The most successful hunt is a safe hunt, even if you didn’t bag that buck or squirrel. That’s why anyone born after January 1975 must complete a certified hunter education course before being allowed to buy a West Virginia hunting license. Hundreds of thousands of students have completed the course since its inception in 1968, and the number of fatal hunting incidents has fallen to nearly zero in recent years.

The course is free and takes about 12 hours to complete, so that’s why it’s important to get enrolled in a class now before the big game hunting seasons get into full swing.

The course is taught by West Virginia Natural Resources police officers and volunteer instructors in classroom settings across the state. Topics include gun safety, wildlife management, ethics, survival, first aid, game identification and others that will help you stay safe in the woods.

You can check for classes near you and register by visiting the DNR Hunter Education website. Or, if you are age 10 and older, you can take an online version of the test, available for a fee. The DNR website has several courses available, but all require a hands-on firearms safety demonstration and a written final exam by appointment at a DNR district office.

If you’ve already completed the course but need to replace your card, contact your local license agent, pick up an application for a duplicate card, complete it and mail it, along with a $10 check or money order, to one of the addresses listed on the application.

It’s learning and it’s fun, especially if you do it with family members and friends. You will enjoy listening to volunteer instructors and officers pass on their expertise and hunting experiences, talking with your fellow hunters during class breaks and getting familiar with the total hunting experience. Extra help is available for those who may need it.

Hunting Safety Begins with You!