ND Outdoors: hunter safety courses

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – If you were born after 1961, are 12 years or older, you must take a certified hunter education course prior to obtaining a firearm or bowhunting license in North Dakota.

“The vast majority of our courses occur from January through May. We’ve been working on encouraging more courses throughout the summer months, but calling the department in August, saying you need to find hunter education course with it being a volunteer led program, the majority of our classes are not going to be occurring right before hunting season,” said Brian Schaffer, hunter education coordinator with ND Game and Fish.

Courses are offered statewide in many cities, and during the 14-hour class students learn a diversity of things related to hunting safety and the outdoors.

“Overall, we just want people to be safe around firearms. And so, the course is heavy on firearm safety, but we also do teach a lot about wildlife management, wildlife conservation and then a lot about landowner relations,” said Schaffer.

There is more than one way to complete a certified hunter education course.

“A home study course, which still requires two in-person classes, the first night and then you have two weeks or three weeks, whatever the course requires. And then you come back for the written practical exam, the state exam. And for the home study course, you have to be turning 12 in the calendar year. And then for our traditional course which most people are taking, especially our youngsters, you have to turn 11 in the calendar year,” said Schaffer.

North Dakota is nearing 250,000 students that have successfully completed the course since the program started in 1979. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s hunter education program wouldn’t be successful without the help from its volunteers.

“Across the state, we have roughly 700 volunteers that teach hunter education in a given year. And so, if you have any interest in helping out, there’s a bunch of different variety of ways we can get you involved in the hunter ed program. And it’s a way to give back to your community and give back to our hunting heritage here in North Dakota,” said Schaffer.

If you’re interested in signing up for a hunter education course, receiving texts alerts or emails when courses are available, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

Copyright 2022 KFYR. All rights reserved.

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