The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is partnering with the National Rifle Association to offer an online hunter education course to Oklahomans. The course replaces the Wildlife Department's previously offered online course. 

"This free course from the NRA will allow us to maintain high quality hunter education training at no cost to the Wildlife Department or our hunters,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Wildlife Department.

The free hunter education course is available online on the Wildlife Department's website at www.wildlifedepartment.com/education. The same webpage also provides a schedule of classroom-taught hunter education courses led by certified instructors at locations across the state. 

Hunter education topics include firearms safety, wildlife conservation and identification, safe archery and more. The classes help people become safe, legal and ethical hunters. The course is required for most hunters ages 10-30 who wish to hunt without a mentor present.

"We've always tried to make classes convenient for our hunters," Meek said. “The online class is great because it allows students to take the course at their own pace, even over the course of several days.”

The online course also offers young students the benefit of involving parents in learning about safe hunting. "I love the idea of the kids sitting down with their parents to work through the hunter safety curriculum," Meek said. "Parents or mentors are a critical part of the process of becoming a hunter."

On the other hand, Meek said the in-class courses held throughout the state are a great opportunity to learn about hunting from a certified instructor in a structured setting.

Any Oklahoma resident 10 or older may complete the online course and print a hunter education certification card upon completion of the online final exam. Youths 9 and younger may take the course for knowledge but are not eligible for certification; instead, these youths may buy an apprentice-designated hunting license. Apprentice-designated licenses also may be used by anyone 30 or younger. Hunter education certification is not required for anyone 31 or older in Oklahoma.