The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's hunter education course is one of the first steps to learning about safe and legal hunting in Oklahoma.
While the course is free online and always available, classroom courses are also taught in communities throughout the year, including one scheduled for Saturday, March 9 at the Arcadia Conservation Education Area in Edmond.
"If you live in the Metro area, this will be a convenient way to get your hunter education taken care of before turkey season," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department.
Attending the class requires registration through the Wildlife Department's Go Outdoors Oklahoma online system. Users must create or log in to their account, then select the "Events" tab to find the course and register.
Course topics include firearms safety, wildlife conservation and identification, safe archery and more. The class helps people become safe, legal and ethical hunters and is required for most hunters ages 10-30 who wish to hunt without a mentor present.
Meek said the in-class courses such as the one March 9 at Arcadia are great opportunities to learn about hunting from a certified instructor in a structured setting. On the other hand, the online course is convenient and allows for self-paced study. In either case, parents and mentors are encouraged to participate.
"Parents or mentors are a critical part of the process of becoming a hunter," Meek said.
Any Oklahoma resident 10 or older may complete the online course and print a hunter education certification card upon completion of the online final exam. Youths 9 and younger may take the course for knowledge but are not eligible for certification; instead, these youths may buy an apprentice-designated hunting license. Apprentice-designated licenses also may be used by anyone 30 or younger. Hunter education certification is not required for anyone 31 or older in Oklahoma.