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Youth hunters encouraged to complete hunter ed early

From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

-- Young people who want to hunt in Utah have a reason to be excited, because the number of special hunting days for young hunters is growing.

The DWR encourages hunters to sign up for a Hunter Education class early, because fall hunts aren't that far away.

For example, on Sept. 17, a week before the regular chukar and Hungarian partridge hunts begin, those 15 years of age and younger can hunt partridge. A chance to hunt ducks and geese two weeks before the regular waterfowl hunt starts will likely happen on Sept. 17, too.

However, youth hunters can't take advantage of any of the state's youth hunting days if they haven't completed the state's hunter education course.

With the start of the special youth hunt days and the regular hunts less than three months away, early summer is a perfect time to take the course, according to Kirk Smith, assistant hunter education coordinator.  He advises youth to not wait until the last minute to complete the course.

"Save yourself the disappointment of missing out on great memories and fun," Smith said. "Sign up for a hunter education course now."

Smith's invitation applies to adult hunters, too. Those born after Dec. 31, 1965, must complete the course before hunting in Utah.

Hunter ed classes are held across Utah, and the course also can be taken online.  Those completing the course online must also attend a field day which runs for five to six hours.

For a class schedule and contact information for the DWR's volunteer Hunter Education instructors, check online at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/huntereducation.html.

Smith says each way has its advantages. He says the biggest advantage to the online course is its convenience. "Young people are usually busy with lots of activities in the summer," he says. "The online course provides a way to take the course at a time that works best for them."

Taking the class online also allows the young person's parent to sit by their side to make sure they understand what they're learning. The online course allows young people to learn at his or her speed, and to review material as often as needed.

Parents who do not know much about hunting may find accompanying their child to a classroom might be the best choice.

"The classroom courses are run by trained volunteer instructors," Smith says. "The instructor should have answers to questions that you might not have the answer to."

A shooting test, where the young hunter shows he or she can safely handle a small-caliber rifle and can shoot it accurately, is also a required part of the course.

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