under the Idaho Constitution and statutes. Upon entering the classroom, Mr. Sisler greeted me with the following, "Is that sidearm unloaded?" I replied, "No, sir." He asked me to unload it, at which point I asked him if the Hunter Education Center was a state-owned building. He answered in the affirmative, and I responded that I would not disarm because I was not legally required to under the state's preemption statute (see below). He then asked, "Why would you take a loaded gun into a class?" I replied that it was for protection. He then made the odd comment that, "Well, I promise that I'm not going to rape you or anything." I told him that I wasn't worried about it. He said that, "We just don't like loaded guns." At this point, Mr. Sisler was speaking louder than normal conversational tone, and there were approximately 20 students listening to the exchange. I told him that my weapon would stay in its holster, then gathered my materials and took my seat. For the first hour and a half or so, Mr Sisler continued to draw attention to my weapon in ways that I thought were imprudent. He would ask rhetorical questions like, "What do you do to protect yourself against predators when retrieving a kill the next day?" and "What do you do when you encounter anti-hunting protesters?" then respond with "You carry what he's got!" or "No, you can't SHOOT them!" while pointing at me. Eventually, he droppedM it and moved on to the meat of the course.

    Please be aware that I do not fault Mr. Sisler for not knowing the law, only in his publicly-displayed reaction, attitude, and comments. This appears to be a training issue among volunteers and, as such, I felt it appropriate to bring it to your attention. Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading your response.

    Sincerely,
    <My Name>

    Note:
    From the Attorney General's web site (http://www.ag.idaho.gov/concealedWea...erson in Idaho):
    May I carry a weapon on my person in Idaho?
    Yes, you may carry a weapon on your person in Idaho as long as the weapon is clearly visible. You may not carry a concealed weapon unless you have a concealed weapons permit.

    Idaho Statutes Section 18-3302J(2):
    Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city, agency, board or any other political subdivision of this state may adopt or enforce any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance which regulates in any manner the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying or storage of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition.
    Looks very well written. I think it gets the job done. I like that you addes the law at the bottom so he doesn't have to look it up. The only thing I would change is that I would directly ask him to train his volunteers regarding firearms carry. Something like, "I respectfully request that you brief your volunteers on lawful firearm carry so that another situation similar to mine does not occur." You might also add how you felt uncomfortable with the attention that he was drawing to you. Good luck, let us know how he responds.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Looks very well written. I think it gets the job done. I like that you addes the law at the bottom so he doesn't have to look it up. The only thing I would change is that I would directly ask him to train his volunteers regarding firearms carry. Something like, "I respectfully request that you brief your volunteers on lawful firearm carry so that another situation similar to mine does not occur." You might also add how you felt uncomfortable with the attention that he was drawing to you. Good luck, let us know how he responds.
    Thanks, SD! I incorporated your suggestions. Sent today at 3:07 PM. Probably won't get a response until after the weekend, but I will definitely keep the board posted.

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    If you paid for the class that means he is working for you. You owed him nothing except a big fat ****. Especially if he kept trying to bait you throughout the class. His ignorance doesn't change that. IMHO.
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    What do you have to do to take this class?

    Here is something worth doing. Find situations like these and get 4-5 of us there at the same time to make the point of what is and is not normal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecocks View Post
    What do you have to do to take this class?

    Here is something worth doing. Find situations like these and get 4-5 of us there at the same time to make the point of what is and is not normal.
    Had to take an online course (that actually took better than an hour of just clicking through slides...but with a time delay), for which the cost was $30, and then the field day was $9 something

    Not something I'd give the government money for twice.

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    Still no response as of noon today. If I don't get an answer by close of business, I think I'll send it up the food chain. I want this to be timely to whoever reads it.

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    Forwarded the original email to the IDFG director, Virgil Moore, and cc'd Ron Fritz, the original recipient at 9:00 AM.

