Nebraska Offers Hunter Ed Exemption Certificate

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Safety is the top priority for students who take Hunter Education courses in Nebraska. Those who successfully complete a course become safe, ethical and responsible hunters and handlers of firearms.

A new Nebraska law created the Apprentice Hunter Education Exemption Certificate, which allows, under limited circumstances, some individuals to try hunting before deciding if they want to take Hunter Education.

The exemption, which became available Sept. 2, is not meant to be a replacement for Hunter Education or legal hunting requirements. It is one of many options the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is using to encourage people to take up hunting, which is key to the state's outdoor heritage.

People ages 12 through 29 may purchase this one-year exemption once in a lifetime for $5, with a one-year renewal for another $5. The exemption expires Dec. 31 of the year in which it was issued.

A person hunting with this exemption must have all required permits and be accompanied by a person who is at least 19 and has a valid hunting permit. The person accompanying the hunter must be in verbal and visual contact and may not accompany at one time more than two persons hunting with a hunter apprentice exemption certificate.

Firearm Hunter Education is required for hunters ages 12 through 29 who hunt with a firearm or crossbow and bowhunter Hunter Education is required for the same age group if hunting deer, antelope, elk, and bighorn sheep with bow and arrow. The exemption is designed to allow a person to try hunting, then meet the legal requirements.

The exemption may be purchased online at OutdoorNebraska.org, Commission offices, or any vendor that sells permits electronically. It may be purchased separately or in conjunction with a hunting permit. If purchased along with a hunting permit, the certificate number will be printed on the permit, as well as on other permits purchased the remainder of the year. Included on the permit will be a reminder that the purchaser must be accompanied while hunting.

When purchased separately, the printed certificate will note the rule for accompaniment as well as the need for a valid hunting permit. The certificate number also will be printed on any future permits purchased in the same year,

The exemption is allowed due to several changes to the Hunter Education requirements after Gov. Dave Heineman signed LB 690 in February. Since 2004, at least 20 other states have passed similar legislation, according to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance.

The Commission urges anyone who hunts, regardless of the age requirements, to take a Hunter Education course.

For more information about Hunter Education, go to OutdoorNebraska.org or contact Commission Hunter Education Coordinator Mike Streeter at (402) 471-6134 or mike.streeter@ngpc.ne.gov.