OLYMPIA - With the number of students outnumbering available space in some state hunter education classes, first-time hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, should move quickly to secure a spot for the required training.
To help meet the demand, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is actively seeking additional instructors and training facilities and offers an alternative home study program.
Successful completion of a hunter education course is a state requirement for individuals born after Jan. 1, 1972, who are seeking their first hunting license.
WDFW offers more than 400 hunter education classes statewide. Classes average 17 hours in length and are taught by volunteer instructors with materials provided by WDFW. The program is funded through federal excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition and some archery equipment.
"We continue to add new volunteer instructors each year, but many of those will be helping with existing classes," said Mik Mikitik, WDFW hunter education coordinator. "However, some classes will be full or are not available in all areas."
Information on requirements and materials for home study is available by contacting Dan Boes with the WDFW Hunter Education Program, (360) 902-8115, or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to learning information in the written material, home study participants must work with a target shooting facility to complete the shooting proficiency portion of the course and complete a written exam supervised by a proctor.
"The home study program requires self-discipline, time and individual motivation," Mikitik said. "It's not an easy alternative to a traditional class, but it's an option that may work for an older student with firearms experience."
Information on hunter education classes by county is available on the WDFW website on the Internet, or through WDFW regional offices.