If hunting is on your child’s horizon, now is a great time to get them certified in hunter education. Hunter ed classes are open to students age nine or older and junior hunting licenses are available starting at age 10.
Courses provide instruction beyond just firearm handling and safety. Topics include hunting techniques and ethics, game care, survival skills, and wildlife identification. Even if your son or daughter is unsure if they will hunt, instructors provide a welcoming environment for kids to learn more about this fun and exciting sport. Lessons will benefit anyone who spends time in the outdoors.
Here are five reasons to get an early jump on hunter education in 2020:
1. More one-on-one instruction. Classes tend to be smaller earlier in the year. Enroll before June 30 for the most options and high instructor-to-student ratios. More space also means your child’s friends can all register for the same class together.
2. Fewer activities to compete with. The post-holiday lull is the perfect time to check hunter certification off your son or daughter’s to-do list. Many families are done travelling and the shorter days mean outdoor activities wrap up early.
3. New gear provides extra motivation. If Santa brought camo, blaze orange or broadheads this Christmas, give your kids the skills to put those tools to use.
4. They’ll be ready for controlled hunt applications and spring turkey opener. There are several youth only deer, elk and pronghorn controlled hunts available for the 2020 season. The application period runs May 1 to June 5. Nine year olds who turn 10 before their hunt can apply for controlled hunts if they have completed hunter education.
Spring youth turkey hunts open April 8 in units with a general spring season, one week earlier than the general adult hunts.
5. Flexible learning options. Prospective hunters have two course options to receive their certification.
Instructor-led course: 12 to 18 class hours plus an outdoor field day and written exam. All Panhandle classes are hunter/bowhunter combination courses. That way, every graduate will be able to archery hunt if they decide to do so down the road. Cost is $9.75 to register online or $8 at the Fish & Game office.
Online course: self-paced online instruction, online exam and outdoor field day. Outdoor field days are offered in Coeur d’Alene the first Saturday of every month. Cost is $24.50 for the online course ($30.00 for bowhunter) and $9.75 for the field day. A video is available on our website covering what to expect at a field day.
Upcoming Panhandle hunter education classes
Jan. 4, Field Day, 8-11 a.m., Fish & Game Regional Office, Coeur d’Alene
Jan. 6-9 & 13-15, Hunter & Bowhunter Instructor-led course, 6-8 p.m., Fish & Game Regional Office, Coeur d’Alene
Feb. 1, Field Day, Fish & Game Regional Office, Coeur d’Alene (time to be announced)
March 23-28, Hunter & Bowhunter Instructor-led course, 6-9 p.m. Leo Hadley Range, Sandpoint
Register online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/education. You will be redirected to our vendor website, Kalkomey, for payment. For all Panhandle classroom-style courses, click on “Hunter & Bowhunter Certification: Instructor-led” at the top of the page.
We are here to help all prospective hunters access hunter education. If you have questions or difficulty finding a class, please call the Panhandle Regional Office at (208) 769-1414.