Hunter education is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1975 who wants to purchase an Idaho hunting license.
The overall goal of the program is the prevention of hunting and firearm related accidents, but emphasis is also placed on improving knowledge about wildlife management, the heritage of hunting, and promoting hunting ethics and responsibility.
Every fall there are parents with youngsters who come to regional offices shortly before the deer season opens, saying they need to take a hunter education course. Late course requests create challenges for the student, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), and the volunteer instructors who teach the instructor-led classes.
IDFG is often able to accommodate student needs by providing independent study or online classes followed by a required field day; or, by finding space in one of the last instructor-led classes. However, last minute options often require that the prospective hunter make a choice between completing hunter education and attending football or soccer practice, music lessons, back-to-school preparation, or end of the summer family vacations. It does not need to be that hard or stressful!
If your sights are set on hunting this fall and you need to complete Idaho’s hunter education requirement, now is the perfect time to sign up for a course. Summer is a great time to get into a course, as many are offered in the summer. Early fall classes are also offered. By the time big game seasons start to open, volunteer instructors are heading out to enjoy their own hunting opportunities and the number of available classes decreases.
Three course options are provided. An instructor-led course is considered the best option for youth ages 9 to 14, and for individuals having minimal hunting experience. They are easy to sign up for by going to the IDFG website.
Other options include an online course, and an independent study workbook course. Both of these courses are designed for older students with excellent reading comprehension. While convenient and allowing much of the course to be taken at home, the online and independent study options require students to register for and attend a field day where a field exercise and written exam are given.
For more information or to register for a course or field day, visit the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and click on the ‘Education’ tab, or the “Hunting’ tab (both at the top of the front page), or the ‘Hunter Education’ square (located on the lower right hand side of the front page). You will next see the ‘view and sign up for courses’ tab.
Several options will be available by opening the tab, including instructor-led courses, internet courses, field days and trapping classes.
If you are looking for an instructor led hunter education class in the Panhandle Region, these classes will be listed under the first box, ‘Hunter and Bowhunter Combo Instructor-Led Class’. You will find that there are several classes currently scheduled in the Panhandle. All instructor led classes in the Panhandle provide certification in both hunter education and archery education, so to sign up you need to go to hunter education and bowhunter education combo class list.
Another option is getting a Hunting Passport. This special opportunity is a component of Fish and Game’s mentored hunting program that allows any first-time hunter (resident or nonresident), age 8 and older, to try hunting with a licensed adult mentor…without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course. Those who have previously held a hunting license in any state are not eligible. The cost is only $1.75.
The Hunting Passport allows a beginning hunter to experience hunting before committing to the coursework required to complete hunter education. But this option is only possible to new hunters who have a licensed, adult mentor who will accompany them at all times while hunting on the passport.
A person can only use this option one year, and is not eligible for a Hunting Passport in subsequent years. The single exception is those who purchase a passport at the age of 8 can again get a passport at the age of 9.