Kentucky Proposes Changes to Hunters Ed Requirements
At its quarterly meeting held on December 8, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed modifications to the state's mandatory hunter education law. Commission members also voted to open the ruffed grouse season sooner next year.
The Commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly and approves all expenditures by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Starting July 1, 2007, the commission is recommending that any youth hunter required to have a hunting license in Kentucky must obtain a hunter education course completion card before turning age 12. The current law requires a hunter to pass a state-approved hunter education course by age 10.
Under the new proposal, a hunter would be eligible to take the hunter education test at age 9, which gives the young hunter three years to successfully pass the course, if needed, before it is legally required.
The proposal would allow youngsters more time to take the free 10-hour course, which includes in-class and live fire instruction. Hunter education would remain mandatory before doing any type of hunting for anyone born on or after January 1, 1975, and required to have a hunting license.
In related business, the commission also proposed that a new, $5 one-time permit be available next July that would allow any hunter who is subject to the hunter education law to be exempt for a one-year period after purchase.
This exemption permit would be available on-line only via the agency's website. Those using the exemption permit would also be required to only hunt when accompanied by a legal, adult hunter. After the yearlong exemption expires, the hunter would then have to complete the hunter education course, obtain the card, and carry it in the field as proof of complying with the hunter education law.
"The intent of these changes is to allow both adults and youth more opportunities to try hunting with a mentor before having to take hunter education," said Bill Balda, hunter education supervisor for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
"If they try hunting and enjoy it, they could then complete the course and the time it takes to do so would be worthwhile. They may have even a better understanding of the materials after some actual experience in the field," Balda added.
"Parents and students are very busy with many other interests, and we want to give those with an interest in hunting consideration in making time for hunting, and the hunting-related learning we now require," Balda concluded.
The Commission also proposed to begin the ruffed grouse season on November 1. This coincides with the opening of rabbit and quail season and simplifies the regulation.
The next Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Eastern time, Friday, March 9, 2007 at #1 Sportsman's Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort. Persons interested in addressing the Commission must notify the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner's office in writing at least 30 days in advance to be considered for placement on the meeting agenda. People who are hearing impaired and plan to attend the meeting should contact the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife office at least 10 days in advance and the agency will provide a translator. To request to address the commission, write to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, Commissioner Jon Gassett, #1 Sportsman's Lane, Frankfort, Kentucky, 40601.