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New hunter ed classes can help youth qualify

From New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

-- New hunter education classes—15 offered from March 9 to 11—have been scheduled in communities statewide to help young hunters qualify to apply for 2012-13 big-game licenses.

New Mexico law requires anyone younger than age 18 to have successfully completed an approved hunter education course before hunting with a firearm, purchasing a firearm hunting license or applying for a firearm hunting license.

Beginning this year, hunters younger than 18 who hunt with bows and arrows also will be required to have completed a hunter education course before purchasing or applying for a license.

The new requirement was created last year when the state Legislature passed Senate Bill 196, which requires everyone who applies for big-game licenses to purchase a Game hunting or Game hunting and Fishing license. Because those licenses allow hunting small game species with firearms, youths younger than 18 must have completed an approved hunter education course before purchasing one.

March 28 is the application deadline for public land deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, oryx, ibex, javelina, bighorn sheep and Barbary sheep licenses.

Students can view available classes and register online at http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/education/hunter_ed/index.htm.

Students will be assigned a free customer identification number, which is required to register for classes. The same number is required to buy hunting, fishing or trapping licenses online or to apply for any of the Department’s special drawing hunts.

Students without internet access can get customer identification numbers and register for hunter education classes at Department offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Raton, Roswell and Las Cruces during regular business hours.

For information about the Hunter Education Program call (505) 222-4731.

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