by Phil Phillips - Monday, January 22, 2018
Here’s another great example of the fantastic work the NRA is doing for hunting and hunters. You probably haven’t heard that in August 2017 the NRA launched its free online hunter education course, NRAHE.org, in Florida, in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Since then, Oregon has gone live and as of today, Jan. 22, the course will go live in Connecticut. For more good news, by Feb. 12 it will be live in Texas, which to me is a very big deal. As we know, Texas remains one of the most pro-hunting states in the Union so for Texas to adopt the program early on says a lot for the quality of the course. The NRA’s goal is to be in all 50 states within five years. From the early momentum, I would not be surprised for the NRA to beat that goal.
“We are excited that Oregon and now Connecticut have joined the NRA Hunter Education family,” said Peter Churchbourne, Director of NRA Hunter Services. “By allowing our course to be offered, all of the residents in these states have access to the best online hunter education for free. We hope all states follow that path so every U.S. citizen can take advantage of this opportunity.”
As for why I think the NRA Hunter Education Course is so important, in today’s busy world both parents work. It’s tougher than ever to find the time to set aside a weekend or even a full day to go somewhere to take a hunter education course, especially when they are available on limited dates.
Spearheading hunter education is nothing new for the NRA. In case you are not aware, it was the NRA that worked with the state of New York in 1949 to develop America’s first ever state-based hunter education course. Other states quickly adopted it and the rest is history. In fact, years ago our hunter education cards actually read, “NRA Hunter safety.”
Creating a free online course was the natural next step for the NRA and one that could go far in recruiting new hunters. In 2015, Churchbourne and his staff began examining current hunter education courses, including state agency/DNR-based programs as well as those offered by businesses that charged a fee. The conclusion: Hunter education programs in general were not engaging, were available on limited dates and could run up to $29.99 per person. The answer: Offer an online course for free that met every state’s specific requirements so it could be approved for use in all 50 states.
In step with International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) curriculum guidelines, the NRA course consists of 15 online chapters featuring the relatively new science of Instructional Design to present material. Each chapter ends with a series of questions. At the end, students take a test requiring a score of 80 percent or higher to pass. The entire online course takes roughly five to eight hours. After completion, many state DNRs require a “field day” to test firearm proficiency before students receive their hunter education certification.
To me it’s obvious why the NRA is the No. 1 hunters' organization in America. The free online hunter education course is just one of numerous safety, education and training opportunities the NRA provides to the hunting community. For more information on this course and to learn how to help it be adopted in your state, call 800-492-4868 or email [email protected].
Why Every Hunter Should Be an NRA Member
No organization is on the front lines fighting for American hunters like the NRA. I was barely out of high school when I scraped together the money to buy my annual membership 30 years ago. Though back then I was only hunting with a bow and remain primarily a bowhunter, I certainly enjoyed owning and shooting my firearms. I was quick to tell the guys at my archery club why they needed to join, too, and soon upgraded to a Life membership. The message here was that if anti-gunners were ever able to restrict our firearm rights, our hunting rights would be next. What most hunters don’t realize still today is how much the NRA has done to protect hunting rights, not just locally and federally but also internationally.
So as an NRA Life member, I’m proud to support the NRA, which is there for every American hunter—NRA members and non-members alike—working for the collective hunting community. Not only is the NRA Institute for Legislative Action defending hunters and hunting and addressing the threats to hunting’s future 24/7, but NRA Hunter Services is there to make sure we hunters have the landmark hunter safety, education and training programs available to help us remain safe, skilled and responsible sportsmen in the field. To join the NRA, call 800-672-3888 or visit nra.org. If you’re already a member, sign up a friend.
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