In the history of hunting in Wisconsin, safety has improved sporadically. Several weapons and techniques have been banned, and wearing blaze orange clothing was officially required in 1980, but one of the most important changes came in 1967 with the introduction of the Hunter Safety Education Program.
Frank Vogt, 76, has spent the last 46 years teaching hunter safety education. In his time as an instructor, more than 3,000 students have gone through his classes, including seven of his 10 grandchildren.
“It’s all about the kids,” Vogt said. “To me it’s the most important thing to have them be out [in nature], and to have them be safe.”
Vogt was an instructor, and a physics and chemistry teacher, in Janesville for almost 40 years. The hunter safety class there was dropped in 2010, even though demand was high, so Vogt started instructing in Milton. He also became a substitute teacher, which he still does today part-time.
The demand in Milton is also high. Vogt teaches two classes each summer of 12 students each, and he said there was a 26-person waiting list this year to get in. The classes cover bow and gun hunting safety, conservation and ethics.
Vogt also encourages the students to trust the conservation wardens. Boyd Richter Warden for the South Central Region of the Department of Natural Resources, said he appreciates that trust.
“It’s good that Frank teaches the kids we are not the bad guys, but someone who is there to help,” Richter said. “I enjoy coming in to his classes because I know the kids are going to be well-behaved and attentive.”
On Wednesday, Richter presented Vogt with a 45-year service award.
Vogt said his grandkids take up much of his time these days, but said he plans to continue instructing for the foreseeable future.