The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host free hunter safety courses in the coming weeks, among them events in Hendry and Bay counties. Students will learn about hunting laws, safe gun handling and hunter ethics/responsibility, among other topics, before taking the final test. The courses also include live-firing instruction on a shooting range. The FWC recommends taking these courses in the spring and summer, as classes in the fall can fill up quickly.

The Hendry County course will be July 28 from 8 5 p.m. Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC course on July 28. It does not have to be notarized.

The class is at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Shooting Range between Clewiston and LaBelle, seven-tenths of a mile down Witt Road off of State Road 80, nine miles west of U.S. 27. Take the first road east of the Pioneer Shell Gas Station.

Participants can sign up at 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

The Bay County course is at Gulf Coast State College, in the second-floor lecture hall of the Student Union East building, 5230 W. U.S. 98 in Panama City. Instruction is from 6 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 7, 9, 14 and 16. The range portion of the class is Aug. 18, from 7 to 11 a.m.

Students who have taken the Internet course and wish to complete the classroom portion must bring the online-completion report and attend only the Aug. 7 and 18 sessions. People interested in attending this course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at or by calling Hunter Safety Coordinator George Warthen at the FWC’s regional office in Panama City at 850-265-3676.

An adult must accompany children under the age of 16 at all times. Students are encouraged to bring a pencil and paper with them to take notes.

The hunter safety course is required for people born on or after June 1, 1975, to purchase a Florida hunting license. The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

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