Nick Hogamier of Wallace has certified 1,036 hunters in his 20 years as an Idaho Hunter Education instructor, a volunteer career that earned him the Instructor of the Year award.
Governor Dirk Kempthorne was on hand in Coeur d'Alene to honor Hogamier for his service. Hogamier was given a lifetime hunting and fishing license in addition to his award. He has taught 41 classes, beginning when Hunter Education was instituted in 1979.
Hogamier is one of 126 Hunter Education instructors in the Panhandle Region. He holds classes in Osburn, Kellogg and Mullan.
Besides Hunter Education, Hogamier volunteers on the Shoshone County Search and Rescue, serves on the county waterways committee, and has been a firefighter for 18 years. He has also been a Wallace city council member and serves on the local district water board. He is active in the Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He helps save historic structures as a member of the Forest Fire Lookout Association.
Hogamier was quoted at the award event saying he knows Hunter Education is working; "when I joined Search and Rescue in 1970, you always heard of people getting shot. Accidents do happen but they're very rare anymore."
He teaches basic survival with hunting safety, telling students to stay where they are if they become "misplaced." He tells them "should you get lost and I have to come get you - which I'd be glad to do - you'd better be sitting in one place."
Hunter Education instructors themselves select the outstanding instructor in each region every year, then pick one of the seven to be Instructor of the Year. For 1999, top instructors in the other regions were Tom Anderson, Clearwater; Jack Edwards, Southwest; Bob Penny, Magic Valley; Jerome Bullock, Southeast; Sammy Hendricks, Upper Snake; and Win Turner, Salmon.