Hunter education is not just a firearms safety course. It provides sound guidelines for becoming a responsible, ethical hunter. It helps increase awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation and the management efforts taking place throughout the country. Most importantly, hunter education is a way of ensuring the future of hunting in the United States.
Hunter Education and Training programs provide both beginning and veteran hunters with an understanding of the responsibilities involved in the sport of hunting. It helps develop an understanding of sound safety practices, serves as a foundation for responsible and ethical decision making, and starts hunter on the path to fully experience all aspects of the hunting tradition and pass this heritage on to the next generation.
Hunter education is important because it improves hunter behavior and reduces hunting-related injuries. The mandatory nature of these courses in a number of states has played a significant role in reducing the number of accidents suffered in the field.
In addition to the state-sponsored hunter education courses, a number of organizations have stepped up to provide alternative ways to actively engage a new generation of hunters. Some of these programs are:
The Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC), is recognized as the most comprehensive youth hunting program anywhere in North America. It is the NRA’s “graduate studies” program in outdoor skills and safety training for young hunters. Open only to those who have completed hunter-safety training at the state or provincial level, the program is conducted under simulated hunting conditions to provide the best practical environment for reinforcing and testing a young hunter’s skills.
From rifle, bow and muzzleloader shooting at life-sized targets, to wildlife identification, to map-and-compass orienteering and more, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight skills areas, giving them expertise in all methods of take and all types of game.
Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) is a non-profit, educational program offered throughout the states, which provides hands-on workshops to adult women. These workshops focus on the learning of outdoor skills and strive to offer a variety of topics in their workshops, balancing between hunting and shooting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
The PF Ringnecks Program is dedicated to introducing youth to hunting, shooting sports and outdoor conservation through youth events, education, community service and cooperation with both governmental and non-governmental partnerships. Through a variety of programs, youth will gain knowledge, learn skills and develop a land ethic necessary to be responsible hunters and conservationists. As they grow up, they can in turn pass on the outdoor traditions of their youth to future generations.
Pheasant Forever and Quail Forever’s No Child Left Indoors® Initiative is part of a national movement to reach a generation of young people fixated on electronics and get them outdoors. We want to reverse the trend of inactivity and obesity in today’s youth and actively engage them in outdoor activities and in learning about nature and conservation. We also want to foster tomorrow’s leaders and conservation-minded citizens.