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Obtaining an Oklahoma hunter education card is now just a few clicks away for most of the state's prospective hunters.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is now offering the complete hunter education course online. The successful cyber-student will be able to print an Oklahoma hunter education card after completing the free course.
Most state residents who are 10 to 30 years of age are required to have a hunter education card to buy a license. Now, instead of attending a traditional eight-hour course in a classroom setting, prospective hunters can simply log on to the Wildlife Department's website to complete the course and test for a certificate.
"We've always tried to make classes convenient for our hunters," said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department. "But everything we've tried, there were still people left out. The online class is the most inclusive option we've ever offered."
Students can study the curriculum online in sections. They will not have to complete the entire course at once, which is usually the case in a classroom setting.
Fifty test questions are scattered throughout the online course, and students must select the correct answers before being able to continue to the next section.
Also, this online course can be used by prospective hunters younger than 10 to satisfy the home study requirement they need to attend a traditional Hunter Education class.
This new option for certification promises to be quite successful. In just two weeks of initial operation, more than 1,000 hunter education cards have been printed as students have completed the course online.
Meek said the online course also offers young students the benefit of involving parents in learning about safe hunting.
"One of my favorite things about this online class is that I love the idea of the kids sitting down with their parents to work through the hunter safety curriculum," he said. "Parents or mentors are a hugely important part of the process of becoming a hunter."
The hunter education course is free, whether the student attends a classroom session or chooses the new online course. Anyone may take the online course by logging on to www.wildlifedepartment.com. The course was developed locally by Career Tech using curriculum from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Many of the test questions relating to accidents and violations are based on real-life experiences reported by game wardens in the field.
"Now there are three options for hunter education certification," Meek said. "You can take the course online if you are 10 years old or older, you can take an eight-hour classroom course, or the home study that requires a four-hour class."
To learn more about the Wildlife Department's online hunter education course, or to see a listing of in-class and home study hunter education courses available statewide, log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com/education/huntered.htm.
Exemptions from hunter education certification requirements in Oklahoma include anyone 31 or older, those honorably discharged or currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, and members of the National Guard. If an Oklahoma resident is exempt from taking hunter education in Oklahoma but needs a hunter education certification card to hunt in a different state, they can also complete the new course online for certification.