No hunter ed is no problem for most Oklahomans who still want to hunt this weekend

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

Now in effect, anyone 31 years of age or older is exempt from
hunter education requirements. Additionally, hunters ages 8-30 may
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 requirements). In addition to
making the apprentice-designated hunting license more accessible,
one other change requires all hunters under the age of 10, whether
hunter education certified or not, to be accompanied when hunting
big game.

“These three changes 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. “Big game hunting is a safe and fun sport,
and our state’s young hunters deserve to be introduced to the joys
it offers. 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 is resulting
in safer hunting situations for our young big game hunters.”

Most Oklahomans who want to hunt big game must be hunter education
certified or exempt 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 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
wildlifedepartment.com.

Additionally, resident hunters who are exempt from hunter education
requirements in Oklahoma but who want to hunt in another state that
requires certification are eligible to take a proficiency exam for
certification without having to complete the course. For more
information, call Meek at (405) 522-4572.

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

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