April 20, 2020

Northeast: States Move to Authorize Internet-Only Hunter Education During COVID-19 Pandemic

Contact: Brent Miller, Northeastern States Senior Director, States Program Team Administrator

Recently, both New York and Vermont have authorized internet-only hunter education courses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Both states previously offered a section of the course online, but still required an in-person field day to successfully pass the course and become hunter education certified. 

Internet-based hunter education courses provide 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 in a self-study environment while learning from materials and completing proficiency exams that have been approved by the International Hunter Education Association. 

In New York, the online course will be available now through June 30, and is $19.95. To participate in the course, prospective hunters must be residents of New York and at least 11-years-old. Those interested in participating in the New York course can register here

“Supporting our sportsmen and sportswomen is extremely important to me,” said Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, a member of the bipartisan and bicameral New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. “This online course is a great opportunity for parents and grandparents to teach future hunters safe practices and maintain the tradition of outdoor recreation.”

Vermont’s offering of the online course contains both a traditional online course as well as a new “virtual field day” – both of which are available free of charge. Following the successful completion of both segments, prospective hunters will need to email their completion certificates to huntereducation@vermont.gov to get their hunter education cards prior to purchasing a license. 

Now is a great time to take advantage of online offerings, such as these, and introduce new participants to hunting with less barriers than ever before. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commends both the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife for ensuring that even during state-wide shutdowns prospective hunters can retain access to training and certification to prepare for the upcoming seasons. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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