by Mark Chesnut - Tuesday, November 29, 2022
When the National Rifle Association introduced its free, award-winning online NRA Hunter Education course back in 2017 with the idea of making it easier for new hunters nationwide to become certified and head afield, many hunters and state wildlife agencies expected the program to be a great success. That expectation has certainly become reality as the NRA announced the program recently surpassed the 100,000-mark for hunters completing the course. And that number grows every day.
“One of the purposes and objectives of the NRA is to promote and support hunter safety in America,” said Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr., executive director of NRA General Operations. “This free, online course was developed to make it easier for new hunters to get into the field. We are thrilled with the partnerships we have fostered with state wildlife agencies across our nation and the more than 100,000 of our fellow hunters who have completed this no-cost program.”
Designed and provided by the organization that built the first-ever hunter education program in the United States in 1949, the free online NRA Hunter Education course offers a fresh and fully 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 ideal method for teaching aspiring hunters.
Through the course, it has never been easier for people to become a safer, more responsible hunter. With hunters of all ages in mind, the NRA has applied the latest systematic learning methodologies to design and develop an experience that allows new hunters to obtain and retain the skills needed to be safe, ethical and responsible members of the hunting community.
Offered at no charge, this course has saved American hunters approximately $2.5 million when compared to the fees associated with other online hunter education providers. For more good news, in 2019 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ruled that state wildlife agencies now may claim a dollar value of the NRA’s free online course as in-kind match dollars to access federal Pittman-Robertson (P-R) grant funds. States such as Florida and Oklahoma immediately grasped that funding option to benefit hunters and wildlife conservation programs in their states. Had every state wildlife agency that offers the NRA online course utilized that match opportunity, it would have resulted in more than $7 million going back to the state agencies for other hunter education programs and/or range building/improvement opportunities.
The NRA Hunter Education course is a giant step forward in bolstering states’ hunter recruitment efforts and the national NRA-backed R3 movement: recruitment, retention and reactivation. Since being launched in partnership with the state of Florida in 2017, the free course has been embraced in state after state, with the latest being Alabama earlier this fall. In meeting all hunters’ safety and education needs, the NRA also launched its free online Experienced Hunter Education course in 2020 for hunters who might need a refresher in hunter and firearm safety.
To learn more about the NRA and see if your state offers the NRA Hunter Education course online, click here.
About the Author
Freelance writer Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC in Jenks, Okla. An avid hunter, shooter and field-trialer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years, previously serving as editor of the NRA’s America’s First Freedom.
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