Last year, hunter safety courses were moved online in order to help people get registered to hunt.  This year, they'll move back to in-person attendance again.

One thing that the pandemic did provide last year was a little more time to get into the woods.  People who hadn't been able to hunt for years, were able to get back out there to enjoy something that they didn't have much time before they were quarantined.

In an effort to make sure they could get as many hunters registered as possible, New York State decided to make "Hunter Safety Courses" available online.  According to WIVB, making them accessible that way was a contributing factor for a 12% increase in hunting and fishing license sales compared to the previous 12-month period.

But this year, it looks like they're going to give the option of "in-person" courses again.

“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, last year DEC successfully transitioned all of our hunter education courses online.

"I’m proud of the way our staff quickly pivoted, working with our contractor to offer online courses for new hunters and bowhunters, and I applaud their efforts to safely allow for resuming in-person instruction again in time for new hunters to pursue turkey this spring.” - DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos

If you have never hunted before, or if you have a young person who hopes to get out in the woods for the first time this year, they will need to complete one of these courses prior to purchasing a first-time hunting or trapping license.   They are available for hunter, bowhunter, trapper, and waterfowl hunter education.

They also encourage people not to wait until just before the hunting season to take a course. In-person courses fill quickly, so it is important to sign up early.

Online classes will still be available too.

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