2014-08-28 / Outdoors

DNR: Include hunter’s safety as part of back to school plan

LANSING – Michigan parents who have children interested in learning to hunt should consider making enrollment in a hunter education class part of their “back to school” plans. Now is the best time to enroll in a class so that new hunters are ready to hit the woods this fall.

“Right now is the best time to enroll because class opportunities are plentiful,” said Department of Natural Resources hunter education program supervisor Sgt. Tom Wanless. “With summer winding down, the focus is on getting kids ready for school. Parents should plan on enrolling their youth hunters in hunter education now. Waiting until the last minute to enroll sometimes makes it difficult to find an available class.”

Wanless said classes are held year-round, but April, May, August and September are traditionally the times when classes are most available.

“Generally, we like the classroom or online instruction completed by Oct. 1 so instructors are available for a field day for the online or home-study students,” Wanless said.

Michigan has three types of hunter education courses: traditional classroom, home study and online. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1960, is required to complete the course before buying a Michigan hunting license or taking an out-of-state hunting trip. Exceptions are made for youths under the age of 10 who are hunting under a Mentored Youth Hunting license or hunters older than 10 who are hunting with an apprentice hunting license. Hunters can hunt under the apprentice program for two years before they are required to take hunter education.

The traditional classroom course is a minimum of 10 hours and includes both classroom and field work with an instructor. The fee for the class is $10 or less to cover expenses. The home-study course features a workbook to complete classwork.

A field day is required with the home-study course and must be scheduled with an instructor prior to starting the course. Michigan also offers three approved online hunter education courses, www.hunter-ed.com/Michigan, www. huntercourse.com, and www.hunteredcourse.com/state/ michigan. Students who opt for the online course complete their classwork online and then have a field/skills day with an instructor and take a written exam. The field day must be scheduled with an instructor prior to starting the online course. The online courses have varying fees, but are all priced under $25.

A Michigan-based company, Hunter Ed Course offers its online hunter education course for $17.99. The course features lessons on safe, legal and responsible hunting practices and uses narration, closed captioning, interactive exercises and photos that replicate what a hunter will see in the field.

Students will need to preregister for the field/skills day before taking the online course. Upon passing the online course, they will be eligible to complete the field day with an instructor and take the written exam. Students can search for a class in their area and find more information about Michigan’s hunter education program at www.michigan.gov/ huntereducation.

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