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Hunter education courses offered in northwest Montana

by The Western News
| February 27, 2024 7:00 AM

Hunter Education classes and Trapper Education field days are open to registration in several locations in northwest Montana this spring. 

All in-person classes are free. Students must be at least 10 years old to take a Hunter Education class. 

The following Hunter Education classroom classes are currently scheduled in northwest Montana:

- Plains - starts Feb. 26

- Somers - starts March 8

- Whitefish - starts March 11

- Eureka - starts March 12

- Bigfork - starts March 20

- Pablo - starts March 26

- Columbia Falls - starts April 1

- Thompson Falls - starts April 8

- Kalispell - starts April 12

To sign up for a class or find others across the state, visit https://fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter-education.

Students ages 12 through 17 who take hunter or bowhunter education online will also be required to pass an in-person field day. Field days for online students in northwest Montana will be scheduled later this year.

Hunter, bowhunter and trapper education classes are taught by skilled volunteer instructors, offering hands-on learning experiences and opportunities for students to ask questions of experienced instructors. 

Students learn how to handle firearms and archery equipment safely, basic survival skills, hunting ethics, wildlife management, game identification, landowner-hunter relations and Montana hunting laws and regulations.

Montana law requires that anyone born after Jan. 1, 1985, complete a Hunter Education class or qualify as a youth apprentice hunter before purchasing a Montana hunting license. All first-time bowhunters must complete a Bowhunter Education course or show proof of a prior year’s archery license from another state or province.

Bowhunter education classes will be offered across northwest Montana in the coming months and posted online at https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/education/bowhunter. Students must be at least 11 years old to take a Bowhunter Education class.

Trapper Education

There are three Trapper Education field days open to registration currently. Field days are scheduled in the following locations:

- Great Falls - April 27

- Kalispell - April 27

- Missoula - May 11

To sign up for a free Trapper Education field day, visit https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/education/trapping.

To purchase a Montana resident Class C trapping license, residents must complete a Montana trapper education course or have purchased a trapping license in at least three prior years (in Montana or another state).

Residents must be at least 12-years-old to purchase a Class C trapping license. Youth 6-11 years old, must purchase a Class C-3 trapping license and are exempt from the requirement to take trapper education and are limited to what animals they can trap.

The course consists of an online component, an in-person field day, and written test. The online component must be completed prior to the field day. The general trapper education course also satisfies the Montana wolf trapper education requirement.

Become an Instructor

The heart of Montana’s Hunter, Bowhunter and Trapper education programs is the corps of dedicated volunteer instructors. They stand as examples of how each hunter and trapper should demonstrate ethics, behavior and responsibility to themselves, landowners, other hunters and the resource.

These instructors choose to honor Montana’s outdoor traditions and “Pass it On” by sharing their skills, experiences and their love of hunting and Montana’s vast resources with those new to hunting and the outdoor adventure.

If you are interested in becoming an instructor, visit https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/education/volunteer-instructors.