Hunter Safety Education is Key to Hunter Safety

Just like many of us already know, education is the key to success in just about anything in life. From the numbers and illustrations noted on the New York State DEC Hunter Safety Website – and shared here, we can see that New York State’s hunter education courses have proven they are highly effective in fostering safe hunters. Approximately 500,000 licensed hunters spend an estimated 10 to 15 million hunter days afield each year. Recent reports indicate that 2015 had the third-lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents on record in New York. The 2015 hunting season yielded the first year without a single hunting-related shooting fatality since the 1950s.

These low numbers have been achieved through training and the regulations governing hunting activities in New York State. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Sportsman Education Program is designed to teach and promote safe and effective hunting principles, practices, and strategies. The program has been extremely successful over its 66 years of existence.

huntersafety2Since DEC’s Sportsman Education Program was first introduced in New York State, the number of hunting related accidents have declined significantly. Reports on the number of hunting-related shooting incidents indicate that 2015 had the third lowest number on record in New York with 23 incidents. Starting with 2013, the last three years were the top three safest in New York with this being the first year on record with zero fatalities.

You can view and print the 2015 report by clicking the link: visit the Hunter Safety Statistics web page.

Hunter education courses are held across the state

DEC’s free education courses are offered for Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, and Waterfowl Identification. However, courses fill up quickly. Interested new hunters and trappers should sign up for a course soon and complete it before going afield this fall.

DEC’s on-line registration system features a list of all available hunter and trapper education courses and locations. Students can register from any device – smartphone, tablet or computer – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

huntersafety3Education courses are added continuously throughout the year, so participants should check the on-line system frequently to find a course or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332) or 518-402-8966.

New course homework requirements instituted this year

All hunter education and trapper education courses now require students to review course materials and complete a homework sheet prior to attending classroom and field sessions. The new homework requirement provides an introduction to hunting in New York State and enhances students’ understanding of the course material. Students should register for the course well in advance of the classroom and field date(s) in order to allow time to complete the homework requirement, which takes approximately three hours. All courses require successful completion of an in-person field day to earn certification for the course.

Access to the homework materials and online homework options can be found on DEC’s website; participants may also follow the guidelines listed in the various course announcements during registration. Actual course manuals and homework sheets are always available from DEC wildlife offices and sportsman education instructors.

New York sets a good example for other states in this great country to reflect upon.