Guest Author - MaryBeth Crabb
With the privilege of hunting, fur harvesting and trapping comes great responsibility. As a hunter you need to know the national, state and local laws as well as the ethical rules of hunting. These laws were put in place to protect wildlife, and wildlife habitat, as well as keep hunting safe and competitive. The best place to educate yourself about these rules and laws is in a nationally approved Hunter's Education Program in your state.
Hunter Safety Education began in New York in 1949. The National Rifle Association in conjunction with the State of New York developed a safety program and required all new hunters to pass the course before hunting in the state of New York. The hunter's education program, by law, must be a minimum of 10 hours long, usually held over a two day period. A student must pass the course in order to become certified. There is a written test as well as hands-on demonstrations on a safe range with supplied weapons. States will offer these courses periodically through the year, seasonally from April –October and in numerous locations. In today’s busy world, some states, like Kansas are now offering a special internet-assisted course. This allows the public to study and take the course on their own time, only having to schedule a few hours for the practical hands-on test. Check with your state parks office website or hunter education manual for details.
Most states now require any new hunter to take an approved hunter's education course, no matter the hunter’s age. In 1972, Kansas passed a law making hunters education mandatory for anyone born on or after July 1, 1957. And persons younger than 27 must carry a certificate of the course completion while hunting in the state of Kansas. The good news is that since beginning the nationwide education program there has been a decline in hunting related accidents. Since 1973, more than 410,000 students have been certified by the volunteer educators of the Hunter’s Education Program. The Hunter's Education Program is an important part of being a responsible hunter and can benefit anyone willing to learn.
Contact your local State Parks office or the NRA for information about the next Hunter's Education course being held in your area.