ALBANY - All new hunters or trappers planning to go afield this upcoming hunting and trapping season must first complete a mandatory hunter or trapper education course.
Previously licensed hunters who plan to hunt out of state should also have their sportsman education certificates or previous licenses in hand as proof that they have completed the required course. All states accept New York's hunter education course, but states differ on what is required as proof of completion.
Sporting licenses went on sale Monday, Aug. 13. To purchase hunting or trapping licenses in New York, proof of a previous license or your original sportsman education certificate must be shown. If adequate proof cannot be shown, one may be required to take the course again to be recertified. Finding a course immediately prior to or during the hunting season will be difficult. With the Southern Zone bow season beginning Monday, Oct. 1 this year, September courses will be in high demand and those offered in October will be too late for those wishing to bow hunt the first part of the season.
New York sportsmen and sportswomen who travel out of state to hunt should be sure to satisfy all the requirements of the destination state well in advance. Some states require the original hunter education certificate, and getting a replacement can be time consuming if the original is misplaced. The New York State Sportsman Education Program has an extensive database from which replacement certificates can be issued if the course was taken in 1980 or after. Those unable to locate their original certificate, or cannot find a record of it, may be required to repeat a course. A previous hunting license cannot be used to reissue a certificate.
All first-time hunters, bowhunters and trappers must pass one or more courses before they can obtain a license in New York. Trained instructors, certified by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, teach safe and responsible outdoors practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in natural resource conservation. All courses are free of charge, but space may be limited.
To locate a nearby hunter or trapper education class, visits DEC's website and course list at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9191.html or contact a local DEC regional office. Courses can also be found listed in local papers, sporting goods stores and posters at gun clubs. For a list of regional offices and contact information, visit www.dec.ny.gov/about/558.html. The website information is updated regularly throughout the year.