Arkansas Hunter Education Program, which began in 1971, is mandatory for all hunters born after December 31, 1968 to hunt legally in the State of Arkansas. This program has been responsible for young hunters to learn the safety and sportsmanship expected of them to participate in the great sport of hunting in Arkansas. This program also introduces hunting students to several recreational opportunities with a wildlife oriented theme along with recreational shooting activities.
The Arkansas Hunter Education Program offers courses three different ways. Hunting students can elect to participate by classes that are instructor led in a traditional classroom setting either all day Saturday or three to four nights a week, or the student can elect to participate in an online self-study course, or the student may elect to participate with a CD-Rom Self-Study Course. Hunting students attending one of these types of courses will have the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will enable them to make the correct decisions affecting their lives as hunters. The knowledge to make informed decisions comes from topics covered, such as, wildlife management, hunter responsibilities, wildlife techniques, an introduction to tree stands along with safety, an introduction to firearms along with safety, an introduction to bow hunting along with safety and an introduction to muzzleloading and safety. First aide and survival are also among the topics covered at during these courses.
After completing one of the three courses, the hunter student will be required to attend and complete a field class before being awarded their certificate. The field class is the time that the students actually get hands on training. This hands on training will involve handling firearms, usually shotguns and rifles. Safety involving these firearms is a big portion of this training along with other aspects related to firearms such as ammunition, cleaning and properly storing them. Students can also expect to learn some aspects of hunting blinds, whether they are tree stands or other types of blinds.
Arkansas is one of the many states that has a large population of hunters. This has been true for generations and will likely be true for many generations to come. Even though hunting has been a popular sport in this state, there has been a need for these hunters to become more informed as to the dangers of hunting as well as other topics such as wildlife management, which can make a difference between a successful, accident free hunt or one that goes entirely wrong. If a hunt goes wrong, the outcome can be deadly. This is the outcome that the State of Arkansas is striving to prevent with programs such as this. The Arkansas Hunter Education Program does not take up a lot of time in any one’s life and does not require a huge amount of money to participate in, but the knowledge that is gained far outweighs any cost, especially if it prevents one hunter from missing next year’s season due to an accident that could have been avoided. For more information, go to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website.