The IHEA-USA Hunter Incident Academy, the only one of its kind, provides skills, knowledge, techniques and confidence to state and federal wildlife officers in hunting related incidents. IHEA-USA is keenly interested in the proper collection, documentation, and analysis of this important data. Wildlife law enforcement officers who are already experts in investigations in outdoor landscapes will improve their investigative techniques. With this additional training, improved collection of facts is possible, and crucial in the mission of keeping hunting the safe activity that it is. for curriculum development and media outreach efforts to aid in the prevention of hunting incidents. Through hunter education courses volunteer instructors provide students with the needed knowledge and skills to avoid becoming a statistic.
The materials, curriculum, methodology and techniques found in the Hunting Incident Investigation Academy have been developed through a collaborative effort. The late Homer Moe (Wisconsin DNR), Bob Staton, now retired (Missouri Department of Conservation) and Rod Slings, retired (Iowa DNR) in conjunction with Central Missouri State University began in 1993. Dr. Leanna DePue facilitated and assisted in further development of the academy from 1993 - 2005. Additional personnel from conservation agencies involved were: Mike Van Durme, now retired (New York DEC), Keith Byers, now retired (Georgia DNR) and the late Texas Game Warden Mike Bradshaw. Curriculum development has been provided unselfishly by those listed above who are dedicated to the mission of the academy and hunting incident prevention.
Currently there are 12 active instructors that make up the instructor cadre. Requests and response from conservation agencies have been overwhelming. The academy continues to grow its list of graduates that exceed one thousand wildlife officers. These trained wildlife officers return to their agencies and provide localized training, sharing knowledge and techniques necessary to conduct factual and impartial investigations. Data gathered from their investigations have clearly demonstrated the main causes of hunting related incidents.
According to IHEA-USA Executive Director, Brad Heidel, “The academy has become a priority for our organization. The lessons learned from thorough investigations based on all of the facts, have resulted in a focus of incident causes that enhance our hunter education programs and reduce hunting related shootings.”
IHEA-USA Hunting Incident Investigation Academy Mission Statement:
"Training investigators to properly collect and document the facts of hunting related shooting incidents. Ensuring proper methodology and techniques are utilized for the purpose of research and curriculum focus on hunting incident prevention."