FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- With summer slowly coming to an end, Fort Belvoir's Morale, Welfare and Recreation has begun preparations for the 2009 hunting season.

Hunters gathered at Outdoor Recreation in Tompkins Basin Saturday, for the first day of bow-hunting qualifications.

"The qualification process requires that each archer must hit two out of three targets from a distance of 20 and 30 yards," Dan Hulst, director for Fort Belvoir Outdoor Recreation, said. "This process allows for the safety of patrons who participate in the program by assuring that the hunters who enter the hunting property are capable of handling a bow."

Qualifiers must hit one of the three targets, which are 9 inches in diameter.

To hunt on Fort Belvoir, qualifiers must successfully pass this qualification, own a valid hunting license with archery tags, own an International Bowhunter Education Program certification card and own a Fort Belvoir MWR Card.

The qualification course wasn't the only preparation being held Saturday.

Belvoir also held an IBEP safety course.

"This course is a full day and covers a wide variety of hunting safety," Hulst said. "Class attendees get hands-on training with proper bow handling, arrow handling, tree stand use, and various other equipment usages.

"We also discuss in the class the dangers of alcohol, tiredness and how to properly identify hunters in the woods," Hulst added.

In addition to safety, hunters in the IBEP course are also subjected to some of the basics of hunting.

According to the Belvoir Bowhunters Web site, IBEP also covers how to become a responsible bowhunter; hunting preparation; anatomy of big game and shot placement; hunting methods and techniques; survival and first aid; map and compass basics; distance estimation; care of bowhunting equipment; and big game recovery and care.