Now is the time, and here is the link, to put in those permits for Limited Entry and Special Opportunity hunts. It’s also time, for some new hunters, to complete a hunter safety education course. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is announcing several dates and locations in the coming weeks. The FWC recommends taking these courses in the spring and summer, as classes in the fall can fill up quickly.
Who must pass the course? Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course before purchasing a Florida hunting license. Parents or legal guardians must accompany children under 16 years of age to all classes. To participate in live-fire exercises, children under 18 years old must present a parental release form signed by a parent or legal guardian.
Among the recent announcements are free courses in Jefferson (NW Florida) and Collier (SW Florida) counties.
The Collier Co. course will be held June 9 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and June 10 from 8 a.m. to noon. Attendance on both days is required for certification. Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC course on June 9. It does not have to be notarized.
Students will learn about hunting laws, safe gun handling and hunter ethics/responsibility, among other topics, before taking the final test. The course also includes live-firing instruction on a shooting range.
The class Saturday is at the North Naples Fire District facility, 1885 Veterans Park Drive, Naples, FL 34109.
Participants can sign up at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s South Region office at 561-625-5122. A link to the online part of the course and a statewide schedule of hunter safety classes are available at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.
In Jefferson County, the course will be held at the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center, 9194 S. Jefferson Highway, Monticello. Instruction is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 23 and 1 to 5 p.m. June 24.
Students who have taken the Internet course and wish to complete the classroom portion must bring the online-completion report and attend only the June 24 session from 1 to 5 p.m. Students are encouraged to bring a pencil and paper with them to take notes.
People interested in attending this course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling Hunter Safety Coordinator George Warthen at the FWC’s regional office in Panama City at 850-265-3676.
The FWC’s hunting outreach extends beyond the basics. The Commission is also hosting a free National Bowhunter Education Foundation bowhunting course on June 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Miami-Dade County.
Have you ever wondered how the hunter fits into modern-day conservation efforts? Do you want to learn how to handle a bow and arrow? These are just a couple of the instructional areas covered in the FWC’s bowhunting course.
The course will provide students with hands-on experience shooting a bow and arrow on the range. Students are encouraged to bring their own bowhunting equipment.
The course will be at Blessed Archery, 4980 NW 165th St., #A7, Miami Gardens, FL 33014.
Space is limited and reservations are required. Participants can make reservations at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety by selecting “Bowhunter Education” or by calling 561-625-5122. A statewide schedule of hunter safety classes is available at the same link.