Oklahoma Hunter Safety

Deer hunting is popular in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma requires all hunters, with certain exceptions, to take an approved hunter education course to purchase a hunting license in the state. Oklahoma’s Department of Wildlife Conservation is responsible for conducting hunter safety courses. Oklahoma also accepts certificates of completion of hunter education course from all other states.

History

According to the Oklahoma State Game Warden’s Association, the wildlife population in the state was decimated by unregulated and market hunting during the 1800s. The first game warden was hired by the state in 1909, marking the beginning of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). The ODWC administers hunter safety education courses in the state and credits these courses with reducing hunting-related accidents and fatalities by more than 70 percent since 1980.

Types

The ODWC offers two types of hunter education courses. The regular course involves eight hours of classroom instruction followed by a test. A home study course is also available. The home study course typically requires between eight and 12 hours to complete the accompanying workbook. Hunters may complete the home study course online via the Internet. Once the home study portion has been completed, the hunter must still attend a four-hour class and take the test.

Children

Oklahoma regulations require all persons under the age of 36 years, with certain exemptions, to complete an approved hunter education course prior to purchasing a hunting license. Hunter education courses are available to all hunters of any age. The ODWC recommends that children under the age of 12 be accompanied by an adult. Parents are not allowed to assist their children with the test portion of the class.

Apprentice

Hunters may purchase an apprentice hunter’s license without completing a hunter education course. An apprentice hunter’s license allows the bearer to hunt big game as long as an appropriately licensed accompanying hunter remains close enough to take control of the firearm if necessary. An apprentice hunter‘s license allows the bearer to hunt small game as long as an appropriately licensed accompanying hunter remains within sight and close enough to communicate by voice.

Exemptions

Oklahoma regulations exempt certain classes of people from the requirement to pass a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license. These classes of people include people over the age of 36 years, active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces, members of the National Guard and prior service members of the U.S. armed forces who have been honorably discharged.