by Brian McCombie - Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Tribal members of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS) can now use the National Rifle Association’s free and award-winning online NRA Hunter Education course. NAFWS is the latest organization to add the NRA’s online hunter education option, and the NRA continues in its efforts to make the course available to hunters in all 50 states.
Since the inception of the program in 2017, the NRA has provided nearly 150,000 students with this online hunter education course—at zero cost. At the same time, this online course is an important means of generating interest in hunting and in increasing the number of new hunters and new shooters across the country.
NAFWS is a national tribal organization incorporated in 1983. The NAFWS mission is to develop a national communications network for the exchange of information and management techniques related to self-determined tribal fish and wildlife management.
“We express our gratitude to the National Rifle Association for extending their free online hunter education program to our individual and Tribal members of NAFWS,” said Don Reiter, NAFWS president. “This significant step forward not only enhances Tribal hunting sovereignty but also acknowledges the importance of recognizing and supporting Native American hunters."
“The NRA developed this free online course with one main goal in mind: to make it easier for new hunters to get into the field,” said Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr., Executive Director of NRA General Operations. “We are pleased to partner with the NAFWS to bring this no-cost program to all their tribal members. The NRA has been and will continue to be the leader in providing the very best hunter education and training in the country.”
NAFWS joins Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia as states that accept NRA Hunter Education as a prerequisite for receiving a hunting license. The NAFWS NRA Hunter Education online course can be accessed at www.TRIBESHE.org.
Launched in Florida in 2017, the NRA Online Hunter Education Course is a 15-chapter, online sequence featuring attention-grabbing videos, eye-catching graphics and diagrams, interactive modules, and audio recordings, plus dozens of action photos. These appealing and easy-to-access components provide the best method for teaching future hunters lessons they will remember for the rest of their lives.
All this comprehensive instruction is available at students’ fingertips, whenever and wherever they are able to complete it. And as the coursework is free of charge, the NRA Hunter Education program removes the sometimes-prohibitive cost barrier of other online hunter ed courses.
Of course, the NRA is no stranger to educating people about safe hunting and firearm safety, as well as wildlife conservation. In 1949, the state of New York decided to mandate a hunter education and safety course for new hunters. It was a great idea. The only problem? No such course existed. So, New York officials solicited help from the one organization that knew the most about firearms, firearm safety and hunting: the NRA. Other states soon adopted the course, along with the NRA’s “NRA Hunter Safety Handbook,” and issued hunter education cards that read “NRA Hunter Safety.”
Not only is the NRA Hunter Education course free and extremely easy to access and use. The course also counts toward matching federal Pittman-Robertson (P-R) conservation funds so important to the conservation work done by state wildlife agencies. After a good deal of back and forth, the NRA and state game agencies convinced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2019 to allow state wildlife agencies to claim a dollar value of the NRA’s Free Online Hunter Education Course as an in-kind dollar match to access federal P-R grant funds.
The move marked a major win for state wildlife agencies, which rely on the P-R dollars administered by the USFWS’ Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Division for their fish and wildlife conservation programs. Allowing the in-kind match was also a giant step forward in bolstering states’ hunter recruitment efforts and the national NRA-backed R3 (Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation) movement.
All of which means that the NRA’s free online Hunter Education Course is a huge plus for hunters and hunter recruitment, for state game agencies and the NAFWS, and for wildlife conservation.
To take the NRA Hunter Education online course or learn more, visit NRAHE.org.
About the Author
NRAHLF.org contributor Brian McCombie is a field editor for the NRA’s American Hunter and writes about firearms and gear for the NRA’s Shooting Illustrated. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Brian enjoys hunting hogs, shooting 1911s, watching the Chicago Bears and relaxing with his two cats, Peanut Morgan and MikaBear.
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