Becky Smith has spent 21 years teaching hunter education and gun safety to mostly eager young students.

That dedication earned the Logan resident the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ award for the 2016 Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.

She loves to hear stories from former students. For example, on a routine traffic stop a few years ago, a Logan police officer surprised Smith by asking her if she taught hunter safety.

It turned out that the officer’s son was a student in Smith’s most recent course and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun it was.

“That was exciting for me to hear,” Smith said. “Even if it’s one student out of every class, I hope I can make some kind of positive impression like that.”

Gary Cook, the DWR’s wildlife recreation program coordinator, said Smith received the award due to her extraordinary efforts to meet the needs of prospective hunters.

“Her passion and excitement for hunting and her love of sharing the sport with others makes her an outstanding instructor,” said Cook.

“She is attentive to the needs of her students.”

There are more than 450 active hunter education instructors in Utah.

In the past 20 years, only 10 fatalities have occurred in hunting-related accidents. During that span, more than 5.8 million hunting licenses and tags were issued in Utah.