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A volunteer instructor works one-on-one to teach a hunter education student how to shoot a .22 rifle.

It's not too early to start thinking about obtaining hunter education certification.

Firearm and bowhunter education covers the safety aspects of firearms and archery equipment, as well as the conservation management and ethics that go with hunting.

In Nebraska, all hunters ages 12 to 29 must carry proof of successful completion of a firearm hunter-education course when hunting any game species with a firearm or air gun, or proof of successful completion of a bowhunter education course while hunting deer, elk, antelope or bighorn sheep with a bow and arrow or crossbow.

Although hunter education is not required until age 12, students can complete the course at 11. A traditional, 10-hour classroom course for firearm or bowhunter education is available. A 14-hour dual class that includes the curriculum for both firearm and bowhunter education also is offered.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission also offers online hunter education. Students ages 16 and older may complete all of the course requirements online. Students ages 11 to 15 may also complete their hunter education online, but they also are required to take a two-hour Hunt Safe Session. During the Hunt Safe Session, volunteer hunter education instructors spend face-to-face time discussing the most important safety aspects of the course.

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Hunter education courses are available year-round, but most traditional classroom courses and Hunt Safe Sessions are offered in the fall and spring. Mid-August through mid-November is packed with course offerings throughout the state. February and March also offer many classes.

Demand for these classes increases significantly into late September, October and November, so space in these classes can fill quickly.

Hunter education has been the foundation of ensuring that the time-honored tradition of hunting remains one of the safest activities in which to participate. Over 175,000 Nebraskans take to the field every year and hunter education instills the safety, ethics and responsibility necessary for these memories to be created year after year.

For a listing of posted traditional classroom courses and Hunt Safe sessions, and information for the online courses, visit huntsafenebraska.org. All traditional classroom courses and Hunt Safe sessions are free of charge.

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Jackson Ellis is the Hunter Education Coordinator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Contact him at jackson.ellis@nebraska.gov.


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