New hunters and those who want to mentor new hunters should plan now for the approaching hunting season, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
Seasons for several small-game species, including squirrel, already are open, and archery deer and turkey seasons and early teal, rail, snipe and Canada goose seasons are coming up soon, followed by duck, goose, urban deer, rabbit and firearms turkey seasons, plus youth seasons for ducks, deer, quail and pheasants in October. By Nov. 1, no fewer than 16 seasons run concurrently.
Wouldn’t it be a pity to miss any of this because you couldn’t buy a hunting permit or were not allowed to mentor a novice hunter because you didn’t have a hunter education certification card?
If you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, and are 16 years of age or older you must complete an approved hunter education certification class or buy an Apprentice Hunter Authorization before buying hunting permits. Youth under 16 years of age do not need hunter education certification to hunt any Missouri species while hunting with an adult mentor.
Adult hunters over 18 years of age and born after Jan. 1, 1967, may need hunter education to mentor hunters who are not certified and not hunting on a landowner permit. Most states now have hunter education requirements and recognize each other’s certification, so taking a class in Missouri qualifies you to buy permits in other states.
“Taking a hunter education class with a youngster, even if you are not required to, is an excellent bonding opportunity,” said MDC Hunter Education Coordinator Tony Legg. “It also helps set the tone for safe, ethical hunting experiences that build relationships and positive character traits.”
Legg said experienced older hunters who take hunter education classes invariably say they learned something new.
“These aren’t just dry, factual presentations,” said Legg. “We have more than 1,400 talented, dedicated volunteer instructors, and each one adds a unique dimension to his or her classes. They enrich the basic material with stories and insights that bring the subject to life. Everyone who takes a hunter education class comes away a better hunter for the experience.”
Legg suggests enrolling now if you need to attend a hunter education class. The longer you wait, the greater the chances that classes will be full. To find a class near you, visit //bit.ly/9dxTLV. You also can take the hunter education course online at hhunter-ed.com/missouri/index.