With the dog days of summer upon us, it’s hard to think about hunting.
But if you’re between the ages of 16 and 36, and haven’t yet taken the state’s hunter safety class – now’s just the time to be thinking about it. Many of these classes, offered statewide, fill up fast during hunting season while people scramble to get certified. Summer months offer smaller class sizes and offer a better opportunity for students to attend, because they often have more free time then. People 16 years old or older and born after May 31, 1975, must complete the FWC’s hunter safety requirement before they can buy a Florida hunting license. There is an exception though. A law passed a few years ago that allows individuals to hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter, 21 years old or older, without having to complete the state’s hunter safety certification.
It’s called the Hunter Safety Deferral License, and it allows those people who purchase one to hunt on a one-year trial basis. It’s designed to encourage experienced hunters to teach novice hunters about our sport and is a great incentive for getting more people to give hunting a try. Individuals taking advantage of this would have to pass a hunter safety class to be eligible to buy a license and hunt the following year. If you’re a youngster and already hunt, I suggest you go ahead and take a hunter safety class before you turn 16. Of course, until then, you may hunt under adult supervision. You can register for a hunter safety class by going to MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by contacting your nearest FWC regional office. Also, there are two versions for your convenience. There’s the traditional course, which is 12 hours of classroom instruction plus a four-hour “field day,” or you can opt for taking the online or CD-ROM version at home. But, you’ll still have to sign up for the “skills day” part. The traditional course is offered during four weekdays or on a Saturday-Sunday. If you take it during the week, each session is three hours and offered after normal working hours. On the weekend, you’ll spend eight hours Saturday and four hours Sunday morning in the classroom.
For more on this story, see the August 4 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.