Hunter education course instructor and student

DWR announces new online options for hunter education field day and course registration

Salt Lake City — In order to follow social distancing guidelines and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is now offering a temporary online field day for hunter education courses. The DWR is also changing the sign-up process for hunter education and other courses, now providing easier online registration.

Hunter education course instructor and student
Hunter education course instructor and student

Hunter education course options

To hunt in Utah, everyone born after Dec. 31, 1965, must complete a state-approved hunter education class or participate in the Trial Hunting Program.

There are two options for completing a hunter education course in Utah: You can take a traditional class led by an instructor that includes a field day, or you can take an online course followed by a 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.

Because current health recommendations discourage gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the DWR has temporarily postponed all instructor-led courses until further notice. While online hunter education courses have been offered for several years, the required field day portion had to be completed in-person, previously. In order to allow people to still complete hunter education at this time, the DWR is temporarily allowing the field day exercise to be completed online.

Students will receive detailed information from their instructor after they register for their online hunter education course. They will complete an online virtual field day and then print the completion voucher and send it to the instructor. The students can then complete a live-fire exercise with a parent, guardian or other mentor (must be an adult who is over 21 and is also a hunter education graduate). The student and mentor will record the live-fire exercise and send the video to the instructor with a photo of the target. The instructor will review and evaluate the video based on safe firearm-handling principles. Then students will be given the final written exam for the hunter education course online.

Online classes are $13–$29, in addition to the $10 registration certificate, which needs to be purchased before you register for the class. Typically, the only cost for the instructor-led classes is the $10 registration certificate.

About 65% of Utah's hunter education courses are taken online. Those courses and the new online virtual field day exercises can be taken at any time. You can find links to the approved online courses on the DWR website.

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.

Online registration changes

Another new change to hunter education has simplified the course registration process. Previously, if someone was interested in taking an instructor-led Hunter Education Program course, they had to purchase a hunter education registration certificate from a DWR office or license agent, find an available class on the DWR website, and then call or email the instructor to register for the class. Now, students can buy a hunter education registration certificate online or from any available license agent, find a hunter education course on the DWR website, and register for the class online.

The new online registration feature will also only display available classes; previously, an applicant wouldn’t know if a class was already full until they contacted the instructor. This new online registration process will be available for several DWR courses, including hunter education, furharvester education and bowhunter education.

"This change was made to make the course registration process consistent, regardless of the class or the instructor," DWR Hunter Education Coordinator Gary Cook said. "We wanted to make the process easier and more streamlined for the public. And now, when someone completes a hunter education course, the wait time is a lot shorter for when they can start applying for hunting permits. While the course requirements haven't changed, this administrative change should help the process become more efficient and standardized, so people can get out and go hunting sooner."

After a hunter education course has been completed, a physical copy of the hunter education "blue card," which shows proof of the course completion, will be mailed to the student.

The new required online registration and temporary online field day became available April 10.

"Don't delay in taking hunter education if you'd like to hunt big game or any other species this fall," Cook said. "The temporary online field day opportunity and the new online registration should make things more convenient and flexible, so that anyone who would like to take hunter education at this time will be able to do so."

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