If you’re looking for a sustainable way to put food on your family’s table, now’s a perfect time to take up hunting. Here’s how to get started.

Complete a hunter education class

Before you can purchase a hunting license and legally hunt in West Virginia, you need to complete a hunter education class, which is a requirement for all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1975.

Click here to find a class near you.

The two day, 10-hour course is free and covers firearm safety, hunting ethics, first aid and conservation. A portion of the class can be completed online for a fee, but you still have to register for a written exam that must be completed in person.

What you need to know before you enroll

Online hunter education classes can be done on a computer or tablet in the comfort of your home. They’re offered by the following approved affiliates:

Whether you go through the class as a family or on your own, you’ll want to pay attention because you will have to take tests. Once you complete the course you’ll have to go through a hands-on firearm practical and pass a final exam to become fully certified in hunter education. This in-person component is required, cannot be done online and involves demonstrating safe and proper firearm use with a neutered gun and dummy ammo under the supervision of a DNR Law Enforcement officer or volunteer hunter education instructor.

Why everyone should take a hunter education class

Hunter education classes aren’t just for people who want to go hunting in West Virginia. They’re beneficial for people who want to understand hunting ethics or learn more about survival skills and how to be safe when handling a firearm.

Click here to read more about why you need to complete a hunter education course.

Even if you were born before Jan. 1, 1975 and aren’t required to take the class to purchase a hunting license in West Virginia, getting your hunter education certification is still beneficial because it will allow you to hunt in other states that may have different hunter education requirements.

To learn more about West Virginia’s hunter education program, click here.

And if you’ve already completed the course requirements but don’t have a hunting license don’t wait until the fall seasons to start. Buy your hunting license today.