Fall has officially arrived and with it, the big game hunting season! In Tennessee, big game hunting season begins on Sept. 22. If you’re thinking about taking your child or children out for their first hunt or want to begin teaching them about the benefits and dangers of hunting, the Tennessee Wildlife and Resource Agency, or TWRA, is ready to help!
Thanks to Tennessee’s Hunter Education requirements the number of hunting and firearm related accidents in the state has declined by reducing the number of hunting accidents and saving lives.
The basic Hunter Education class provides firearms safety training and introduces students to their responsibilities regarding hunter ethics and wildlife management. Children are not required to take the course until age 10, but 9-year-olds are allowed to take the class. Hunter Education is designed to give participants an education on the hunting sports but more importantly, how to safely handle a firearm while in the field. Hunter Education gets kids outdoors and teaches them to have a healthy respect for firearms and to be ethical hunters who respect the game.
The basic course is free of charge and consists of classroom time & a field day.
· A minimum of ten (10) hours of classroom participation. Most classes generally last 12-16 hours.
· Students must successfully pass a written test consisting of 100 multiple choice questions.
· Students must attend all classes.
· Students need to bring their Social Security Number and a #2 pencil to the class.
· In addition to the test, students must demonstrate how to handle a firearm safely and must participate in a live fire session in order to become certified. Traditional Field days typically last four hours.
The course is free (excluding the online course) to anyone interested in hunting regardless of age; however, you must be 9-years-old or older in order to become a certified hunter education graduate. Parents are encouraged to go through the course with their child. Find a hunter education course near you by clicking here.
What if you’re child isn’t ready to become a Hunter Education graduate? The TWRA has developed a new type of hunting license designed specifically for people who wish to take part in one of Tennessee’s many hunting opportunities. The agency’s Apprentice License will provide an exemption from Tennessee’s Hunter Education requirements for anyone ten years of age or older for a period of one year from the date of purchase. This license may be purchased consecutively for up to three years. Young hunters purchasing the Apprentice License must be accompanied by a person 21 years of age or older who is a Hunter Education graduate or is exempt from the Hunter Education requirements (born prior to 1969). This person must be able to take immediate control of the hunting device. The Apprentice License is valid only in Tennessee and will not exempt people hunting outside Tennessee from that state’s Hunter Education requirements.
How early is too early to expose your child to hunting?
While it is never too early to get your children outdoors, hunting requires a great amount of care and responsibility. Some children may be ready to be guided on a hunt before they are even required to have the Hunter Education class, while others may not be ready until much later. The TWRA believes the parent who hunts with his or her child is the best to gauge when their child is ready to be taken hunting and when they are ready to hunt on their own.
For young hunters and their families, hunting is a great activity that can be shared. Youngsters learn to be patient, and while waiting for animals they get to see nature up close and personal. Kids are the future of wildlife management and if they experience the hunt they can understand why it is important to protect those natural places and the animals that live there. Visit TWRA’s website by clicking here.