According to the calendar, summer officially begins on June 20th and the weather is heating up fast. So instead of rifles, shotguns, bows, and wild game, most folks are probably thinking about baseball, swimming and barbecues. But now is the time to start thinking about the various options available for completing hunter education so you are ready for this fall.
In Nebraska, all hunters age 12 through 29 who hunt any game species with a firearm or airgun, must carry proof of successful completion of firearm hunter education with them while hunting. And all hunters age 12 through 29 who hunt deer, elk, antelope or mountain (bighorn) sheep with a bow and arrow or cross bow must carry proof of successful completion of bowhunter education while hunting. Also, most youth trap teams and conferences require completion of the firearm hunter education course before a young shooter takes part.
There are two main options to secure your Nebraska firearm or bowhunter education certificates.
- Attend a traditional classroom course. Usually broken up into several short sessions over a few days. Students attend all of the sessions and complete a written exam at the end.
- Online coursework.
- 16 and up, everything can be completed online.
- 11 to 15, will need to attend a 2-hour Hunt Safe Session after completing the online portion.
You can find out all the details about both options at HuntSafeNebraska.com as well as track down available courses in your area.
Just like hunting, Hunter Education seems to have its own “seasons.” Although you can find classes throughout the year, there are generally more courses offered in the fall. Mid-August through mid-November is often packed with offerings throughout the state. So if you’re looking for a hunter ed class and don’t see one in your area right away, don’t fret. It may just not be the right season. Keep checking back. And when you see a class that fits your schedule, don’t hesitate to sign up. Classes often fill up quickly.
Since the establishment of mandatory hunter education, hunter incidents in the field have dropped dramatically, not just in Nebraska, but nationwide. Statistically speaking, hunting today is much safer than playing contact sports such as football or soccer, cheerleading, mountain biking, or even golf and bowling! Anything that’s this important takes some time, so planning now for when, where and how to complete hunter education will eliminate unnecessary stress later this fall.
With a small investment of your time now you will have access to some amazing outdoor opportunity for a lifetime.
Wendy Horine, NebraskaHunter Education Coordinator
Nebraska Game and Parks