Know the rules before you take kids hunting

Before taking their children or teens hunting, it’s important for parents to provide a proper hunting safety education, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Residents and non-residents born on or after Jan. 1, 1961, must successfully complete a hunter education course prior to purchasing a season hunting license.

Hunter education courses certified or mandated by any state wildlife agency or Canadian province are accepted.

Hunter e ducation is not required to hunt on one’s own land or land of a parent or guardian.

Course options include a free classroom course a free CD-ROM course or three online courses with varying fees.

Students may request a copy of the free CD-ROM from any Game Management or Law Enforcement Office. Decatur County is covered by the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Office in Albany, Ga. The office address is 1700 Radium Springs Road in Albany and the office can be reached by telephone at (229) 430-4252.

On Georgia DNR’s website, www.georgiawildlife.com, people can register for an online class or search for the nearest classroom-based course near them.

People who succesfully complete the course receive a certificate that in some cases must be in their possession on hunting outings.

A full list of hunting regulations in Georgia can be found online at www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/outdoors

Hunter Education Skills Challenge
Recognized as the most comprehensive youth hunting program anywhere in North America, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) is a “graduate studies” program in outdoor skills and safety training for young hunters. Open only to those who have completed hunter-safety training at the state level, the program is conducted under simulated hunting conditions to provide the best practical environment for reinforcing and testing a young hunter’s skills.

From shotgun and archery shooting sports to shoot/don’t shoot scenarios and orienteering, YHEC participants get hands-on training in different skills areas, giving them expertise in all methods of take and all types of game.

State-level YHEC programs, hosted by volunteer instructors, draw an estimated 50,000 youths each year. Top ranked individuals advance to the annual NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge, the pinnacle of the program. Since its inception in 1985, YHEC has reached more than a million young sportsmen and women.

Youth can view practice test questions and see upcoming skills challenge events and scores on the DNR’s website. Adults who wish to become hunting educators or volunteer to assist in youth hunting skills challenges can also find more information online.

Hunters Under Age 12
Hunters under age 12 are not required to complete a hunter education course. However, no one under age 12 may hunt unless under direct supervision, i.e. within sight or hearing of licensed adult (at least 18 years old) hunter. It is unlawful for an adult to permit their child or ward under age 12 to hunt unsupervised. Special restrictions apply to Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) & National Wildlife Refuges (NWR’s).

Hunters Aged 12 – 15
Must complete a hunter education course prior to hunting unless under direct supervision of a licensed adult hunter. It is unlawful for an adult to permit their child or ward (12-15) to hunt without adult supervision unless the child possesses a hunter education certificate while hunting. See other special rules for WMA’s.

Hunters Aged 16 – 25
Must present a hunter education certificate when purchasing a season hunting license and must possess the certificate while hunting.

Hunters Over Age 25
Hunters over age 25 and born after Jan. 1, 1961, must meet hunter education course requirements but need not present their hunter education certificate when buying a season hunting license or possess it while hunting.

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