LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Before any Michigan hunter can pay for an animal tag, harvest their catch, or even consider taking their animal to a taxidermist, nearly everyone must complete a hunter education course.
In Michigan, anyone born on or after January 1, 1960 must present their hunter safety certificate or previous hunting license (other than an apprentice license) to purchase their licenses.
“The course covers such topics as: firearm safety, wildlife management, game care, survival, wildlife identification, first aid, hunter ethics and responsibility, bow hunting fundamentals and wildlife management,” said DNR Hunting Education Coordinator Doug Hermanson in an email to Michigan News Source.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers four different class types for completing the education requirement including: Traditional classroom-based course, online courses, interactive online course, and take home study course, though each requires an accompanying in-person field day.
“Students are offered options for learning in efforts to provide trainings in a continuously changing social landscape wherein Hunter Safety competes with other busy student schedules,” Hermanson also said in the email adding a previous option is no longer available. “Michigan no longer has an entirely online certificate option; that was temporary option during the pandemic.”
The traditional in-person course is taught by certified volunteer instructors and Michigan conservation officers. The class itself includes the following according to the DNR:
- In person, traditional classroom setting including hands on training.
- Minimum of 10 hours over a minimum of two days.
- Written test (80% or better to pass) and practice assessment (pass/fail).
- Maximum $10 fee.
- Students under age 10 must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other adult approved by parent or legal guardian.
In contrast, the online hunter education course is “a self-paced course completed online and includes electronic reading materials and videos,” according to the DNR, “Students must complete the online portion of the course prior to attending a field day.”
In addition to completing a hunter education course, a student completing the online course must still register for a field day and present a copy of the certificate of completion of the online course at the start of the field day.
Similarly, an interactive (online) class option is available and instead provides “a self-paced course that keeps students engaged through a variety of multimedia elements, such as animations and videos that put students in virtual real-life scenarios,” according to the DNR.
Like the former option, the student must complete an online portion prior to completing the field day component, and bring a copy of the completed course certificate to the field day.
Finally, there is a take-home study class option is available with the requirement that a student pre-register for a field day. This option provides a student manual to be read at home and requires that “students must pick-up the manual at least one week before the field day and complete all of the chapter reviews.”
For all of the students going through any of the class options must complete a field day component which includes according to the DNR:
- 4 hours minimum
- Written test (80% or better to pass) and practice assessment (pass/fail)
- Maximum $10 fee
- Students under age 10 must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other adult approved by parent or legal guardian
Hermanson also shared the importance of the in-person field day component.
“All students must be tested in person and students must demonstrate safe and responsible firearm/archery equipment handling practices,” he said in the email. “These proficiencies are both difficult to teach and to assess if not in-person.”
“The Hunter safety course is NOT the equivalent of specific gun safety course and does NOT meet the requirements for Concealed Weapons permits,” DNR Officials said in a statement.
In the case of a non-resident desiring to purchase a Michigan hunting license, they only need a valid hunter education safety certificate from another state.
According to Hermanson, there were 8,169 online students in 2022 of a total of 12,893 students certified.
The DNR lists its ongoing and upcoming hunting seasons here.