HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said the agency is scheduling more basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) courses for September and October so all new hunters can complete this mandatory course to be eligible to participate in the upcoming fall hunting seasons.
"With the fall seasons fast approaching, time soon will run out for those who have not yet passed a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course, which is mandatory for all first-time license buyers, regardless of age," Roe said. "While we have been holding courses all summer, we have found that some people wait until autumn is officially here to begin making plans for the hunting seasons. To meet this need, we are scheduling additional courses throughout the state, so now is the time to register for a course."
To register for a course in your area, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on the "Hunter Education Classes" icon in the center of the homepage and then click on either "Hunter-Trapper Education" or "Hunter-Trapper Education Independent Study."
With the support of thousands of volunteers, HTE courses are being held throughout the state. There is no fee for the basic HTE course. Pre-registration is required and online registration is available for all courses offered by the agency.
Taught by dedicated teams of trained volunteers, most HTE classes last at least 10 hours over two or more days, and participants must attend all instruction before taking the test at the end of the course. Youngsters must be at least 11 years old to receive HTE certification.
Successful completion of a basic Pennsylvania HTE class, or another state's equivalent course, is required by state law to obtain a first-time hunting or furtaker license, regardless of age.
Registrations also are being accepted for the independent-study version of the basic HTE program, which is available for those 11 years of age or older. The independent study course requires students to attend a two- to three-hour class to be tested and certified. Prior to this classroom test, however, students must study the entire course content on their own, which takes about eight to 10 hours to complete. Study guides are available online from the registration page or, to request a print version of "Today's Hunter & Trapper in Pennsylvania," call the Hunter-Trapper Education Division (717-787-7015) to request a study guide be mailed to you. There is a $1.59 postage fee (plus sales tax) for mailed study guides.
In addition, registrations are being accepted for other educational programs offered by the Game Commission, including Successful Bowhunting, Successful Furtaking and Cable Restraint Certification.
The Successful Bowhunting course is a one-day voluntary training program for those seeking to expand their skills and knowledge of bowhunting. While voluntary in Pennsylvania, certification for this course may be required by other states. There is a $20 course fee, which covers the cost of the online study course required before attending the class.
Successful Furtaking is a one-day training program that provides extensive hands-on training to new and experienced furtakers. The course promotes Best Management Practices and is designed for any person seeking to learn more about furtaking and to improve his or her skills and success. The course includes the cable restraint certification that is required to participate in the cable restraint season for foxes and coyotes. This course also fulfills the requirement that all first-time furtaker license buyers pass a basic trapper education course. A $15 course fee is charged.
The Cable Restraint Certification course is required for those trappers seeking to participate in the annual trapping season in which cable restraints are used to capture coyotes and foxes. The course fee is $15, and students will get to keep various education materials and one legal cable restraint provided as part of the course.
The Successful Turkey Hunting course, which is designed to provide the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in both spring and fall seasons, also is available to give first-time hunters a huge step toward bagging a bird. Veterans will learn methods and techniques that will make them a better hunter, too. Students will receive a 140-page student guide and a diaphragm turkey call as part of the program. Classes will start next spring and continue through the summer and early fall. A $15 fee is being charged to offset costs.
"We are planning to offer additional advanced courses in the future focusing on specific sporting arms and certain species-specific seasons, such as Successful Muzzleloading and Successful Deer Hunting," Snyder said. "We will be working with interested groups of sportsmen specializing in each of the areas to develop curriculum and solid hands-on training that will emphasize methods and techniques."
In 1959, the Game Commission began offering a voluntary hunter safety program, and about 25,000 students participated in that program annually. Beginning in 1969, the General Assembly required all first-time hunting license buyers under the age of 16 to successfully complete a four-hour hunter education course. The course requirement was expanded to six hours in 1977. The program became mandatory for all first-time hunting license buyers regardless of age in 1982.
Finally, in 1986, the safety program was increased to 10 hours of class time and trapper training was included. The name of the program also was changed to Hunter-Trapper Education, and was required for all first-time furtaker license buyers, too.
Since 1959, more than 1.8 million students have been certified through this course.
GAME COMMISSION RECRUITING HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTORS
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is looking for experienced hunters and trappers who are interested in becoming volunteer instructors for the agency's basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE), Successful Bowhunting, Successful Furtaking and Successful Turkey Hunting courses, as well as future courses under consideration.
"Becoming a volunteer instructor for the Game Commission is one way experienced hunters and trappers can help pass along our outdoors heritage to a new generation," said Keith Snyder, Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief. "Becoming an instructor also is a fine way to help make a difference in your community and to do something to help improve the quality of our education and safety programs.
"If you're an experienced hunter or trapper, and want to give something back, I encourage you to become a certified instructor for one or all of the agency's education programs. Quality training is vitally important to ensuring these new, young hunters and trappers are both safe and responsible."
Persons who wish to become instructors should be knowledgeable, experienced hunters and trappers, and be willing to teach at least one class per year. Classes are held at a variety of locations, such as sportsmen's clubs, fire halls, schools and municipal buildings.
Instructors work with other volunteer instructors, WCOs and Deputy WCOs to plan and teach classes. Applicants need not be experts in every field of hunting and trapping. All teaching materials and detailed lesson plans are provided by the Game Commission.
All new instructors must have attended and completed a class, as a student, within the 18 months prior to or after submitting their application. Also, applicants must pass a background check, assist with at least one student-level class and attend a new instructor training workshop before being certified.
For more information about becoming an instructor, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and select "Education," then choose "Hunter Education" and then click on "Becoming an Instructor." Individuals also can request an application packet online or by calling the agency's Hunter-Trapper Education Division at 717-787-7015.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission