For over 12 years, Chris Litton has worked with the city to establish firearm safety and training for the youth of Orange Beach. On May 20, in recognition of his work, he received the International Hunter Education Association’s (IHEA) highest service award.
During the association’s annual meeting, Litton, the logistics and safety coordinator for the City of Orange Beach, was awarded the Gladney Davidson Memorial Award. According to the association, the individual or organization nominated for this award should have made some important or innovative contribution to the field of Hunter Education that exhibits excellence in Hunter Education and those involved with its programs.
Litton has worked to create several firearm safety and training programs over the years. The City of Orange Beach Youth Shooting Sports Program offers a Rifle Shoot, Sporting Clay Shoot and a Youth Dove Hunt. The children have fun, but the primary focus is to teach proper firearm safety and technique.
“Many kids these days don’t have the opportunity to handle firearms and they are playing these video games and shooting at other people in the game. What I want to do is give them an opportunity to handle one of those firearms in real life and see that it is not a toy, it’s not a game and there is no reset button. On the receiving end, if someone were to ever get shot, they won’t get back up. I want these kids to understand that and respect guns for what they are and know it’s not a toy,” Litton said.
Litton became a certified rifle instructor and range safety officer in 2006 and began a National Rifle Association (NRA) Air Rifle course. He also became a certified hunter education instructor in 2008, giving him access to state resources and personnel.
Over the years, Litton has coordinated hunting trips for special needs children and for other people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to go hunting. He coordinates these programs with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Litton is now assisting with the new Orange Beach Middle/High School clay shooting team.
When asked how it felt to receive this recognition and the Gladney Davidson Memorial Award Litton said, “I am blown away. I was not expecting it and I do not think about trying to get an honor for what I am doing. I do it because it’s the right thing to do and it’s something I feel strongly about.” Litton continued, “I couldn’t do this without all the awesome volunteers that help me. It’s a community effort. A lot of like-minded people getting together to share this so the kids can learn safety and have a good time. I just want to keep on doing what we are doing.”
About the International Hunter Education Association
The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) – USA is the professional hunter education association affiliated with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the 50 state fish and hunter education programs. The programs employ 55,000 instructors, many of whom are volunteers that teach hunting and shooting safety and responsibilities throughout the United States.
Hunter Education courses train and certify more than 650,000 students annually. Since 1949, almost 40 million students have completed hunter education courses that cover firearm safety, bowhunting, wildlife management, field care of game, responsible hunting, landowner relations, wildlife identification and much more.