Take hunter safety and get ready for opening day
Outta' the Woods
Monday, August 01, 2011
Media contact: Tony Young
With the dog days of summer upon us, it's hard to think about
hunting. But if you're between the ages of 16 and 36, and haven't
yet taken the state's hunter safety class - now's just the time to
be thinking about it. Many of these classes, offered statewide,
fill up fast during hunting season while people scramble to get
certified. Summer months offer smaller class sizes and offer a
better opportunity for students to attend, because they often have
more free time then.
People 16 years old or older and born after May 31, 1975, must
complete the FWC's hunter safety requirement before they can buy a
Florida hunting license.
There is an exception though. A law passed a few years ago that
allows individuals to hunt under the supervision of a licensed
hunter, 21 years old or older, without having to complete the
state's hunter safety certification.
It's called the Hunter Safety Deferral License, and it allows
those people who purchase one to hunt on a one-year trial basis.
It's designed to encourage experienced hunters to teach novice
hunters about our sport and is a great incentive for getting more
people to give hunting a try. Individuals taking advantage of this
would have to pass a hunter safety class to be eligible to buy a
license and hunt the following year.
If you're a youngster and already hunt, I suggest you go ahead
and take a hunter safety class before you turn 16. Of course, until
then, you may hunt under adult supervision.
You can register for a hunter safety class by going to
MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by contacting your nearest FWC regional
office. Also, there are two versions for your
There's the traditional course, which is 12 hours of classroom
instruction plus a four-hour "field day," or you can opt for taking
the online or CD-ROM version at home. But, you'll still have to
sign up for the "skills day" part.
The traditional course is offered during four weekdays or on a
Saturday-Sunday. If you take it during the week, each session is
three hours and offered after normal working hours. On the weekend,
you'll spend eight hours Saturday and four hours Sunday morning in
the classroom. The remainder of Sunday you'll move over to the
shooting range to complete your certification.
The first thing you'll learn about in the traditional class is
Florida's many hunting laws. An FWC law enforcement officer gives
this introduction. Volunteer hunter safety instructors teach the
You'll be taught ethics, hunter responsibility, parts of
firearms, various hunting lingo and the proper way to shoot. You'll
discover the differences between various bullets, calibers and
gauges; how to identify game animals; and learn wildlife
conservation and best management practices for native species. In
addition, you'll find out about outdoor survival techniques and
learn how to administer first aid in the field. Archery and
fundamentals of bowhunting also are taught.
In your last hour in the classroom, you'll be given a
standardized test of true-or-false and multiple-choice questions.
All you need is to score an 80 percent or better, and then you get
to move outside to the shooting range for the field day
This part takes about four hours. During that time, you'll get
to shoot clay pigeons with a shotgun, practice your archery skills
and target practice with a .22 rifle. You'll also receive a
muzzleloader demonstration, where you'll have the chance to shoot
one if you'd like. All guns, bows, targets and ammo are provided.
All you have to do is take aim!
After you complete the field day, you'll be given your hunter
safety card. At that point you can purchase a Florida hunting
license and get ready for opening day.
If you choose to take the hunter safety class online or by
CD-ROM, you'll learn all of the above-mentioned material and be
given a practice test to prepare you for the last segment - the
Skill days take about four hours to complete. You'll learn much
of what is taught during the traditional course, including hunting
laws and ethics, how to handle firearms safely, when to take a shot
and where to place the crosshairs. Then you'll get to shoot on the
range and be given the same standardized test.
Register today to take a hunter safety class 'cause the
2011-2012 hunting season is just around the corner!