Laying a foundation for a lifetime of safe hunting
So, you’ve asked a friend to go hunting with you, and you’ve even set the date. Now all you have to do is get your buddy geared up and wait for the big day, right? Wrong.
Your hunt will never leave the truck if the new hunter doesn’t have his or her hunter’s safety certification. That’s because most states won’t issue a hunting license unless a hunter can prove he or she has the proper credentials. So, once you’ve gotten a friend interested in hunting, the next step is have him or her enroll in a hunter education course.
A hunter ed course used to be a significant time commitment, involving a couple days or nights of in-person instruction. However, technology has made the process much easier.
There are a number of excellent online hunter education resources available, including Hunter-Ed.com and the International Hunter’s Education Association. The best part is that many states also offer online courses, so your plus-one won’t even have to burn a weekend in a classroom, instead being able to complete the coursework in his or her free time on a computer or smartphone.
Be sure to inform your buddy that that the class isn’t designed to be tough. It’s meant to teach beginners the basics of gun safety and safe practices afield, not to trick them into failing. Prospective hunters need no prior knowledge of firearms, game animals, or hunting to take and pass the course. For most kids, it’s actually fun.
Hunter’s safety education is mandatory, and can sometimes be an obstacle in getting a new hunter afield. Fortunately, it’s now relatively easy to accomplish. Make sure it gets done.
About the Author: A native Oklahoman, Jeff Johnston is an NRA-certified shotgun, rifle, and handgun instructor, as well as an NRA Distinguished Expert shooter. A lifelong hunter, he’s taken many different species of game, including a few giant whitetails and one rare masked fox squirrel from Georgia of which he’s particularly proud.