Hunter education is a vital part of safe sport hunting in the U.S.
However, in 2018, there is a myriad of options for hunting classes that the choices can become overwhelming.
In this guide, we’ll break down some of your options and examine the pros and cons of each.
Hunting Class is No Longer Limited to the Classroom
When you think of hunter safety courses and other hunter education classes, you probably think of some folding tables in a local-community meeting room with some whiteboard explanations at the front.
That’s not necessarily the case any longer. Modern hunter education can happen online or in the classroom. Though not available in all states, most states now allow at least some portion of their hunter education courses to be completed online.
Some of these courses also offer a “field-day” portion to supplement the online education. This interactive training segment often provides a live-fire training, hands-on presentations, and the option for students to interact one-on-one with hunting experts.
These online or online-hybrid courses are an excellent way for states to offer further accessibility for the sport of hunting. Hunter safety should be as comprehensive as possible, and multiple course options help to ensure that.
These online or online-hybrid courses are a great way for states to offer further accessibility for the sport of hunting. Hunter safety should be as comprehensive as possible and multiple course options helps to ensure that.
How to Choose the Right Hunting Class for You
To choose the right hunting class for you, you’ll need to assess your own needs and learning abilities. Some people learn much better in a self-paced individualized environment, some in a community-based classroom setting, and other still will learn more efficiently with some combination of the two.
Below, we’ll examine the pros and cons of each type of hunting class. Additionally, some types of courses have restrictions regarding age or geographic location.
1. Traditional, Face-to-face Hunting Classes
Regular, face-to-face hunter education is one of the icons of the sport of hunting. Hunter education has been completed this way ever since the NRA developed the first hunter education course in 1949.
These face-to-face hunting classes are often led by state wildlife officials and are state-sponsored.
They are notorious for being full of “youngsters” getting their first hunting licenses, but this shouldn’t deter you if you feel this is the most effective way for you to learn.
These courses will require you to attend in-person, likely several times, and will eventually culminate in a skills-test or some other form of examination.
2. Online Only Hunting Classes
Online only hunting classes are becoming more and more common. Some states have their online versions of classes, such as Florida’s Virtual School Education program, but there are generic online options as well.
Online hunting classes are a great way to get in a quality hunting and firearm safety education within your schedule. You can take the courses at your own pace, complete them on different devices at different times, and never have to commute across town.
3. Online/In-Person Hybrid Hunting Classes
Though some states will certify you after completing courses exclusively online. Minnesota is an example of such a state. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources states, “Students who complete the [online] course are issued a voucher that they can use to complete their certification immediately or attend an instructor-led field day.”
In other states, the field day will be mandatory. Whether mandatory or voluntary, in-person training can be a fantastic way to supplement online hunter safety training. These in-person trainings can help you understand firearm safety more thoroughly. In many states, you’ll have to take the exam in person regardless if you took the course online.
What You’ll Learn in Your Hunting Class
Do not take the information that you learn in a hunting class lightly. Hunter and firearm safety courses play a crucial role in keeping yourself and other hunters safe.
In your hunting class, you’ll learn the basics of firearm safety, hunting laws specific to your locale, the basic principles of hunting for sport, and responsible gun handling procedures.
Worry No More About How to Choose the Right Hunting Class for You
With so many options there is no excuse not to take the first steps towards becoming a proficient hunter. Taking a hunter education class is one of the earliest steps you can take on your journey to a fun and fulfilling sport.
No one knows you better than you do.
Choose a class that you honestly believe will help you best understand the principles being taught. Hunting is a sport that requires a great deal of caution and safety, and you will be expected to know how to maintain those standards.