Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hunter education

US Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident in which he shot and seriously injured another hunter has many thinking about firearms safety. Hunter education graduates nationwide have a significantly lower accident rate - up to 75% less in some states.

While hunter education was largely voluntary in the past, that is no longer the case. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website's hunter education page, "The Board of Game passed regulations requiring that hunters born after January 1, 1986 must be HE certified to legally hunt in units 7, 13, 14, 15 and 20 or be under the direct immediate supervision of an adult (16 years old and up) who is HE certified. In addition, Hunter Education certification is required before anyone may legally hunt in the following areas in Alaska: A) the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge and B) all army military lands. In Southeast Alaska, on the Mendenhall Wetlands near Juneau, hunters 15 years old or younger must have HE or be accompanied by an adult." These Game Management Units cover the Kenai Peninsula, the Nelchina Basin, Anchorage and the Mat/Su and the Fairbanks /Tanana Valley areas.

Many courses are taught in the Anchorage area throughout the year. Area biologists in various communities around the state can provide information on courses in their areas of responsibility.

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