Guest post from North Dakota Game & Fish outreach biologist Doug Lier.
If you’ve ever wondered why a hunter education class isn’t offered in your town or why the dates and times weren’t to your preference, the answer and fix are straightforward.
First, all hunter education classes in North Dakota are taught by volunteer instructors. These volunteers likely spend their time during the spring and summer fishing, camping or enjoying other activities. During winter into early spring, volunteer instructors traditionally teach most of the classes.
It makes sense. Even from a student’s perspective, spring, summer and fall would pose more conflicts. Plus, winter on the Northern Plains is better suited for spending time in a classroom or studying than during spring and summer when the last place you want to be is indoors.
To create a hunter education schedule more suitable for you, your son or daughter, I’d suggest becoming a volunteer instructor. What better way to give back to the hunting heritage, your community and allow you as the instructor to set the dates, time and place.
Before you disqualify yourself, remember the desire to teach overcomes any self-imposed limitations.
You don’t have to be a great hunter, expert marksman or have a teaching background. The yearning to help the next generation of safe hunters take the field is what matters. There’s a background check and training provided to help you teach students.
Brian Schaffer, Game and Fish Department hunter education coordinator, said new volunteers can help provide classes for your area.
“For the last 40-plus years, our hunter education program has been led by our volunteer instructors across the state,” he said. “And as any organization can see in recent years, we’re always looking for more volunteers and more people that are willing to share their knowledge and their passion for the resource and to pass that on to the next generation of hunters here in North Dakota.”
Understand that while larger communities may have several classes to pick and choose possible dates and times to work within a schedule, many North Dakota towns may have one each year. So, even if it’s not the best timing, it might be the only option until next year.
“The vast majority of our courses are offered from January through about the end of May as most of our volunteers have some off time during the winter months to teach hunter education,” Schaffer said. “Also, our deer lottery is held in June. So, if you are required to have it this year, we recommend you try and find a course before the end of the school year and the deer application deadline.”
The most effective way to find out when the next course is in your area is to sign up for email and text alerts on the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov .
I can’t stress enough if you, your son, daughter, neighbor, or grandchildren need hunter education and you’re unsure of class availability, become a volunteer instructor and help pass along the hunting legacy and heritage to the next generation.