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MDC offers hunter education opportunities in West Plains

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The calendar may still say “winter,” but many people are starting to prepare for spring turkey season or other upcoming hunting opportunities.

For those who need to take a course in hunter education to enjoy firearms hunting opportunities this year, the Missouri Department of Conservation has several options available at the Ozarks Regional Office, 551 Joe Jones Blvd. in West Plains.

Anyone born on or 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. MDC offers two hunter education options: an all-online format and a blended format.

The all-online format 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, which is not MDC. The all-online option requires the passing of a final exam, but has no skills portion.

The blended format 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.

To register for other skills sessions or to learn more about Missouri’s hunter education program, 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. All COVID-19 protocols for Howell County will be followed at the upcoming classes. If participants are feeling ill on the day of their class, they should not attend. Class availability will also be limited due to smaller class sizes and limited availability of venues. Hand sanitizer will be available to participants, but masks will not be provided at the above-listed classes.

Hunters who are exempt from needing hunter education certification are those born before Jan. 1, 1967, those age 15 or younger who will be hunting with an adult mentor who is certified in hunter education, those with a disability exemption from MDC, those age 16 or older who have purchased an apprentice hunter authorization and will be hunting with a properly permitted and certified adult mentor, landowners hunting on land they own, and those who can prove completion of an approved hunter education course in another state

More information about MDC educational opportunities and programs in south-central Missouri can be obtained by calling MDC’s Ozark Regional Office at 417-256-7161 or going to mdc.mo.gov.

BREAKOUT SCHEDULE

Hunter education classes

- Feb. 11: 6-8:30 p.m., MDC Ozark Regional Office, register at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175716.

- March 25: 6-8:30 p.m., MDC Ozark Regional Office, register at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175717.

- April 1: 6-8:30 p.m., MDC Ozark Regional Office, register at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175718.

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