    Director Moore,
    I sent this email regarding an unfortunate incident that occurred at a bowhunter education class at the Boise Hunter Education Center to Mr. Fritz a week ago, and have received no response. This is an important issue in Idaho, which explicitly recognizes the right to keep and bear arms in its constitution, and, by statute, denies political subdivisions of the state the authority to regulate the carrying or possession of firearms in any way. I am sorry to have to bring this to your attention, but I wanted it to remain timely. Your attention and response to this matter is greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    <My Name>

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManInBlack View Post
    Forwarded the original email to the IDFG director, Virgil Moore, and cc'd Ron Fritz, the original recipient at 9:00 AM.
    My "guess" is that since your "instructor" was a VOLUNTEER, Idaho will simply distance themselves from the "editorial" comments of the NON-EMPLOYEE.

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    That was quick. Just got the following response from Mr. Fritz.

    Mr. Dindinger,

    We at Idaho Fish and Game appreciate your concern about your right to keep and bear arms, however, we are equally concerned about the safety of our students while attending hunter or bowhunter education classes. Since the carrying of firearms is prohibited by law in public or private schools, we have a long established policy which prohibits live firearm ammunition in any of our classes except for what is necessary for the required supervised live-fire exercise. Because of my utmost concern for safety in our classrooms, I requested an opinion and guidance from our Deputy Attorney General, which I have not yet received, prior to replying to your email. While recognizing that citizens have the right to bear arms, the safety and well being of individuals in our classroom is a most important issue for us. I will definitely get back to you when I hear from our legal counsel.

    Ron Fritz
    State Hunter Education Program Coordinator
    This is my reply:

    Mr. Fritz
    Thank you for your response. However, with all due respect, your attempt to equate the Hunter Education Center with a school does not pass the smell test. Let's refer to the statute:

    18-3302D.Possessing weapons or firearms on school property.
    (1) (a) It shall be unlawful and is a misdemeanor for any person to possess a firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon while on the property of a school or in those portions of any building, stadium or other structure on school grounds which, at the time of the violation, were being used for an activity sponsored by or through a school in this state or while riding school provided transportation.
    (e)
    "School" means a private or public elementary or secondary school.



    Could you please name the elementary school located at the Hunter Education Center? I somehow must have missed it as I entered. Or, if it is a secondary school, perhaps you could tell me how many students were graduated and given accredited high school diplomas last year? Considering that well over half of the "students" in attendance were over the age of 21, I would be interested to know why you believe the Hunter Education Center meets the statutory definition of "private or public elementary or secondary school."

    Clearly, the Hunter Education Center, as admitted by the instructor, Mr. Sisler, is owned by the state of Idaho. It is not affiliated with the Department of Education, or any recognized private school. Consequently, it, and the Department, are preempted by Idaho statute (which I included in my original email) from making any rule which attempts to regulate the possession or carrying of firearms.

    As a question of law, the matter is settled. However, I do look forward to your response after hearing from the Deputy Attorney General.

    Sincerely,
    <My Name>

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    I would say that at least one IDFG employee has no understanding of what constitutes a "school" in the legal sense.

    I would copy this to Marv Hagedorn in the Idaho Legislature (<mhagedorn@house.idaho.gov) as an FYI.

    Clearly, they are NOT trying to throw the volunteer under the bus but this IS a policy at IDFG, despute its illegality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecocks View Post
    I would say that at least one IDFG employee has no understanding of what constitutes a "school" in the legal sense.

    I would copy this to Marv Hagedorn in the Idaho Legislature (<mhagedorn@house.idaho.gov) as an FYI.

    Clearly, they are NOT trying to throw the volunteer under the bus but this IS a policy at IDFG, despute its illegality.
    Forwarded the emails to Rep. Hagedorn. I have a strong feeling that Mr. Fritz is going to be smacked down by the AGO; it will be interesting to see what he has to say when that happens.

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    Pardon my typo!

    Drop the "<" at the beginning of his email!

    Should be simply, mhagedorn@house.idaho.gov.

  20. #20
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManInBlack View Post
    That was quick. Just got the following response from Mr. Fritz.



