Special youth hunting days in Utah are just two months away, and wildlife officials are encouraging first-time hunters to get their required hunter education training now.
On Sept. 22 — a week before the regular chukar and Hungarian partridge hunts begin — those 15 years of age and younger get a day all to themselves to hunt both species of partridge before the general hunts begin. A chance to hunt ducks and geese two weeks before the regular waterfowl hunt starts will likely happen on Sept. 22 as well.
However, young hunters must complete the state’s Hunter Education course in advance if they want to take advantage of any of the youth hunting days. With the start of the youth hunts about two months away, officials say now is the perfect time to take the course, which can take up to six weeks to finish.
Kirk Smith, assistant Hunter Education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said those who procrastinate might not have time to complete the course before the hunts happen.
“Save yourself the disappointment of missing out on some great memories and fun,” Smith said. “Sign up for a Hunter Education course now.”
Smith’s invitation is for adults, too. Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1965 must complete the course before hunting in Utah.
Hunter Education classes are held across state. In Northern Utah, most are held in Roy and Logan. You can see a class schedule and get contact information for the DWR’s volunteer Hunter Education instructors at http://go.usa.gov/W0s.
The DWR provides two ways to take the course: In a classroom or online.
Smith said each way has its advantages. The biggest advantage to the online course, he said, is its convenience.
“Young people are usually busy with lots of activities in the summer,” he said. “The online course provides a way to take the course at a time that works best for them.”
Taking the course online also allows the parents to sit by their children to make sure they understand what they’re learning. Young people can learn at their own speed and review the material as often as they want.
The online route also requires a minimum of five hours of hands-on training in the field.
Parents who don’t know much about hunting are encouraged to accompany their children to the classroom. The course requires a minimum of 12 hours in the classroom, consisting of one or two nights a week for three to six weeks.
“Trained volunteer instructors run the classroom courses,” Smith said. “The instructor should have answers to your child’s questions.”
Both the online and classroom courses require a shooting test in which young hunters show that they can safely handle a small-caliber rifle and shoot accurately.