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Hunter apprentice validation an option for new hunters

Sentinel Tribune of Westbrook, Minnesota

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New hunters who have missed the opportunity to take a firearms safety class may still deer hunt under supervision this fall by purchasing a hunter apprentice validation, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

Now that hunting season is quickly approaching, some prospective youth hunters and their parents are realizing the remaining hunter safety and education classes are full. The hunter apprentice validation allows a new hunter the opportunity to hunt one season under the direct supervision of an adult licensed hunter without completing a formal firearms safety hunter education class. The hunter apprentice must first purchase the validation for $3.50 at an Electronic Licensing System vendor, and then purchase the appropriate hunting license. The validation can be used for one hunting season and apprentice hunters are allowed to buy only two validations in a lifetime. Apprentice hunters are then required to get their firearms safety certificates to continue hunting.

Firearms safety hunter education classes are offered throughout the year by DNR-certified volunteer instructors. New hunters are encouraged to take a firearms safety class as early in the year as possible when many classes have openings, rather than waiting until demand is high and seats are full.

"Firearms safety classes are important for teaching consistent safety messages to new hunters," said Jon Paurus, education program coordinator, DNR Enforcement Division. "Equally important is the role of a parent or mentor to model the safe practices of firearms handling and ensure the new hunter is safe, responsible and ethical while hunting. Actual field experience is one of the greatest teaching tools."

Anyone born after 1979 is required to have a firearms safety certificate to hunt with a firearm, except youth age 12 and under may hunt without a certificate as long as a parent or guardian accompanies them.

New, adult hunters (age 18 or older) may choose to take an approved classroom training course, an online study course with virtual field day, an independent study course from an approved instructor, or use the same hunter apprentice validation option under the same rules.

Even though firearms safety certification field days may no longer be available this season, a new hunter may still benefit from reviewing the course online at www.huntercourse.com. By completing the online portion of the course prior to hunting, the student will be eligible to quickly register for the next available field day to complete their certificate.

For more information about the apprentice hunter validation, firearms safety hunter education class, or to learn how to become a volunteer firearms safety instructor, see www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/index.html.



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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015



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