    This is my reply:

    Mr. Fritz
    Thank you for your response. However, with all due respect, your attempt to equate the Hunter Education Center with a school does not pass the smell test. Let's refer to the statute:

    18-3302D.Possessing weapons or firearms on school property.
    (1) (a) It shall be unlawful and is a misdemeanor for any person to possess a firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon while on the property of a school or in those portions of any building, stadium or other structure on school grounds which, at the time of the violation, were being used for an activity sponsored by or through a school in this state or while riding school provided transportation.
    (e)
    "School" means a private or public elementary or secondary school.



    Could you please name the elementary school located at the Hunter Education Center? I somehow must have missed it as I entered. Or, if it is a secondary school, perhaps you could tell me how many students were graduated and given accredited high school diplomas last year? Considering that well over half of the "students" in attendance were over the age of 21, I would be interested to know why you believe the Hunter Education Center meets the statutory definition of "private or public elementary or secondary school."

    Clearly, the Hunter Education Center, as admitted by the instructor, Mr. Sisler, is owned by the state of Idaho. It is not affiliated with the Department of Education, or any recognized private school. Consequently, it, and the Department, are preempted by Idaho statute (which I included in my original email) from making any rule which attempts to regulate the possession or carrying of firearms.

    As a question of law, the matter is settled. However, I do look forward to your response after hearing from the Deputy Attorney General.

    Sincerely,
    <My Name>
    This is a completely unacceptable response. He doesn't even acknowledge your original requests or the poor conduct of the volunteer. Excellent response by the way. I also agree that it was a good idea to include your state rep, he may have a little more influence. You've got them on the run, don't give up!!
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  21. #21
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    This is a completely unacceptable response. He doesn't even acknowledge your original requests or the poor conduct of the volunteer. Excellent response by the way. I also agree that it was a good idea to include your state rep, he may have a little more influence. You've got them on the run, don't give up!!
    Edit: I meant to quote his response, not yours. Sorry.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  22. #22
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    It just seems he was trying to find an out by saying it was a school, I bet he never even looked up the statute. I also take offense to him saying it is because of safety. If he was concerned for everyone’s safety he would make sure there was on-duty police on the site during the course or let law abiding citizens be armed in accordance to their rights under 2A. By saying it is for safety reasons he is pretty much calling the Ocher and dangerous criminal that must be stopped. I would take that as a personal attack on my character and ability to stay holstered unless someone decided to start shooting arrows at me and the class. This person doesn't seem to have a clue and he was rude and condescending.

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    In my forward to Rep. Hagedorn, I stated that I wanted to ask the bureaucrats at the IDFG what steps they are taking to prevent concealed weapon permit holders from carrying onto the property, because there is no signage and the fact that I was openly carrying was the only reason for the encounter. Like Doc said, if it were truly about safety, there would be a strip search to enter and at least one on-duty police officer at the ready at all times.

  24. #24
    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd
    Edit: I meant to quote his response, not yours. Sorry.
    You can go back to your post #20, click the 'edit' button, highlight everything from MIB, & delete it.
    Would shorten the read considerably, too, if people would trim the post they reply to to just the pertinent bits.

    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker
    It just seems he was trying to find an out by saying it was a school, I bet he never even looked up the statute. I also take offense to him saying it is because of safety.
    He's obviously anti-carry, trying to throw anything at the situation he's ever heard that might possibly relate.

    And while I can understand banning live ammo at a firearms class, because they'll probably be handled and there have been NDs in classes across the country (usually from LEOs ), anywhere else it doesn't make sense.
    You want me to go out to my car, handle my pistol (even if it's just moving it from the holster to a case), then leave it there unguarded & hope it's not stolen??
    No.

  25. #25
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    You can go back to your post #20, click the 'edit' button, highlight everything from MIB, & delete it.
    Would shorten the read considerably, too, if people would trim the post they reply to to just the pertinent bits.
    Thanks. I typically edit posts when I have something to add. I downloaded the new version of Tapatalk and the interface is a bit different. I hit reply instead of edit so I messed that one up. Cmon now, I've been a member for awhile now. :-) In regards to the second part, some folks get all sorts of offended when you cut down their posts so sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
    :-)
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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