New Hampshire Reminds New Hunters to Take Hunters Ed

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It's prime time to take a hunter education class. If you're looking to purchase your first hunting license in New Hampshire, you must complete a hunter education course before you can hunt. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department offers hunter and bowhunter education classes around the state, as well as trapper education. To find a class, http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/hunter_ed_schedule.htm or call (603) 271-3214.

"This is the busy season for hunter education. Don't put it off -- if you want to go hunting this fall and need to take a hunter education class, you better sign up soon," said Tom Flynn, Hunter Education Coordinator for Fish and Game.

The basic Hunter Education course averages about 16 hours of classroom instruction and field experiences, often including firing on a shooting range. Courses are taught by trained, certified volunteer instructors according to national guidelines and state standards. They cover safe firearms handling; wildlife ID; game trailing, recovery and care; hunter ethics; outdoor safety and survival skills; hunting laws; and map and compass skills.

Each year, Fish and Game holds about 130 classes for basic hunter, bowhunter and trapper education around the state, taught by more than 550 trained volunteer instructors. About half of the classes for 2007 have already been completed. More than 3,000 people participate in hunter education each year in New Hampshire.

Hunter Education instruction and course materials are provided free of charge; instructors may charge up to $5 per student to cover the use of facilities. To receive a certificate of completion in basic hunter education or bowhunter education, participants must be at least 12 years old by the end of the course.

In addition to traditional classes, Fish and Game offers a home-study option for completing the hunter education requirement. This option takes about the same amount of time as a classroom course, but preparation is done at home, then participants attend a required field day involving a written exam and field skills testing. There are specific deadlines for signing up for the home study option, and space is limited. For a list of home study sessions, http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/hunter_ed_homestudy.htm or call (603) 271-3214.

"Over the years, New Hampshire's Hunter Education Program -- coupled with the voluntary use of blaze-orange clothing -- has dramatically reduced the number of hunting-related firearms incidents in the field," said Flynn.

Hunter Education courses provided by Fish and Game are funded by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.