Young people who want to hunt in Utah have plenty of reasons to be excited — several special youth hunting days will be held this fall.
For example, on Sep. 22 — a week before the regular chukar and Hungarian partridge hunts begin — those 15 years of age and younger get a day all to themselves to hunt both species of partridge. And a chance to hunt ducks and geese two weeks before the regular waterfowl hunt starts will likely happen on Sep. 22 too.
But you can’t take advantage of any of the youth hunting days if you haven’t completed the state’s Hunter Education course.
With the start of the special youth hunt days about two months away, right now is the perfect time to take the course. Kirk Smith, assistant Hunter Education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said if you wait until just before the hunt days arrive, you might not have time to complete the course before the hunts happen.
“Save yourself the disappointment of missing out on some great memories and fun,” Smith said. “Sign up for a Hunter Education course now.”
Smith’s invitation is for adults, too — if you were born after Dec. 31, 1965, you must complete the course before hunting in Utah.
Hunter Education classes are held across Utah. You can see a class schedule and get contact information for the DWR’s volunteer Hunter Education instructors at http://go.usa.gov/W0s.
Two ways to take the course
The DWR provides two ways to take the course — in a classroom, or online.
Smith said each way has its advantages. He said the biggest advantage to the online course is its convenience. “Young people are usually busy with lots of activities in the summer,” he said. “The online course provides a way to take the course at a time that works best for them.”
Taking the course online also allows the young person’s parent to sit by their side to make sure they understand what they’re learning. The young person can also learn at his or her speed and can review the material as often as he or she wants.
If you don’t know much about hunting, accompanying your child to a course in a classroom might be the best choice. “Trained volunteer instructors run the classroom courses,” Smith said. “The instructor should have answers to your child’s questions.”
Whichever way you choose, a shooting test — where the young hunter shows that he or she can safely handle a small-caliber rifle and can shoot the rifle accurately — is also a required part of the course.