Every group has one. You’re planning a trip out West, you’ve got the group text going. Everyone is doing their thing, buying gear, showing off their shooting skills at the range, and goading their friends into working out more. Then, it takes a turn. Two days from draw close you start getting a flurry of messages. “Where can I get a hunter’s safety course?”, “When does the draw close?”, “Does this camo pattern slim my beer gut?” Lucky you, group organizer. You backwoods logistician. Barrista of the instant camp coffee. You have this handy list of online Hunters Safety Courses.
A while back I authored a beginner’s guide to hunting. However, I failed to recognize that sometimes you just need to get your course work in for Hunter’s Safety, and online hunters safety is the way to do it. While there are absolutely some good things about doing it in person, a majority of the folks that I take hunting are veterans that become adult onset hunters. Many of them have had firearms safety drilled into them. Most are experienced shooters. So in all likelihood a range day is not required for these candidates.
In general the price for these courses is fairly low, around $35 for most offerings, with some options available for extended course material. At the end of the day most of the courses will teach to the rules in the hunters handbook. The coursework tends to distill the legalese that’s been forced into the handbooks into plain English. That’s where the real learning occurs.
States Offering Online Hunters Safety
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers an online hunter education course that is available to both residents and nonresidents. You can find more information about the course and register for it here.
The Missouri Department of Conservation offers a fully online hunter education course that is available to residents and nonresidents. This course is provided by Hunter-Ed which serves as a contractor for several states for fully online hunters safety classes. You can find more information about the course and register for it here.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers an online hunter safety course that is available to both residents and nonresidents. You can find more information about the course and register for it here.
Please note that Florida went back to requiring a field day if you don’t have proof of previous firearms training. However there is an option for a Virtual Field Day by way of Microsoft Teams. This method allows everyone to still do the course online. You will need to ensure you can schedule one, though to complete the course.
Regardless of which option you choose you’ll need to have your hunters safety number or proof of graduation available to you as a first time hunter. In Colorado where I hunt now you can stop by a CPW office on your way out to hunt to get verified which allows you to not have to carry your hunters safety card on you at all times. This will show up as a printed V on your license. In the overwhelming majority of cases when I’ve traveled to hunt, my Pennsylvania Hunter’s Safety Card has been accepted by the states I’ve traveled to when applying for new licenses.
In the event that you lose your hunters safety card that will be issued by your online hunters safety class, you may procure a new one online as well. I’d misplaced my card a few years back and needed a new one. I found the ones being offered online to be of high quality plastic similar to other ID cards. Cards come complete with the numbers that can be looked up in their database.
Finally, the expeditious online training is no reason to lack in safety during a hunt. This is merely a way to ensure you get the bare minimum training to get out and enjoy a tradition as old as mankind. Pay attention to senior hunters in your group, take instructions, be safe, and have fun outdoors.