How to take a hunter education class or enroll in the Trial Hunting Program in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY — If you are interested in trying hunting for the first time this fall or winter or if you’d like to learn how to use a trap, you’ll need to look into either taking a hunter education class or participating in the Trial Hunting Program. If you’ve never taken hunter education or a furharvester course, rest assured that it isn’t too late; but don’t put it off because classes fill up quickly!
January and February are the most popular months for hunter education courses, so people can apply for the big game hunt drawing. The next-busiest months are July and August, right before the fall general-season big game hunts.
To hunt in Utah, everyone born after Dec. 31, 1965 must complete a state-offered hunter education class or participate in the Trial Hunting Program. Here’s what you need to know to enroll in either:
How to take a hunter education course
You have the option of taking a traditional in-person class led by an instructor or an online course followed by an in-person field day. Both options include a final written test and the “field day” with hands-on skills demonstration and a live-fire shooting exercise at the end.
The online course will teach you about firearm safety, hunter responsibility and ethics. It can be taken at your own pace. The online course costs $25, and you can register on the Utah Hunter Education webpage.
“If you have a young child who’s taking the course, you can help them understand what they’re learning by sitting with them and discussing the course material as they go through it,” RaLynne Takeda, hunter education program manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said. “Your child can also take the course at their own speed, and they can go back and review the material as often as they’d like.”
The instructor will provide additional details about the field day after you register for the online hunter education course. Once you finish the online portion of the course, you’ll print your proof-of-completion document. Then, you can buy a hunter education registration certificate online. The certificate costs $10 and is required before you can do the field day.
Trial Hunting Program
Utah’s Trial Hunting Program is another way to get in the field this fall. The program gives you a chance to try hunting with an experienced hunter and see if it is something you’d like to pursue. You are not required to take hunter education to participate in this program.
You must be at least 12 years old to join the program. You just need to be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is 21 or older. To participate, you must complete a brief online orientation course, which can be found on the DWR website. You also need to buy a hunting license and the permit for the species you’d like to hunt. In this program, you are eligible to obtain the following licenses and permits:
- Combination or hunting licenses (good for hunting all small game, including upland game and waterfowl)
- General-season deer and elk permits
- Permits to hunt bear, cougar, greater sage-grouse, sandhill crane, sharp-tailed grouse, swan and turkey
You can learn more about the program on the DWR website.
“Both of these are great ways to get started in hunting, a sport that not only allows you to get fresh, locally sourced meat, but also gives you a unique opportunity to get outdoors and make memories with your family,” Takeda said. “Hunting is also an important tool in managing healthy wildlife populations.”
How to take a furharvester education course
To trap wildlife in Utah, everyone born after Dec. 31, 1984, must complete a state-offered furharvester education course. The furharvester education course provides instructions on the following:
- Safe, responsible and ethical trapping methods
- How to use trapping devices
- Trapping laws, trapping ethics, techniques in safely releasing non-target animals
- Firearm safety
- Wildlife management
- Proper catch handling
First, you will purchase a registration certificate before taking the online course. The registration certificate is $6 and can be purchased online, from a DWR office or any available license agent. Then, you will take the online course and exam. The next step is to find an in-person field day in your area and register on the DWR website. You will need to present the online course-completion document when attending your field day exercise.