UTAH, March 31, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is offering more information on how to become a hunter education instructor.
Utah began its local Hunter Education Program in 1957 because, at the time, the state had one of the highest rates of hunting incidents in the U.S., said a news release from the Utah DWR. That year, there were 165,081 licensed hunters in Utah, and a reported 126 hunting incidents, 22 of which ended in fatalities.
“The state of Utah implemented the Hunter Education Program in an effort to help decrease the number of hunting-related accidents,” Utah DWR Hunter Education Program Manager RaLynne Takeda said. “And those efforts have been very successful. Since the beginning of the program, hunting incidents in Utah have decreased drastically. In 2019, Utah had 448,271 licensed hunters, and only saw three hunting-related incidents and no fatalities.”
The majority of the instructors who teach hunter education in Utah are volunteers, rather than DWR employees. Since the program was launched, there have been roughly 2,500 volunteer instructors. There are currently 342 instructors teaching hunter education across the state.
Anyone interested in becoming a hunter education instructor can apply on the DWR website. You must pass a background check, complete an online training course and attend an in-person training session with the DWR. Instructors are required to teach at least one hunter education class each year and can pick the location and dates for the course.
You are required to take a training course every two years and pass a background check every five years to remain an active hunter education instructor.
“In these hunter education classes, instructors can share their skills, including their expertise and love of the outdoors, firearm safety and marksmanship, among other things,” Takeda said. “They have the incredible opportunity to pass their outdoor knowledge and skills on to others. They can instill their love of hunting and appreciation for wildlife in someone else. That’s a pretty unique experience. And, as an added benefit, some retailers and manufacturers offer discounts to hunter education instructors.”
Due to COVID-19, the DWR has temporarily postponed all instructor-led, in-person courses until further notice, and is just offering online courses. The field-day exercise is also temporarily being offered virtually, although some small, field-day exercises are still being offered in person.
To hunt in Utah, everyone born after Dec. 31, 1965, must complete a state-offered hunter education class or participate in the Trial Hunting Program. Find more information about the programs by visiting the DWR website.