The calendar may still say “summer,” but many people are starting to prepare for this fall’s hunting seasons. If taking hunter education is one of the things you need to do to enjoy firearms hunting opportunities this year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has several options available.
Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1967 hunting in Missouri during a firearms season or acting as an adult mentor to another hunter must have hunter education certification unless exempt (see exemptions listed below). MDC offers two hunter education options; an all-online format and a blended format.
The all-online format is an option that may be completed by Missouri residents age 16 and older. It consists of an online course and requires a fee paid to the online course provider (not MDC). The all-online option requires the passing of a final exam, but has no skills portion.
The blended format is an option for students of all ages and has two parts. The knowledge portion provides information to participants on all aspects of hunter education and can be taken online, through a free self-study guide, or in a classroom setting. Participants must also complete a four-hour skills session that includes a multiple-choice final exam. The skills portion is a hands-on demonstration of skills learned by participants. Participants must complete and pass both portions to earn certification.
For individuals participating in the blended format, here is a list of skills sessions coming up in southeast Missouri:
• Aug. 15 – Marble Hill United Methodist Church, 300 Missouri Highway 34 (Bollinger County)
• Aug. 22 – Bloomfield Assembly Church, 20034 Missouri Highway E (Stoddard County)
• Aug. 22 – Ste. Genevieve VFW, 852 Memorial Drive (Ste. Genevieve County)
• Aug. 28, Elm Street Baptist Church, 2668 North Highway 105, Charleston (Mississippi County)
• Aug. 31 – Poplar Bluff Junior High School, 550 N. Westwood Blvd. (Butler County)
• Sept. 8 – Black River Electric, 2600 U.S. Highway 67, Fredericktown (Madison County)
• Sept. 11 – Arcadia Valley R-11 School, 750 W. Park, Ironton (Iron County)
• Sept. 19 – Scott City First Assembly of God Church, 312 Dearborn St. (Scott County)
• Sept. 24 – Bill Emerson Memorial Visitor Center Pavilion, Wappapello Lake, 10276 Missouri Highway T (Wayne County)
• Sept. 25 – Perryville Elks Lodge, 921 N. Perryville Blvd. (Perry County)
• Sept. 26 – MDC Ellington Office, 2929 Reynolds County Road 618 (Reynolds County)
• Oct. 2 – Rice Lecture Hall, Mineral Area College, 5270 Flat River Road, Park Hills (St. Francois County)
• Oct. 3 – New Madrid Baptist Church, 1420 Scott St. (New Madrid County)
• Oct. 10 – Malden High School, 505 W. Burkhart St. (Dunklin County)
• Oct. 10 – MDC Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive (Cape Girardeau County)
• Oct. 24 – Diane Sayre Recreation Center, 1500 S. Truman Blvd. Caruthersville (Pemiscot County)
To register for one of these skills session or to learn more about Missouri's hunter education options and requirements, visit mdc.mo.gov/huntereducation.
To help keep participants, instructors, and others safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, MDC will limit in-person class sizes to small numbers so social distancing can be practiced. Class availability will also be limited due to smaller class sizes and limited availability of venues. MDC will abide by applicable local health requirements and strongly encourages participants to bring and wear masks. Hand sanitizer will be available to participants, but masks will not be provided by at the above-listed classes.
“To help staff, volunteers, program participants, and others stay safe, MDC has changed the format and structure of some of our programs, including hunter education,” said MDC Hunter Education and Shooting Range Coordinator Justin McGuire. “Opportunities to attend an in-person hunter education class or skills session are available, but limited, at this time. MDC still offers ample opportunities for people to legally hunt in Missouri through youth exemptions, our apprentice hunter education authorization, and online hunter education.”
Exemptions to Missouri’s hunter education requirements are:
• Hunters born before Jan. 1, 1967
• Hunters age 15 or younger who will be hunting with an adult mentor age 18 years or older who is certified in hunter education.
• Hunters with a disability exemption from MDC
• Hunters age 16 or older who have purchased an apprentice hunter authorization and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor age 18 or older
• Hunters who are landowners hunting on land they own.
• Hunters who can prove completion of an approved hunter education course in another state
More information about hunter education opportunities in southeast Missouri can be obtained by calling MDC’s Southeast Regional Office at 573-290-5730 or going to mdc.mo.gov.