No Hunter Ed is No Problem for Most Oklahomans Who Still Want to Hunt this Weekend

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Four changes to the state’s hunter education requirements took effect in August, resulting in more opportunities for Oklahomans to try hunting while making hunting safer for the state’s youngest big game hunters.

Now in effect, anyone 31 years of age or older is exempt from hunter education requirements. Additionally, hunters ages 8-30 may purchase an apprentice-designated hunting license that allows them to go hunting without first completing a hunter education course, provided that they are accompanied by a licensed adult mentor who is at least 18 years old and hunter education certified (or exempt from license and hunter education requirements). In addition to making the apprentice-designated hunting license more accessible, one other change requires all hunters under the age of 10, whether hunter education certified or not, to be accompanied when hunting big game.

“These three changes simplify the requirements for responsible adult hunters to get involved in hunting while making the apprentice-designated license available to youth who are ready to start hunting under a mentor at a younger age,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Big game hunting is a safe and fun sport, and our state’s young hunters deserve to be introduced to the joys it offers. But they also deserve to be mentored and guided so that they are equipped to be safe, responsible hunters in the future. This is a reasonable change, and we are confident it is resulting in safer hunting situations for our young big game hunters.”

Most Oklahomans who want to hunt big game must be hunter education certified or exempt in order to hunt alone, or must possess an apprentice-designated hunting license and remain within arms reach of a qualifying mentor hunter. Exemptions from hunter education certification as of Aug. 26 include anyone 31 years of age or older, anyone honorably discharged from or currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, and members of the National Guard.

Meek encourages new hunters to complete the Department’s hunter education course, and reminds hunters who plan to hunt in other states that completing a course may be required. The Wildlife Department’s hunter education class covers a variety of topics including firearms safety, wildlife identification, wildlife conservation and management, survival, archery, muzzleloading and hunter responsibility. It is available as a standard eight-hour course held in communities across the state, an Internet home study course and a workbook home study course. A full listing of course dates and locations can be found online at wildlifedepartment.com.

Additionally, resident hunters who are exempt from hunter education requirements in Oklahoma but who want to hunt in another state that requires certification are eligible to take a proficiency exam for certification without having to complete the course. For more information, call Meek at (405) 522-4572.

For more information about hunting in Oklahoma, log on to the Wildlife Department’s website at wildlifedepartment.com.

Comments

Retired2hunt's picture

  I very much like the

 

I very much like the apprentice program here as it allows a new person to get their "feet wet" to see if they like the sport of hunting.  A spanse of 8 years of age to 30 years old is a very generous allowance but covers the youth, the teens, and the young adult years.  Overall this allowance should have the best opportunity for the greatest amount of those that would be apprentices to the sport.

Now for the age exemption of 31 years of age and older... I do not agree with it.  The individual who was born in 1980 and has not had 20+ years of hunting experience is not an individual that in my opinion is without any need of some hunter safety program.  Even with 20 years of experience I think the need is still there for the safety course.  Heck Colorado requires anyone born on or after January 1st, 1949 to complete a hunter safety course.  A 61 year old individual here still needs to complete the course if they are going to hunt in Colorado and have no other state's accepted hunter safety certification. 

However, the key here is that most hunters who want to hunt big game in the state of Oklahoma but be certified of they want to hunt alone or else they must be an apprentice with a responsible adult in attendance and at arms length in distance away.  While 31 years of age doesn't guarantee of a safe hunter neither does some of the other exemptions here.  I think their regulations may be too loose and allows for more accidents or worse.

And as for the ability to hunt in other states that require hunter certification I would expect the proficiency exam covers the exact same materials as the certification to ensure they are safe hunters outside of their home state. 

 

 

hunter25's picture

I agree with Sean here

I agree with Sean here completely. I don't think being over 30 has any bearing on how safe someone will be. For many of us here sure it would be fine but you have no way of knowing how many people with no experience at all would be out there. That's why hun ter education needed to get started in the first place. The mentored part is fine but would still need to get the certificate in a reasonable time. Even now with one of my kids being over 20 and the other nearly there I still get nervous when they head out alone as I just don't see them as being as mature as I was back then. I have never seen them do anything wrong but it's aslways on my mind.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Not sure how I feel about the

Not sure how I feel about the age limit on the exemtion from hunters safety classes that they have instituted in oklahoma.  Yes, people are more mature at 30 years old, so I can see where they are going with it, but that still does not mean I want them walking around with a gun until i know they have had classes.

There are still plenty of people who do not try out hunting until they are older.  30 is not that old either.  So, say a 35 year old wants to try it out.  And, say he has never had any exposure to weapons, he's just going because it's popular with his friends, or whatever.  Does this mean he can just go buy a license?  Hopefully, a friend would take him or her under their wing, and teach them all about responsible gun handling, and proper hunting techniques/ethics, but you can never be too safe or sure.  The honorably discharged ones I would be a little more comforatble with, because at least you could speculate they had proper gun handling training.

I like the aprentice hunter requirement, those work well in other states.  Some call them mentored hunting.  I also do not like the third thing though, because if I am reading that correctly, does that mean a kid that is 10 years old and has completed a course could hunt on his own?  Huh?  Seems a little young to me.

At any rate, it's good to see it made easier for hunters to have an opportunity to hunt, and to get more people into the sport.