by Karen Mehall Phillips - Tuesday, October 18, 2022
The national “R3” movement to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters is making strides in the Cotton State this month as the NRA and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have teamed up to offer the NRA’s free, award-winning online hunter education course to new hunters statewide. Since its unveiling in 2017, the online NRA Hunter Education Course has provided hunter education at no charge to more than 100,000 students nationwide and comes at a particularly opportune time in light of the 8 million-plus new gun owners, hunters and shooters since the pandemic. Alabama joins 12 other states that accept the course as a prerequisite for getting a hunting license.
“The NRA is pleased to partner with the state of Alabama to offer no-cost hunter education to their residents, increasing the odds of new hunters entering the field,” said Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr., Executive Director of NRA General Operations. “We are proud of the relationships we have fostered with state wildlife agencies across the country, including with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. It is a team effort to promote and bolster hunter recruitment and we are grateful for the support from the state of Alabama.”
According to OutdoorAlabama.com, the state offers more than 1.3 million acres of public hunting land and some of the most liberal seasons and bag limits nationwide. Alabama hunters have an opportunity to hunt species including whitetail deer, wild turkey, feral hogs, bobwhite quail, waterfowl, rabbits, squirrel and mourning doves.
Looking forward to having her state tap into the opportunity for free online hunter education, Captain Marisa L. Futral, Hunter Education Coordinator for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said, “The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is excited to add NRA’s online hunter education course to our selection of online options. The NRA has a long history of working with hunter education programs and we are thrilled to partner with them in this worthwhile effort.”
As for that long history of education programs that Futral noted, it was the NRA that designed and provided America’s first-ever hunter education program in 1949 in conjunction with the state of New York, which ultimately led to hunter education being offered and required in all 50 states. Seven decades later, the NRA remains in the safety and training forefront, investing $3 million to create a free online hunter education course offering a fresh, comprehensive approach to hunter education. The 15-chapter online sequence features attention-grabbing videos, eye-catching graphics and diagrams, interactive modules, audio recordings and dozens of action photos presented in appealing, easy-to-access components that provide the best method for teaching future hunters lessons that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
In meeting hunters’ needs, online instruction means material is available 24/7 at students’ convenience and is offered free of charge, removing the sometimes-prohibitive cost barrier of traditional hunter education courses. This encourages new hunters to take the first step toward getting a hunting license while also making it easier for seasoned hunters to benefit from revisiting the material.
To take the free online NRA Hunter Education course or to learn more about how to get it approved for use in your state, click here.
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