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

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Oklahoma's online hunter education and apprentice-designated licenses both options for new hunters

According to Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, getting set up to go hunting is easier than ever.

"We've really been able to expand the options available to new hunters so that it is easier and quicker to get them in the woods, and we've been able to do that without compromising safety," Meek said.

Meek is referring to the Wildlife Department's apprentice designated hunting license option and its newest option for hunters – a completely online hunter education course for resident hunters 10 years of age or older to become certified through wildlifedepartment.com.

Hunter education certification is required of hunters in order to buy most hunting licenses, unless exempt. Certified hunters can hunt small game alone, and certified hunters 10 years of age and older can hunt big game alone, except on public lands where additional regulations may apply or during youth seasons that require adult supervision.

"Now there are three options for hunter education certification," Meek said. "You can take the course online if you are 10 years old or older, you can take an eight-hour classroom course or the home study that requires a four-hour class."

Log on to http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/education/huntered.htm to take the online hunter education course or to see a listing of in-class and home study hunter education courses available statewide.

Exemptions from hunter education certification requirements in Oklahoma include anyone 31 years of age or older, those honorably discharged or currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, and members of the National Guard. If an Oklahoma resident is exempt from taking hunter education in Oklahoma but needs a hunter education certification card to hunt in a different state, they can also complete the new course online for certification.

Hunters age eight to 30 years of age who have not completed the Wildlife Department's hunter education course can still purchase a hunting license and go hunting, but the license will have an apprentice designation and the hunter must be accompanied by an individual 18 years of age or older who is licensed and hunter education certified or exempt from license or hunter education requirements. The accompanying hunter must remain within arm's reach of the apprentice hunter or close enough to take immediate control of the firearm or archery equipment while hunting big game. While hunting small game, the accompanying hunter must remain in sight of and be able to communicate with the apprentice hunter in a normal voice without the aid of any communication device. A hunting license is not required for resident youth under the age of 16 (under 14 for non-residents) to hunt small game, but they still must be accompanied.

Hunters seven years of age or younger must be hunter education certified to hunt big game but may hunt small game, including turkeys, with a legal accompanying hunter. All hunters under 10 years of age – whether hunter education certified or not – must be accompanied by an adult to hunt big game.

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