By Clay Ellis-Escobar
What Is Hunter Education?
Hunter Education is a course that teaches young hunters the practice of firearms and hunting safety. I just completed mine, and I'll be sharing what I learned.
According to the IL DNR publication titled, Today's Hunter in Illinois, there are four main pillars of Hunter Safety. They are:
- Responsibility - A responsible hunter must know the laws and regulations about your firearm, and you also must have respect for the type of game that you're hunting.
- Safety Skills - Safety Skills is mostly just safety in the field. It is also safety for yourself, and others that you might be hunting with.
- Knowledge - It all starts with practice with your firearm. It’s important to know how to properly handle and shoot your firearm.
- Involvement - Involvement is being able to promote hunting in a respectable manner by getting involved in organizations that support wildlife conservation (like the Jr. Pro Team Outdoor News!).
My Experience at my Hunter Safety Course
My hunter education course was a 2-day class that was based around your own safety and the safety of others you may be hunting with.
It’s also about the safety of the wildlife or game you're hunting with. We learned about the laws that you must follow while hunting, like knowing the type and amount of game you can kill.
Two CPO’s (Conservation Police Officer) from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Officer J. Roundcount and Officer J. Swindle, came in and led us through a Q&A discussion of the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2019-2020, which gives the 2019-2020 hunting season Timeline.
During the course, our instructors brought in a rifle and a shotgun to demonstrate how to properly load and fire your firearm.
NOTE!! The firing pins were removed from these guns as they are just simply for training and education.
To Pass the IL Hunter Safety Course
At the end of the course, there was a 50-question multiple choice test that covered:
- knowing your firearm
- shooting skills
- hunting skills
- being a safe hunter
- wildlife conservation
- and the part I found most interesting, how to be a responsible and ethical hunter
By the time I completed my course, I definitely felt more prepared for my first hunt for turkeys this spring. If you haven't already completed this course, I would recommend signing up.
Till next Time, See You Outdoors!
Illinois is one state that allows students to take the course online, followed by a scheduled "field day" to gain some of the hands-on education that Clay highlighted in his blog.
For more info on IL's programs: https://www.hunter-ed.com/illinois/in_person_component.html
MI DNR Hunter Safety Info:https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79119_79147_81282---,00.html
MN DNR Firearm Safety Info: https://mnfirearms.com/dnr-hunter-safety/
NY DEC Info: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/92267.html
OH Hunter and Trapper Education: http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/education-and-outdoor-discovery/hunter-and-trapper-education
PA Game Commission Info: https://www.pgc.pa.gov/HuntTrap/Hunter-TrapperEducation/Pages/default.aspx
WI Safety Education Info: https://dnr.wi.gov/education/outdoorSkills/safetyEducation.html
IHE-AUSA offers online courses that are approved by many states, featuring comprehensive online hunter’s safety courses that teach students important laws and regulations, game identification, and safe, responsible firearm handling.. You can view the state list here: https://www.hunter-ed.com/