Every student taking Madison Consolidated High School's Introduction to Agriculture class this year - mostly freshmen - earned a hunter safety certificate.

Students went through a two-week training at the start of the course with Jefferson County Conservation Officer Andy Crozier. Students learned about different firearms, how to handle them safely, basic hunting skills and how to be a responsible hunter.

"We go into public schools wherever we can," Crozier said. "Amanda Briggs contacted us wanting to know if we could put on a hunter education class for agriculture students. They seemed to really like it."

This year, 80 students at Madison earned their safety certificate through the introduction class.

Crozier, who used to be a teacher, said he tries to keep the students involved and active during the class by making the sessions interactive.

"We bring a lot of guns and archery equipment in. We try to bring in the actual items so they can get their hands on them and not just see them in a picture or in a book. We let them see how it functions."

The main point of the course is safety, Crozier said. He tells students who have no intention of ever hunting that they probably live in a house with a gun or have been to a house with a gun located inside, and knowing how to handle a gun safely is something that could potentially keep them safe.

"They take that explanation pretty good," he said. "We don't make expert hunters out of them."

State law in Indiana requires that anyone born after 1986 who receives a hunting license must graduate from a hunter education course. Students who go through the course will have met that requirement and be able to apply for a hunting license.

Crozier teaches a similar program at Southwestern Schools in the Introduction to Agriculture class.

Briggs, who teaches Introduction to Agriculture at Madison Consolidated Schools, said that the course would be a yearly addition to the freshmen curriculum.