In order to get your hunting license, all aspiring hunters must complete a mandatory DEC hunter education course.
This course will continue to be available through Aug. 31, according to an announcement made by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner Basil Seggos.
The DEC is also making available an online bowhunter education course, available on July 15.
Since April, 24,000 hunters have completed the online hunter education course successfully. This is about a 20 percent increase from those who usually take the course, and of those who took it, 40 percent were women. This is also an increase from the typical in-person course, where 27 percent of students were women. Almost half of all who took the online course were 30 years or older.
Hunters who wish to big game hunt with a bow and arrow must finish a mandatory bowhunter education course along with the hunter education course, which was first made available in April after the traditional classroom hunter education courses were cancelled as a response to COVID-19. This new online format provided an opportunity for certification by new hunters wanting to get out on the field in time for New York’s spring turkey season. Extending the availability of the hunting education course and adding the bowhunter option will allow first-time hunters and new archery hunters to start seeking game for the fall hunting seasons. The DEC’s hunter education program (HEP) can be completed in 6 to 8 hours and covers topics such as firearm and bow safety, tree stand safety, hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, and New York State hunting laws and regulations. Those who complete the online course and pass the final exam will receive their hunter education certificate, or their bowhunter education certificate. The courses are available for those as young as 11 years old, but you must be at least 12 to purchase a hunting license. The online course may be completed through any medium of electronic device at any time.
Visit the DEC’s Hunter Education Program page to sign up.
I’ll wager that we will start seeing an increase in hunting accidents since the hands on approach by qualified NYSDEC Volunteer instructors seems to be losing ground to an electronic course.
I know many hunter/trapping instructors who are very concerned that mandatory courses held at various locations throughout the State year round will be permanently replaced by this electronic course.
Our State has one of the lowest hunting related accident rates in the nation and it is largely due to intensive safety instruction by our volunteer educators.
I understand that this is “supposedly” a temporary approach, but I fear it may become permanent.