From the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
-- Opportunities to attend an Oklahoma hunter education class between now and the Nov. 20 opening day of deer gun season are plentiful. Most hunters need the certification to hunt deer without supervision.
Hunters have about 40 class dates to choose from across the state before deer gun season arrives, with more than 30 classes scheduled for Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 alone.
"People have busy schedules," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "The courses are a huge benefit to those sportsmen who couldn't make it to a class earlier in the year. There have been more than 350 courses throughout the year, and we've made a special effort so no one will need to drive too far to find a class the two weeks before deer gun season."
In recent years, the Wildlife Department has offered even more last minute courses during the weekend prior to the opening day of deer gun season, and according to Meek, the turnout is worth the effort.
"Hunters have responded well," Meek said. "Last year, we certified 3,236 students the two weekends before deer gun season. That's almost 20 percent of the number of students certified all year."
Courses scheduled between now and deer gun season will debut the Wildlife Department's new hunter education manual, designed specifically for Oklahoma hunter education students. Curriculum for the manual was developed by the University of Central Oklahoma with oversight from Department hunter ed instructors. Since it is an Oklahoma specific manual, unlike the manuals used in the rest of the country, students will see more Oklahoma scenes and situations.
"The majority of the manual focuses on safety and ethics, the most important things you can teach new hunters," Meek said.
To hunt big game or small game alone, hunters ages 10 to 35 must be hunter education certified. Hunters age nine and under who are hunter education certified can hunt big game or small game alone except during youth deer gun and turkey seasons and on public lands, where additional regulations may apply.
Hunters exempt from hunter education include those 36 years of age or older, those honorably discharged from or currently on duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the National Guard.
Oklahomans not exempt from hunter education and not hunter education certified may be eligible to hunt with an apprentice-designated hunting license. For full details and license requirements, visit http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/courses.htm or consult the current Oklahoma Hunting Guide.
Hunters who can hunt with an apprentice-designated hunting license are encouraged to complete a hunter education course.
Courses on Nov. 6 and 13 will be held in Ada, Antlers, Ardmore, Bartlesville, Bokchito, Broken Arrow, Broken Bow, Burns Flat, Enid, Grove, Jenks, Kellyville, Lawton, Locust Grove, McAlester, Miami, Midwest City, Newcastle, Oklahoma City, Prague, Sallisaw, Stillwater, Sulphur, Tishomingo, Wagoner, Wayne, Wister and Woodward. Some courses on these dates require two day attendance. Others are offered as home study courses.
Hunter education covers topics including firearm safety and handling, treestand safety, ethics, muzzleloader hunting, archery, wildlife identification and wildlife management. It is available as a standard eight-hour course, an online home study course and as a workbook home study course. It is strongly recommended anyone planning on hunting or shooting complete a hunter education class.