Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

OK: New changes to Oklahoma hunter education requirements take effect Aug. 26

Four changes to the state’s hunter education requirements will
take effect this month, resulting in more opportunities for
Oklahomans to try hunting while making hunting safer for the
state’s youngest big game hunters.

Effective Aug. 26, anyone 31 years of age or older will be exempt
from hunter education requirements. Additionally, hunters ages 8-30
will be able to purchase an apprentice-designated hunting license
that allows them to go hunting without first completing a hunter
education course, provided that they are accompanied by a licensed
adult mentor who is at least 18 years old and hunter education
certified (or exempt from license and hunter education

In previous years, hunters were not exempt from hunter education
requirements until 36 years of age or older, apprentice-designated
hunting licenses were only available to hunters at least 10 years
old, and mentor hunters had to be at least 21 to accompany an
apprentice hunter.

“These three changes should simplify the requirements for
responsible adult hunters to get involved in hunting while making
the apprentice-designated license available to youth who are ready
to start hunting under a mentor at a younger age,” said Lance Meek,
hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of
Wildlife Conservation. “We also feel that 18-year-olds are adults
and should be allowed to introduce their friends to the sport of

In addition to making the apprentice-designated hunting license
more accessible, one other change will require more supervision for
young hunters. Effective Aug. 26, all hunters under the age of 10,
whether hunter education certified or not, must be accompanied when
hunting big game.

“Big game hunting is a safe and fun sport, and our state’s young
hunters deserve to be introduced to the joys it offers,” Meek said.
“But they also deserve to be mentored and guided so that they are
equipped to be safe, responsible hunters in the future. This is a
reasonable change, and we are confident it will result in safer
hunting situations for our young big game hunters and will ensure
they gain a true appreciation for conservation and the

Most Oklahomans who want to hunt big game must be hunter education
certified in order to hunt alone, or must possess an
apprentice-designated hunting license and remain within arms reach
of a qualifying mentor hunter. Exemptions from hunter education
certification as of Aug. 26 will include anyone 31 years of age or
older, anyone honorably discharged from or currently on active duty
in the U.S. Armed Forces, and members of the National Guard.

Meek encourages new hunters to complete the Department’s hunter
education course, and reminds hunters who plan to hunt in other
states that completing a course may be required. The Wildlife
Department’s hunter education class covers a variety of topics
including firearms safety, wildlife identification, wildlife
conservation and management, survival, archery, muzzleloading and
hunter responsibility. It is available as a standard eight-hour
course held in communities across the state, an Internet home study
course and a workbook home study course. A full listing of course
dates and locations can be found online at

For more information about hunting in Oklahoma, log on to the
Wildlife Department’s website at

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