Hunter Safety

California Gives Temporary Thumbs Up to Online Hunter Education

California will allow hunter safety to be completed online temporarily.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to nearly every facet of life across the country. All over the country, hunter safety programs have been put on hold because of the virus.

Now California is offering a reprieve for newer hunters that will ensure they will be able to head out for the first time during the fall 2020 seasons. The California Department of Fish and wildlife will temporarily allow people to complete the course entirely online.

The Department made the announcement of the news in a press release on their website earlier this week. This move will also allow newer hunters to apply for draw-only big game licenses before the June 2 deadline. Officials recommend completing the course before May 31. Sounds like a productive use of time while social distancing at home to us.

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"Online-only certification is a temporary solution to allow Californians the ability to fulfill their hunter education requirements and obtain a hunting license during these unique times," CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement David Bess said in the release.  "We don't want anyone to miss out on the chance to earn their certification before the fall hunting seasons, so we believe this is a reasonable solution, given the circumstances."

In addition to the regular classroom experience most people are familiar with, California was already offering an option for a hybrid class that combined an online course section with in-person training with a state certified instructor. This new announcement just waives the need for the in-person portion because all in-person classroom instruction has been suspended in California.

The CDFW is stressing that this move is only temporary, and that the face-to-face instruction portion will begin again once the state determines it is safe to resume.

"We value our 1,000 extremely dedicated volunteer instructors enormously, and we're anxious to see them back in front of students as soon as possible," Bess said.

The online course costs $24.95 and is available through the CDFW's website. The course has been designed specifically for new hunters who are at least 12 years old.

Successful completion of the online course will update each hunter's online license profile within two days and hunters also have the option of printing a certificate of completion that can be used to purchase a hunting license right away.

This is the first instance of a state making alternative arrangements for students to complete hunter education while the pandemic has things shut down. We will bring any updates on other states following suite here at Wide Open Spaces.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels