New and novice hunters of all ages are encouraged to make a New Year's resolution to sign up for a Basic Hunter Education Course in the winter and spring months of 2010. Students who successfully pass the course will receive a Certificate of Completion which is acceptable for purchasing a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license. It also allows students 15 years or older to apply for a firearms license at their local police departments. These Certificates of Completion are also recognized in all the United States, Canada and Mexico for the purchase of a hunting or sporting license. Basic courses for the beginning of 2010 are posted.
"Many people fail to consider signing up for a course in the winter or spring months because they aren't thinking about hunting," says MassWildlife Hunter Education Administrator, Susan Langlois. "By completing a course early in the year, new hunters have time to apply for a firearms license, practice newly acquired skills and scout potential hunting locations." The 15-16 hour course, which is usually scheduled over five or six weekday evenings, is taught by volunteer instructors. Occasionally, courses are conducted on weekends. Students must attend all scheduled sessions as part of the requirement for passing the course. All classes are provided at no charge to the participating students.
Topics covered during the Basic Hunter Education course include: safe handling of hunting arms and ammunition, hunting laws and ethics, wildlife identification, wildlife management, care and handling of game, basic survival skills and first aid. It is the mission of the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program to protect the lives and safety of the public, promote the wise management and ethical use of our wildlife resources, and encourage a greater appreciation of the environment through education. Funding is derived from the sale of hunting and sporting licenses, and from federal excise taxes on firearms and archery equipment. Massachusetts offered its first hunter safety course in 1954, and to date has graduated more than 175,000 students.
Graduates who have lost their Certificates may obtain a duplicate by contacting the Hunter Education office directly or through the MassWildlife website. For more information on courses and duplicate Certificates, contact the Hunter Education Program office in Ayer at (978) 772-0693.