North Dakota Game and Fish offering hunter education courses

Published: Jan. 23, 2021 at 5:47 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - If you’ve never hunted before, you probably need to take a hunter education course first.

Most in-person hunter education courses are being offered across the state from now until the end of May. If you were born after 1961, are 12 years or older, you must take a certified hunter education course prior to obtaining a firearm or bowhunting license in North Dakota.

“Our hunter education course traditionally was a firearm safety course. But over the years it’s modified in the firearm safety, wildlife management, landowner relations and just everything we think, as a state wildlife agency, new hunters should know going into the field their first year,” said NDGF Hunter Education Coordinator, Brian Schaffer.

When in-person classes got cancelled last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, courses were revamped to ensure students were able to complete a certified hunter education course.

“And so students were able to complete the 10 to 13 hours of online instruction at home and then return, starting in July, we offered over 100 testing opportunities across the state, which include the written and practical exam for students to pass,” said Schaffer.

Schaffer is optimistic about 2021 being more of normal year for hunter education.

“And we’re looking to have our volunteers start delivering some of our courses as long as they’re following the state’s guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing, all of those things. And that in combination with our new and improved home study course, we’re really hoping we can get right back up to that yearly average of certifying 4,500 students,” said Schaffer.

Hunter education courses fill up quickly, but there are ways to be notified when classes are offered.

“The most effective way for you to find out when the next course is in your area is to sign up for email and text alerts on the North Dakota Game and Fish’s website,” said Schaffer.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is always looking for volunteers to help teach hunter education courses across the state.

“For the last 40 some years, our hunter education program has been led by our volunteer instructors across the state. We’re always looking for more volunteers and more people that are willing to share their knowledge and their passion for the resource and to pass that on to the next generation of hunters here in North Dakota,” said Schaffer.

If you’re interested in signing up for a hunter education course or volunteering to teach, visit

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