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MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007
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Hunter education is required

In January, when some hunting seasons were coming to a close, I made a promise.

My promise was to write a column about Alabama’s Hunter Education program for those who have youngsters interested in hunting.

During the years, I hear the same sad story again and again. When hunters prepare for the opening of dove season, they often forget the education course for their children.

Sometimes, the younger hunters find out on their own they are not qualified to get an Alabama hunting license when they go to the courthouse or local outdoor store to purchase the official license. On the license, it will have a space where the hunter must prove he or she has taken and passed an approved Alabama hunter education course.

If the young hunter doesn’t have a hunter education identification number, the applicant won’t receive a license that day, for sure.

In 1991, the Alabama Legislature passed legislation that requires all hunting license buyers born on or after Aug. 1, 1977, to show proof of completion of an approved hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license.

Alabama is one of 49 states that have a mandatory hunter education program. The goal of the education program is to make Alabama hunters more responsible and more knowledgeable about wildlife conservation.

Even though I am exempt from having to take a course, I took one anyway. If you pass an Alabama course, the certificate you receive is good for any state you wish to hunt in.

The reason I took and passed the course is that some states require everybody to have an HEID Number. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you must show the proper paperwork to receive an out-of-state hunting license.

Applying early for a seat is an excellent idea because most of the courses taught have limited classes.

For example, there is a Hunter Education course set up for Aug. 4. It is limited to 100 seats and I imagine they will fill up fast.

The course will be taught at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, and it is broken down into two meetings. The class will run from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. The second part of the program will be Aug. 11 at the same time as before.

The next course for people who wish to attend a class in Morgan County is Oct. 6 at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. There will be 75 seats available for the event.

On Oct. 6, the times for day one are 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. The second part of the class is slated for Oct. 7, from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m.

Please note that all dates and times are subject to change.

Registration is taking place for the Aug. 4 program.

Online registration will begin for the Oct. 6 course Sept. 15.

Registration can be handled through www.outdoor
alabama.com or you can call the District 1 Wildlife and Conservation office (Harris Station) at (256) 353-2634.

Hunter Education classes are throughout the state, but trying to attend one close to home depends on how early you register.

Last year, I was told about a father-and-son team who wanted to go dove hunting as a birthday gift for the younger outdoorsman, who had just turned 16. Turning 16 meant he was required to have a hunting license to go hunting.

As it turned out, the hunters lived in Morgan County but were unable to find a class with seats available.

They got their applications approved. Something tells me that the drive to Montgomery was somewhat long and boring. If they had only looked into attending a Hunter Education course in July, they would
have been able to take the course at a location that was only a 10 to 15 minute drive from their home
.

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Paul Stackhouse
Outdoors
Paul Stackhouse

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