HARRISBURG – With the spring gobbler season set to open in April, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe is reminding all first-time license buyers to make plans to attend a Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) course now.
To register for a course in your area, visit the Game Commission’s Web site, select the “Hunter Education Classes” icon in the center of the homepage, and then follow the instructions.
“Right now, Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers, Deputy WCOs and volunteer HTE instructors are meeting to schedule courses, review curriculum updates and prepare for this year,” Roe said. “From there, course schedules are provided to our Region Offices and the information is posted on the agency’s website for students to choose and enroll in courses.”
With the support of thousands of volunteers, HTE courses are being held throughout the state. There is no fee for the basic HTE course. Pre-registration is required for many classes, so contact information is provided. Online registration also is available for most courses offered by the agency.
Taught by dedicated teams of trained volunteers, most HTE classes last at least 10 hours over two or more days, and participants must attend all instruction before taking the test at the end of the course. Youngsters must be at least 11 years old to receive HTE certification.
Successful completion of a basic Pennsylvania HTE class, or another state’s equivalent course, is required by state law to obtain a first-time hunting or furtaker license, regardless of age.
Registrations also are being accepted for the independent study version of the basic HTE program, which is available for those 11 years of age or older. A fee of $1.59 may apply if applicants order a printed copy of the study manual, which also is available online free of charge.
In addition, registrations are being accepted for two other educational programs offered by the Game Commission, “Successful Bowhunting!” and “Cable Restraint Certification.”
The Successful Bowhunting course is a one-day voluntary training program for those seeking to expand their skills and knowledge of bowhunting. While voluntary in Pennsylvania, certification for this course may be required by other states. The course fee is $18, and students will get to keep the independent study materials provided as part of the course.
The Cable Restraint Certification course is required for those trappers seeking to participate in the annual trapping season in which cable restraints are used to capture coyotes and foxes. The course fee is $15, and students will get to keep various education materials and one legal cable restraint provided as part of the course.
In 1959, the Game Commission began offering a voluntary hunter safety program, and about 25,000 students participated in that program annually. Beginning in 1969, the General Assembly required all first-time hunting license buyers under the age of 16 to successfully complete a four-hour hunter education course. The course requirement was expanded to six hours in 1977. The program became mandatory for all first-time hunting license buyers regardless of age in 1982.
Finally, in 1986, the safety program was increased to 10 hours of class time and trapper training was included. The name of the program also was changed to Hunter-Trapper Education, and was required for all first-time furtaker license buyers, too.
Since 1959, more than 1.8 million students have been certified through this course.