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Avoid the Rush - Take a Hunter Education Course Now!

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is encouraging future hunters to get signed up now for the mandatory hunter education course, because those who wait may be left out in the cold. IDFG provides 350 hunter education courses statewide each year. More than 60 percent of these courses are taught between January and April. All courses are taught by trained, volunteer instructors, who often times teach only spring classes, taking the fall off to enjoy the outdoors. The longer the student waits, the less likely there will be any volunteer instructors available to teach a course. Idaho law requires that anyone born after January 1st, 1975 must complete an IDFG hunter education course as a prerequisite to purchasing a hunting license. The courses are held at numerous locations across the region throughout the year. Each course is a mix of classroom instruction and hands-on experiences which last approximately 12 hours. Students must be at least 11 years old to enroll for hunter education. In Lewiston, interested students can call the Clearwater regional office at 799-5010. In outlying communities, courses are organized by local instructors and are based on student demands. The names and phone numbers of local instructors can also be obtained by calling the Lewiston IDFG office. More than 160,690 students have taken hunter education since it became mandatory in 1979. Last year, 650 volunteer instructors taught 7,366 students, according to Richard Oliver, hunter education coordinator for IDFG. "We continue to see a decline in the number of hunting-related accidents each year, and this is directly related to the outstanding group of volunteer instructors we have in Idaho," Oliver said. "These instructors volunteer their time and do an exceptional job of teaching the importance of gun safety."