PGC: Minimum Age Lowered for Independent Study Program

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe announced that the agency is lowering the minimum age required for its “independent study” Hunter-Trapper Education Class to 11 years of age.

When first initiated in 2006, the Game Commission joined a nationwide trend among conservation agencies to provide quality hunter education on-line, but limited participating in the course to first-time hunters at least 17-years-of-age. On Sept. 1, the agency lowered the minimum age to 14.

“The concept of obtaining a license for first-time hunters by foregoing the traditional two-day or three-day course recognizes the time constraints of today’s world,” said Roe. “Distance learning meets the need of today’s changing world by accommodating busy lifestyles, and many young people are already demonstrating that they are able to learn course materials online.

“While hunting is recognized as an opportunity for families to spend quality time together, the actual process of obtaining a first-time hunting license is often the main impediment to people wanting to start out. Distance learning allows students to conveniently study at their own speed with a minimum amount of classroom time.”

Registration is available on-line at the Game Commission’s Web site by clicking on the “Hunter Education Classes” icon in the center of the homepage. After reading the instructions on how to register, click on the “Go to Calendar” button at the top of the page, and then scroll down and select an “Independent Study” class meeting your scheduling needs.

Once registered, the student is given the option of studying course material online or requesting a copy of a printed manual. Then, on a given date and time, students who completed the home-study portion of the course will spend time with a District Wildlife Conservation Officer to learn about the Game and Wildlife Code, hunting ethics and landowner relations. Students then take the certification test.

“Most students spend about eight to 10 hours completing the home-study portion of the course,” said Keith Snyder, Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief. “Independent study is an established concept used by many universities and other institutions of higher learning. The Game Commission believes our distance learning program provides a needed convenience to busy students.”

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