It's back to school season... for would-be hunters.
With most hunting seasons just around the corner, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is urging new hunters to sign up now for a hunter education course.
All first-time hunting license holders are required to complete hunter education.
"Classes are held throughout the year, but their numbers peak now through early fall," said Hunter Education Coordinator Chris Saunders. "So this is the time to sign up and complete a course, because once hunting seasons begin our volunteer instructors want to be out in the field. Don't miss out.'"
Taking the class sooner rather than later also means more time for scouting, sighting-in and getting permission to hunt on private lands.
The easiest way to find an open class is by going to http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/HE_Courses.cfm
. The list is updated frequently, so check often. You can also call the hunter education office at (802) 241-3720.
Vermont' hunter education course averages 12-14 hours of classroom instruction and field exercises, including live-fire. Each course is taught by trained, certified volunteer instructors who follow national guidelines and state standards. Safe firearms handling, hunter responsibility, conservation, wildlife identification, outdoor safety, turkey hunting, muzzleloading, and survival are all covered.
The department recognizes that courses can be difficult to fit into the hectic schedules of today's fast-moving lifestyles. As a result, a home-study option is available for the basic hunter education course. Whether online or completing a workbook, this great opportunity lets you learn the material at your own pace. A field day, involving a written exam and field skills testing, is still required.
All courses and the materials are free.
Each year, the Vermont Hunter Education Program's 350 volunteer instructors certify almost 5,000 students. The free courses provided by the department are entirely funded by hunters and shooters through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program.
Be smart, think safety and good luck.