Hunter Education Changes for 2005

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Some Kansas hunter education requirements will change in 2005. Effective Jan. 1, hunters 15 and younger may hunt without hunter education certification, provided they are under the direct supervision of an adult 18 or older.

The new law, approved by the 2004 Kansas Legislature, contains these additional provisions:

* no person under the age of 11 will be certified in hunter education although they may be able to attend hunter education courses if space is available;

* no one under age 12 may hunt unless accompanied by an adult, except on their own land, regardless of hunter education status. For example, hunter education certificates issued prior to Jan. 1, 2005, are valid regardless of the age of the person holding the certificate, but holders of those certificates under age 12 still must be accompanied by an adult while hunting;

* hunters 12 and older may hunt by themselves, provided they possess a valid hunter education certificate; and

* once a hunter turns 16, he or she must complete a hunter education course before they may purchase their first hunting license.

As in the past, hunter education is still required for all hunters born on or after July 1, 1957. However, the changes enacted this year are designed to help young hunters decide whether they want to enter the sport before investing 10 to 14 hours in a hunter education class.

“Because many youngsters are reluctant or unable to commit to that much class time before even trying hunting, we believe this change is an improvement,” said Wayne Doyle, statewide hunter education coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. “It allows youngsters to gain field experience, in a mentored situation, so that they can decide for themselves if hunting is right for them.”