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The Importance of Taking a Hunter Safety Course
We can learn a great deal from our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, who was an avid hunter and conservationist and who once stated, “Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying ‘the game belongs to the people.’ So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people.” Roosevelt, like many hunters before us took the initiative to learn ethical hunting and then to teach and lead by example the responsibility to take care of our country’s vast wildland and wildlife population.
Most state wildlife offices offer a hunter safety course for experienced and amateur hunters alike. Since the inception of the hunter safety course hunting accidents have decreased by over 50% with the biggest decrease occurring over the last 20 years during which many states have begun to require and not just suggest inexperienced hunters to take a hunter safety course. In North Carolina hunter safety courses are offered for free throughout the year in just about every county. These highly beneficial classes are taught by wildlife officers, hunter education specialists and certified volunteers. If you take the class in North Carolina and pass the test offered after the course, your certification is valid and accepted in every state and province in North America. In most states there is no minimum age requirement but, the test is geared toward a six grade level and the final test must be completed without assistance. Classes are usually a minimum of 6 hours long and often an online class is offered for a fee as an alternate to the classroom courses. However, if you take the class online you will still have to attend a local testing facility to take the final exam.
A hunter safety course is much more than a course in gun safety. It is an opportunity to learn the proper ethics and responsibility we should have as borrowers of this land and it’s bounty. The course usually touches on wildlife management and land conservation and can provide you with the information and resources you will need to dig much deeper into these subjects if you so desired. Many children who take the course enjoy the wildlife identification tools presented to them for their particular area. Also, taught in most hunter safety courses and often overlooked by many hunters are some survival and first aid skills, which can be helpful whether you hunt or not. Depending upon who teaches each individual class you may get instruction for tree stand safety or specialty hunting like hunting with dogs or how to properly handle a lost hunting dog who comes on your property.
When it comes to hunting safety, knowledge is the key. It has been proven over the years that responsibility is taught and your involvement with a hunting safety class by taking the course or even by teaching or volunteering your skills is a great asset we should not overlook.