Hunter education courses going on-line

Hunter education courses going on-line
By: Lauren Keith

If you hunt in Missouri, then you know you're required to take Hunter Education courses. Those important classes last ten hours. Soon, there may be a way for you to take those classes without driving to the Conservation Department to take them.  It's a plan that benefits the hunter and the agency.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is trying to keep up to date with its youngest hunters by reaching out to them through the internet.  "Essentially, it allows hunters to get opportunity to take half the coursework on-line, then show up for a field day where they can practice what they learned on-line," says Agent Darin Pettit.

Right now, the on-line hunter education courses are only apart of a pilot study in Missouri's bigger cities. By next spring, anyone in the state can log on, read the entire hunter education manual and take some practice tests all in front of their home computer, at their own pace. "This day and age it's difficult to fit in everything.  Parents and kids are driving to soccer, baseball and volleyball.  Finding time for a ten-hour course is hard, and for a lot of people, this on-line course will be doable," says Pettit.

Agent Pettit stresses a field day is still mandatory. That's when hunters come in and take a test showing what they know. He also says by taking the test on-line, some hunters could save a little drive time to their nearest conservation office, where they normally would take the courses. "We're pretty much a rural area in southeast Missouri, so a lot of hunters have to not only find the time to take the 10-hour course but also find the nearest location to them to take it.  If they do it on-line, they don't have to battle that," says Pettit.

Agent Pettit reminds hunters regular on-site education classes are still available. The on-line courses are just another option for hunters. Also, the on-line course does have the same amount of work and materials involved as the classroom courses, you can just take it at your own leisure.  Once more, the on-line course should be available next spring through the Missouri Department of Conservation.