2013-09-27 / Community

Hunting License Courses Required

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today reminded all new hunters or trappers planning to go afield this upcoming hunting and trapping season that they must first complete a mandatory hunter or trapper education course before they can obtain the appropriate sporting license. Training in safe handling of firearms and hunting is a legal requirement for anyone hunting in New York.

DEC works closely with thousands of dedicated volunteers statewide to provide these training courses free of charge. However, courses often fill up quickly, so those interested should sign up for a class as soon as possible to be sure they complete it before going afield. This year, DEC is unveiling a new online registration system for prospective students.

“This new online registration system will greatly improve the student experience as they register for education courses,” Commissioner Martens said. “Viewing a list of all available sportsman education courses with the ability to search by date or the student’s proximity to course locations can be easily done. Students will now have the ability to do their registration from any device – smartphone, tablet, or computer.”

Reports on hunting-related shooting incidents indicate that 2012 had the lowest number on record in New York. According to DEC this has been accomplished through training and the safety related regulations.

DEC’s Sportsman Education Program is designed to teach and promote safe and effective hunting principles, practices and strategies.

The program has been extremely successful over its 60 years of existence. This is shown as the number of hunting-related shooting incidents has declined from 137 per year in the 1960s to only 30 per year in the 2010s.

The number of hunters is declining, but the hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) is falling much faster. Since the 1960s, the number of hunters has declined about 20 percent, while the incident rate has declined over 70 percent. The current 5-year-average is 4.8 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.

To locate a nearby hunter or trapper education class, visit DEC’s website and course list at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html or contact a local DEC regional office. For a list of regional offices and contact information, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9188.html. Website information will be updated regularly throughout the year.

Commissioner Martens also reminded New York sportsmen and sportswomen who hunt out-of-state to be sure to satisfy all the hunter education requirements of the destination state well in advance.

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