Young people who want to hunt in Utah have a reason to be excited — the number of special hunting days for young hunters is growing.
For example, on Sept. 17 — a week before the regular chukar and Hungarian partridge hunts begin — those 15 years of age and younger can hunt partridge. And a chance to hunt ducks and geese two weeks before the regular waterfowl hunt starts will likely happen on Sept. 17 too.
But you can’t take advantage of any of the state’s youth hunting days if you haven’t completed the state’s Hunter Education course.
With the start of the special youth hunt days and the regular hunts less than three months away, early summer is a perfect time to take the course. Kirk Smith, assistant Hunter Education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says if you wait until just before the hunt days arrive, you might not have time to complete the course before the hunts happen.
“Save yourself the disappointment of missing out on some great memories and fun,” Smith says. “Sign up for a Hunter Education course now.”
Smith’s invitation is for adults, too — if you were born after Dec. 31, 1965, you must complete the course before hunting in Utah.
Schedule available on the Web
Hunter Education classes are held across Utah. You can also take the course online.
(If you complete the course online, you must still attend a field day. The field day runs for about five to six hours.)
You can see a class schedule and get contact information for the DWR’s volunteer Hunter Education instructors at http://go.usa.gov/W0s.
Two ways to take the course
The DWR provides two ways to take the course — in a classroom, or online.
Smith says each way has its advantages. He says the biggest advantage to the online course is its convenience. “Young people are usually busy with lots of activities in the summer,” he says. “The online course provides a way to take the course at a time that works best for them.”
Taking the class online also allows the young person’s parent to sit by their side to make sure they understand what they’re learning. The young person can also learn at his or her speed and can review the material as often as he or she wants.
If you’re a parent who doesn’t know much about hunting, accompanying your child to a course in a classroom might be the best choice. “The classroom courses are ran by trained volunteer instructors,” Smith says. “The instructor should have answers to questions that you might not have the answer to.”
Whichever way you choose, a shooting test — where the young hunter shows that he or she can safely handle a small-caliber rifle and can shoot it accurately — is also a required part of the course.
Mark Hadley, DWR Relations with the Public Specialist (801) 538-4737