Hunter safety education a must

Written on 04/06/2024
Bud Fields, Outdoors with Bud

The Indiana Hunter Safety Education Program was adopted back in 1975. It has grown into a program that reaches thousands of youth and adults each year. The program is designed to benefit inexperienced hunters, regardless of age, as well as serve as a refresher course for experienced hunters.

The course is taught by local conservation officers and volunteer instructors. It teaches the basics of firearms and hunter safety, mechanics of firearm and archery equipment use, wildlife and natural resource conservation and management, ethics and responsibility, and a variety of similar topics related to hunting. While the program does not teach you how to hunt, it enables you to learn basic safety techniques to prevent accidents while still enjoying the sport.

Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986, must successfully complete a hunter safety education course before purchasing an Indiana hunting license. Many other states require hunter education verification cards to purchase an out-of-state hunting license. Indiana’s course is honored in all states. Indiana Hunter Safety Education classes are free.

The classes are a minimum of 10 hours, and most classes are longer. You are encouraged to find a class that is spread over several days for youth and inexperienced hunters.

The Department of Natural Resources offers hunter education courses in counties throughout the state. These are available to only Indiana residents. Hunters 11 years old and under must be accompanied by a parent/guardian during every session. To find classes in your area, visit Indiana or contact: Hunter Education North, 317-605-1028; email; or Hunter Education South, 317-694-7531 or email:

Indiana also offers an online hunter education course for hunters 12 years and older to obtain the hunter education cards. For more information, please visit To register online for any of these courses, go online at Indiana Hunter Education classroom course and select Kokomo location, Peru location, or Tipton location.

I am proud and honored to be one of the volunteer instructors for 50 years. My wife’s uncle, Ernie Baker, was the Howard County Conservation Officer, and he contacted me in 1974 and asked me if I would be interested in becoming an archery instructor. I told him I was a certified instructor through the Indiana Field Archery Association and the National Field Archery Association, and he told me about the program through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

They needed instructors for the program. I agreed to take the instructor course, and I passed with a 99 percent. I was able to travel all over Indiana assisting many different conservation officers with their classes, and I highly recommend them to you.