WV Wildlife: Hunter's Education Course

Lieutenant Ed Goodson, a West Virginia Natural Resources police officer, demonstrates how easy it is to sign up for a Hunter's Education course. (WCHS/WVAH)

Lieutenant Ed Goodson, a Natural Resources Police Officer, has been teaching hunters education for a while now.

While the learning points have mostly remained the same, the way you can take the test has changed some.

"Two different types--you have the hands on written for your online delivery. You can take it online, there's four different providers there. You do it at home--at your own leisure--print off that certificate and you still have to come see us, but I always try to push the traditional class", explains Goodson.

The online option, which is easy to find on the West Virginia DNR’s website, may be more convenient--but Lt. Goodson still thinks the traditional 10 hour classes are best, especially for young hunters.

"You're going to get more information from a volunteer instructor--from an officer--teaching these courses than you would sitting at the house clicking a mouse button. It’s much more hands on because you have that interaction with an instructor", said Goodson.

The importance of that hands on learning, especially when using a gun, simply can't be overlooked.

Regardless of which way you decide, you only have to complete this course once in your lifetime before purchasing a hunting license each year.

"If you were born after 1975, you are required to take hunter education--an approved, certified hunter education course. As long as you get one hunter class completed and get your hunter ed card, you’re done", said Goodson.

Lt. Goodson also says that these classes have made the sport a lot safer. He's even heard several parents and grandparents--who have hunted most of their lives--say they've learned more after taking their kids to these classes.

"That's the reason for hunter education--the hunting incidents, because we have to investigate all hunting incidents. All those have decreased because of hunter education. We're just trying to make it as simple as possible. The link is there--you just enter some information and attend the class. You don't have to search all over creation for one--it's right there", said Goodson.

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