New homework program will help provide a solid footprint for becoming a safe and ethical hunter and trapper
By the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Beginning this year, all sportsman education courses will require students to review course materials and complete a homework sheet prior to attending the classroom and field sessions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced.
"Hunter and trapper education teaches future sportsmen and sportswomen how to be safe, responsible and ethical hunters and trappers, and is an essential part of maintaining our conservation heritage," DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "We are constantly seeking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our sportsman education program. Establishing a new homework portion for the courses enhances the quality of the training and will improve our excellent record of safe hunting and trapping in New York."
To become a licensed hunter, bowhunter or trapper in New York, a person is first required to attend and pass a free training course offered by DEC. Trained volunteer instructors, certified by the DEC sportsman education program, teach courses throughout the state on safe and responsible hunting and trapping, and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation.
Courses are offered for hunter education, bowhunter education, trapper education and waterfowl identification.
The new homework portion of the course is designed to present an introduction to the subject and enhance the students' understanding of the course material.
Proof of the completed homework is required in order to enroll in the classroom and field portions of the course. Students should register for the course well in advance in order to allow time to complete the homework requirement, which takes about three hours. All courses also require successful completion of an in-person field day to earn certification.
There are a few ways to obtain the study material to complete the homework requirement:
With more than 300 courses completed so far this year, the homework requirement is proving to be popular with many instructors.
"With the homework now being completed prior to the class, the students are far better prepared for the classroom session," Saratoga County instructor Bill Schwerd said. "This is an improvement over the previous delivery of the course, where students got their training manual at the first class session and didn't have a chance to read it prior to the class."
Master instructor Eric Minton of Niagara County said, "I coordinated a hunter education course in February of this year with the homework requirement for all students. Every student had their homework worksheet completed when they arrived at the first class. The students were better prepared and more readily engaged in classroom presentations, and the course was reduced from three sessions to two. With more time for field exercises, we were able to offer students more hands-on training."
For more information on sportsman education course registration, access to the course manuals and worksheets, and topics covered in the class, visit the sportsman education program on DEC's webpage at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.