Department of Conservation to offer Hunter Education course

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Shores to teach citizens about hunting safety

With deer season approaching, the Missouri Department of Conservation is offering a Hunter Education course on Oct. 21, from 1-5 p.m. at Crowder College in Cassville to help hunters be prepared and stay safe in the woods.

Hunter education is required to purchase a firearms hunting permit in Missouri.

Only 45 seats are available, so applicants are encouraged to apply at their earliest convenience to secure a seat.

The course will cover important aspects of hunter education and safety, said Daniel Shores, Cassville-based conservation agent, who said it's never too early, or too late, to teach hunting safety. Ages 11 and over can complete the course, but must be accompanied by a parent.

Shores will be teaching the four-hour class, which will cover topics such as hunter responsibility, firearms handling and safety, loading and unloading firearms, wildlife identification, caring for game, how to cross fences, First Aid skills, and rules and information unique to Missouri.

"We usually have the course the weekend before youth deer season," Shores said. "It's got everything you need to know about hunter education. It's a good deal for people to get hands-on experience. I've had law enforcement come to the class and say they've learned something. If you're out hunting with a firearm, you need to have a hunter education course. It's required by law."

There is no charge for the in-person course.

Anyone hunting during a Missouri firearms season or acting as an adult mentor must complete an approved hunter education certification course and provide proof unless they meet the following criteria:

• They are 15 or younger and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor 18 or older

• They were born before Jan. 1,1967

• They received a disability exemption from Missouri Department of Conservation’s Protection Division

• They are 16 or older and have purchased an Apprentice Hunter Authorization and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor 18 or older

• They are the landowner or lessee hunting on land they own or upon which they reside

• They can provide proof of completion of an approved hunter education course in another state

Shores, who says teaching the course helps him maintain connections with local hunters and promote hunter education and safety, encourages local residents to sign up before seats are filled.

"It's a good way for me to reach out in the community, and when I'm working during deer season, I contact a lot of the same people who took the class," he said. "It encourages the people of Barry County and the Cassville area to come out because it's a good experience to meet their local conservation agent, get their hands on firearms and practice safe handling."

Knowing how to properly use a firearm is crucial, because unexpected accidents — and tragedies, can happen.

"We had an accident [in Barry County] where a man shot himself in the leg because he wasn't handling his firearm correctly," Shores said. "That's the reason we have hunter education — to prevent hunting incidents."

Applicants over 16 years of age have the option of taking the course online for a $15 fee, after which they will be required to take an exam with a score of 80 percent or higher to receive their hunter certification.

For more information or to sign up, contact Shores at 417-229-4706, or online at www.mdc.mo.gov.