The vast majority of states throughout the nation offer an online component of the hunter’s safety course, which provides potential hunters a way to receive their hunter safety certification at their own pace. By offering new hunters an easy and efficient way to gain hunter safety certification, more people will have the opportunity to begin hunting. Internet based hunter education courses are essential to engaging future hunters and licenses-buyers that will ensure the perpetuation of hunting and professional wildlife management.
Currently 43 of the 49 states that require hunter’s safety education as a prerequisite for obtaining a hunting license also offer an online hunter’s education program. Prospective hunters can complete a convenient and self-paced home study for free, and then for a modest fee, students can take an exam which qualifies them for a field test and/or written exam that may be scheduled online and/or completed at a location convenient to them. Many hunters who previously lacked certification can easily become certified through online education programs. By posting safety materials online, more hunters will have access to the materials necessary to gain valuable knowledge and receive hunter safety certification providing more people with an opportunity to not only begin hunting, but to begin hunting more responsibly. Recruiting more hunters that have completed education and safety courses helps minimize potential accidents in the field and will ultimately benefit state conservation efforts through revenue generated by the license fees and excise taxes that make up the American System of Conservation Funding.
In many states, students that successfully pass the online portion of the class are qualified, and often required, to attend a field day that includes hands on instructions on how to safely handle firearms while afield. These classes are typically administered by conservation officers, and upon successful completion of the field day students are certified and recognized as having fulfilled their states hunter’s safety education requirements. The use of online portions of these courses allow states to easily and accurately compile databases of all the registered and certified hunters in their state, thus expediting the licensing process and allowing statistics on hunter participation to be more easily compiled.
Points of Interest
- 43 states (AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, OR, PA RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WV and WY) currently offer the online hunter’s safety field day qualifier course.
- One of the online courses is offered by Today’s Hunter. Today's Hunter is the official hunter education course of many state fish and wildlife agencies. Other online services are offered by huntercourse.com. Students who successfully complete an approved hunter education course will receive a safety certificate or card that is often recognized by other states.
- One of the identified barriers to hunter recruitment is, in some cases, the arduous process of completing hunter education requirements. In particular, the field days that are often associated with the courses with live fire requirements can limit the opportunity for many prospective hunters as many areas do not have suitable ranges to host such courses.
- Indiana does not require a field-day qualifier. When comparing Indiana’s safety record (average number of accidents per hunter per year), their incident rate (0.000049 accidents/hunter) is lower than the average (0.000062 accidents/hunter) of other Midwestern states that require the field component.
- Further information can be found online at either: http://www.hunter-ed.com/mktg/national_1.htm or http://www.hunter-ed.com/#select-your-state
While safety afield is of paramount importance to the hunting community, it is similarly important that hunting opportunities are available and accessible to all who are interested. In this spirit, legislators should explore their governing regulations and support new legislation (where necessary) that will ensure first-time hunters have the opportunity to complete their hunter education requirements on their own schedule.
For more information regarding this issue, please contact:
Bee Frederick (334) 593-6988; Bee@sportsmenslink.org
- Minnesota H 1809
- Washington H 1119
- Washington H 1119
- Minnesota H 2852
- Florida H 955
- Florida S 1126
- Connecticut S 71
- Minnesota S 1748
- Virginia S 145
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