New Hunters! Sign Up Now For MassWildlife Hunter Education Courses

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New Hunters! Sign Up Now For MassWildlife Hunter Education CoursesNew hunters of all ages are reminded that it is never too early to sign up for a Basic Hunter Education Course. New hunters in Massachusetts are required to show proof that they have taken a basic hunter education course in order to purchase a hunting or sporting license. Basic courses are available across the state and many begin in August and September.

“Many people fail to consider enrolling in a course until the weather turns cool in late September,” says Susan Langlois, MassWildlife Hunter Education Administrator. “Unfortunately, most courses have either begun or are full by then and the opportunity to hunt during the fall may disappear.” Langlois points out that courses are scheduled through much of the calendar year, including the summer, but most are offered in the spring and early fall. Basic hunter education courses average 15 hours in length and are taught by volunteer instructors. The course is usually scheduled over five or six weekday evenings. Some courses are conducted on weekends. Students must attend all scheduled sessions as part of the requirement for passing the course. All instruction and class materials are provided at no charge to the student.  Funding is derived from the sale of hunting and sporting licenses, and from federal excise taxes on firearms and archery equipment.

“Today’s hunters are better educated than ever before,” said Langlois. “Completion of the Massachusetts’ Hunter Education program coupled with mandatory use of blaze-orange clothing contributes to the reduction of hunting related firearms incidents in the field.”

Massachusetts offered its first hunter safety course in 1954, and to date has graduated more than 169,000 students. Topics covered during the course include safe handling and storage of hunting arms and ammunition, hunting laws and ethics, wildlife identification, wildlife management, care and handling of game, basic survival skills and first aid. Students who successfully pass the course receive a Certificate of Completion that is accepted for purchasing a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license and for people 15 or older making application for a Firearms Identification Card with their local police departments. The certificates are also accepted in all states and Canadian provinces for the purchase of a hunting license.

Information on course locations and schedules is posted on the MassWildlife website under “Education” programs. Graduates who have lost their Certificates may obtain a Duplicate Certificate from the Hunter Education Program through the MassWildlife website or by contacting the office directly at 978/632-7648.