Game Commission HTE classes starting to fill up

Harrisburg -– With the junior spring gobbler season set for
April 24, and the general spring gobbler season opening on May 1,
Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe is
reminding all first-time license buyers to make plans to attend a
Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) course now.

To register for a course in your area, visit the Game
Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), select “Education” in
the menu bar in the banner, then put your cursor on “Hunter
Education,” and then click on “Class Schedule” and follow the
instructions.

“Right now, Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers,
Deputy WCOs and volunteer instructors are meeting to schedule
courses, review curriculum updates and prepare for this year,” Roe
said. “From there, course schedules are provided to our Region
Offices and the information is posted on the agency’s website for
students to choose and enroll in courses.”

Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division Chief Keith A.
Snyder noted that, with the agency’s recent transition to a new
website format, course schedules continue to be added each day.

“If you don’t see a class being offered in your area, please
continue to check the website daily, as more and more classes will
be entered into the database,” Snyder said.

With the support of thousands of volunteers, HTE courses are
being held throughout the state. There is no fee for the basic HTE
course. Pre-registration is required for many classes, so contact
information is provided. Online registration also is available for
most courses offered by the agency.

Taught by dedicated teams of trained volunteers, most HTE
classes last at least 10 hours over two or more days, and
participants must attend all instruction before taking the test at
the end of the course. Youngsters must be at least 11 years old to
receive HTE certification.

Successful completion of a basic Pennsylvania HTE class, or
another state’s equivalent course, is required by state law to
obtain a first-time hunting or furtaker license, regardless of
age.

Registrations also are being accepted for the independent study
version of the basic HTE program, which is available for those 11
years of age or older. A fee of $1.59 may apply if applicants order
a printed copy of the study manual, which also is available online
free of charge.

In addition, registrations are being accepted for other
educational programs offered by the Game Commission, including
Successful Bowhunting, Successful Furtaking and Cable Restraint
Certification.

The Successful Bowhunting course is a one-day voluntary training
program for those seeking to expand their skills and knowledge of
bowhunting. While voluntary in Pennsylvania, certification for this
course may be required by other states. There is an $18 course fee,
which covers the cost of the online study course required before
attending the class.

Piloted in 2009, the Successful Furtaking Course is a one-day
training program that provides extensive hands-on training to new
furtakers that was not part of the basic Hunter-Trapper Education
program, promotes Best Management Practices and is designed for any
person seeking to learn more about furtaking and to improve his or
her skills and success. The course also will include the cable
restraint certification that is required to participate in the
cable restraint season for foxes and coyotes. This course also
fulfills the requirement that all first-time furtaker license
buyers pass a basic trapper education course. A $15 course fee is
charged.

The Cable Restraint Certification course is required for those
trappers seeking to participate in the annual trapping season in
which cable restraints are used to capture coyotes and foxes. The
course fee is $15, and students will get to keep various education
materials and one legal cable restraint provided as part of the
course.

“We are planning to offer additional courses in the future
focusing on specific sporting arms and certain species-specific
seasons, such as Successful Muzzleloading, Successful Turkey
Hunting and Successful Wingshooting,” Snyder said. “We will be
working with interested groups of sportsmen specializing in each of
the areas to develop curriculum and solid hands-on training that
will emphasize methods and techniques.”

In 1959, the Game Commission began offering a voluntary hunter
safety program, and about 25,000 students participated in that
program annually. Beginning in 1969, the General Assembly required
all first-time hunting license buyers under the age of 16 to
successfully complete a four-hour hunter education course. The
course requirement was expanded to six hours in 1977. The program
became mandatory for all first-time hunting license buyers
regardless of age in 1982.

Finally, in 1986, the safety program was increased to 10 hours
of class time and trapper training was included. The name of the
program also was changed to Hunter-Trapper Education, and was
required for all first-time furtaker license buyers, too.

Since 1959, more than 1.8 million students have been certified
through this course.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Jeff Mulhollem

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