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Hunting in West Virginia: Are Safety Courses Required to Hunt in West Virginia? How Do I Pass Classes?

By    |   Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 01:34 PM

Hunting is a popular sport in West Virginia, and safety while hunting is a high priority. To help hunters understand the laws and attitudes that lead to safer hunting, the state Department of Natural Resources teams up with the West Virginia Hunter Education Association, a nonprofit group of certified volunteers who teach hunter safety in every county.

Hunter education classes are mandatory for anyone born on or after January 1, 1975.They also are mandatory for minors who purchase lifetime hunting licenses before their 15th birthdays. Those required to take these classes must then keep their class certificate on their person when they are hunting. Lost certificates can be replaced through DNR.

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There is one exception: People who want to try hunting or fur trapping without taking hunter education classes can purchase an Apprentice Hunting License up to three times in a five-year period if they hunt with a licensed adult hunter.

The only place to get these licenses is online. Once a person has used three Apprentice Hunting Licenses, or the five-year period since the first Apprentice License was bought has passed, a person must take a hunter education course if otherwise required, and then apply for a regular license.

Hunter education classes are free and open to the public. They last roughly 12 hours over a two-day span. Children who attend need an adult present if they are age 13 or 14 or under.

The age depends on the county. To sign up for hunter education classes and to determine if an minor needs an adult present, check the state Department of Natural Resources website.

Classes cover the topics of game identification, gun use and safety, first aid, how to hunt safely, wildlife management, and ethics. Proper gun use and safety account for about half of the course, including use of rifles, shotguns, revolvers, semiautomatics, and muzzleloaders. Archery also is covered.

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The first part of the class may be taken online for a fee if the person is at least 10 years old. It is self-paced, and a person can do it in more than one sitting.

Once this section is complete, the person prints a voucher, schedules the hands-on and written sections with the nearest DNR Law Enforcement District Office, and brings the voucher to that session. All three sections must be passed before a certificate is gained.

The Hunter Education Association stresses that passing the class involves more than understanding laws regarding hunting in West Virginia.

The classes focus on traits such as honesty, self-discipline, self-reliance, responsible behavior and good citizenship, according to the HEA’s website. Hunters need to be knowledgeable about their equipment, the wildlife they are hunting, and the environment, as well as the law and safety rules, HEA points out.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.

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Hunting is a popular sport in West Virginia, and safety while hunting is a high priority.
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2015-34-04
Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 01:34 PM
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