MDC: avoid the late fall rush and take hunter education now

News from the region
Saint Louis
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St. Louis, Mo. – Would you think of driving a car without a driving lesson? Or sky dive without learning how to operate your parachute? Then why would you carry a firearm afield without a hunter safety class.

They may seem eons away during the heat of summer, but fall hunting seasons begin in less than a month—and waterfowl and firearms deer seasons are not far behind. Now is a good time to take a Hunter Education Course and become hunter-education certified through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Missouri's Hunter Education Course is required for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, and buys a firearms season hunting permit, or any person age 11 to 15 who hunts alone. The course teaches about firearms, safety, skills and ethics.

Missouri is a great place to hunt. Hunter education helps make it a safe place to hunt. Since becoming mandatory in 1987, hunter education has reduced hunting incidents and deaths by more than 70 percent. Taking it might make the difference between enjoying a safe and satisfying hunting experience—and becoming an unfortunate statistic.

MDC encourages hunters to take hunter education as soon as possible and avoid the frustration of trying to sign up for a course right before firearms deer season, only to find all of them full.

MDC provides several ways to become hunter education certified. The course is divided into a knowledge section and a skills session that includes an exam. Both the knowledge and skills portion must be completed to become certified.

An online program is one option for completing the knowledge section, which can be done from anywhere with computer and internet access. Participants must complete all chapter reviews online to take the skills session. The cost for those who complete the course and pass the exam is $15. Participants can also obtain study guides for free at MDC offices or by ordering them online. They must present completed chapter reviews in the study guide to instructors at the skills session.

For those preferring a traditional, in-person educational approach, MDC also offers a free, four-hour classroom session to satisfy hunter knowledge requirements. This includes lectures, videos and filling out chapter reviews.

Missouri Hunter Education Courses are offered at varying dates at MDC facilities, as well as at conservation partner locations throughout the St. Louis region, which includes the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, Franklin, Jefferson, Crawford and Washington. The skills sessions are offered at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles, and the Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in High Ridge, as well as other sites in the region. These include hands-on safety demonstrations and exams.

Hunter education certification classes and skills sessions often fill up early. The skills sessions require advance registration.

MDC's Hunter Education Course has a webpage that will lead to links to use the online study guide, to order printed study guides, to find class schedules, to find outdoor skills sessions, or to register for a session. Visit

Even though not required for hunters born before Jan. 1, 1967, MDC recommends that all hunters become hunter-education certified. It's a great refresher for hunting veterans, and provides training that can make participants more successful as hunters. For more information, visit