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Sign up now for youth firearm safety class

The basic purpose of a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hunter education course is to teach safe, responsible firearm handling in the field, in the vehicle, and in the home after hunting. Through lectures, hands-on activities and v...

The basic purpose of a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hunter education course is to teach safe, responsible firearm handling in the field, in the vehicle, and in the home after hunting. Through lectures, hands-on activities and videos, students learn about firearms, firearm safety, shooting fundamentals, and firearm and wildlife laws.

"While hunter education courses enable safer hunting, they also help hunters be more successful in their hunts - and emphasize ethical hunting behavior," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator. "Subjects covered include hunter responsibility, wildlife identification and management, game care, outdoor survival and more."

Hammer said now is the time to sign up for a Firearms Safety Hunter Education class. People can't buy a hunting license in Minnesota and many other states unless they've completed the training.

"Instructors from throughout the state are gearing up for the spring rush right now," Hammer said. "So now is the time to start planning for the fall by registering for a spring class today."

In Minnesota hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must complete a DNR Firearms Safety Training Course or equivalent course from another state before purchasing a license for big or small game. The course is also those who do not hunt.

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"Hunter education courses are recommended for anyone who spends time in the outdoors, whether or not they intend to hunt," Hammer said. "Basic outdoor skills acquired in a hunter education course can be invaluable during any outdoor activities. For example, survival basics can help you prepare for and deal with emergencies."

Hammer noted firearm safety courses also provide insight into how and why wildlife agencies manage the resource, particularly by using hunting as a management tool.

The youth firearm safety class consists of a minimum of 12 hours of classroom and field experience in the safe handling of firearms and hunter responsibility. Those 18 and older can complete the training through an independent study online course, or by acquiring an independent study guide and workbook available from a volunteer instructor.

Spring classes are now available but fill up fast. For more information, log on to www.dnr.state.mn.us or call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

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