Don’t Wait, Take Hunter Education Now

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If you haven't taken Hunter Education yet, take it soon. A chance for young hunters to hunt ducks and geese in Utah -- before anyone else -- happens in September. Classes fill up fast in the fall.

DWR Press Release

Classes fill up fast

If you want to hunt in Utah this fall — but you haven’t completed the state’s Hunter Education course — there’s still time.

Don’t wait too long, though. Classes fill up fast in the fall.

In addition to the Hunter Education course, the state’s Trial Hunting program is another way to get afield this fall.

Some of the state’s hunts are just around the corner. For example, five upland game hunts start Sept. 1. And special hunting days, for those 17 years of age or younger, start in September.

Hunter Education course

To hunt in Utah, everyone born after Dec. 31, 1965 must complete the state’s Hunter Education course or participate in the Trial Hunting program. You can take the Hunter Education course one of two ways:

– Online at wildlife.utah.gov/hunter-education.html.

After you’ve completed the online course, you must attend a field day. The field day lasts about five hours. During the field day, you’ll be tested on the instruction you received online. Your instructor will also teach you how to handle a firearm safely. Then, you’ll shoot a small-caliber rifle on a shooting range.

– Attend the course in a classroom. You can see a class schedule, and get contact information for the class instructors, at wildlife.utah.gov/hunter-education.html.

The class usually meets two nights a week, for two to three weeks. In the class, you’ll learn how to handle a firearm and how to shoot it safely. After completing the class work, you’ll meet at a shooting range where you’ll demonstrate your ability to shoot a small-caliber rifle safely.

So, which of the two options is best? If you want to be in the field on Sept. 1, the online option might be the way to go. Gary Cook, Hunter Education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says taking the course online might allow you to complete it faster. You can also take it at a time that’s convenient for you.

“Also,” Cook says, “if you have a young child who’s taking the course, you can help them understand what they’re learning by sitting by their side and going through the course material with them. Your child can also take the course at his or her own speed. And they can go back and review the material as often as they like.”

If you don’t know much about hunting, taking the course in a classroom might be the best option. The classes are taught by volunteer instructors who are also experienced hunters. If you or your child has a question, the instructor should be able to answer it.

Trial Hunting program

Utah’s Trial Hunting program is another way to get in the field this fall. The program gives you a chance to go afield with an experienced hunter and see if hunting is something you’d like to pursue.

Anyone 12 years of age or older can join the program. To participate, you must complete a brief online orientation course and buy the license required to hunt the species you want to hunt. To get into the field and hunt, you must be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is 21 years of age or older.

You can learn more about the Trial Hunting program, and sign up to participate, at wildlife.utah.gov/trial-hunting-program.html.

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