Summer perfect time for courses

An IDFG conservation officer shows a girl how to handle a bow and arrow at a hunter education class.

School might be out for summer, but it’s a good time to complete your hunter education, bowhunter certification and trapper requirement so you can be ready for fall seasons.

Hunter education is required for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1975 who wants to purchase an Idaho hunting license. Bowhunter education is required for anyone to buy an archery permit who hasn’t been licensed for an archery-only hunt in Idaho or another state.

Summer is a great time to get into a course, as there are a number of courses to choose from and space is usually available. Courses are offered year-round, but the numbers offered decrease in early fall as most volunteer instructors prepare for their own hunting adventures. Early fall courses also fill up rapidly and there may not be available spaces for those who delay.

To learn about Idaho’s hunter education requirements, or to register for a course, visit Fish and Game’s hunter education webpage at idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/education.

There are instructor-led, classroom courses and self-paced online options to complete the hunter education requirement, but both require a “field day,” where students must be there in person.

The most popular course option for budding young hunters is the instructor-led course. Direct person-to-person instruction from certified volunteer instructors and hands-on learning experiences makes this the best option for youth ages 9 to 14, or for individuals having minimal hunting experience.

Self-paced, online option

The online course offers the same content, but is taken on the student’s schedule. While convenient and allowing much of the course to be taken at home, the course is designed for older students with excellent reading comprehension. The online option requires students to register and attend a field day where a field exercise and written exam are given.

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Bowhunter ed and hunter/bowhunter combo courses

There are instructor-led and online options for bowhunter education courses as well. The instructor-led classroom course is recommended for students ages 9 to 14 or anyone new to bowhunting. The self-paced online course is open to students who are 9 years old and up, but like the hunter education course, it is designed for older students. There is no field day requirement for the online bowhunter education course.

Fish and Game also offers an instructor-led combination (hunter and bowhunter) course that satisfies Idaho’s requirements for both rifle and archery hunting. This course avoids the duplication of shared content and streamlines the process for those wanting both hunter and bowhunter certification.

Hunting Passport lets you try hunting before taking hunter ed

In addition, the Hunting Passport offers a way for those wanting to try the sport prior to committing time and energy to a hunter education course. Those who are 8 and older and have never held a hunting license in Idaho, or any other state, can obtain the special authorization for $1.75. This document, similar to a license, allows people to hunt with a license-holding adult mentor.

Once the special certification is up, those who want to continue hunting must fulfill the education requirement before purchasing a license. Here are more details on Idaho’s Hunting Passport.

Trapper education

There are also two trapper education courses available this summer. The courses are instructor-led, and cover trapping laws, ethical trapping, avoiding non-target catch, safety, and basic trapping methods. Anyone who did not hold an Idaho trapping license prior to July 2011 is required to take trapper education before purchasing a license.

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