August 9, 2011
MADISON - Time is running out for hunters planning to hunt this fall who are required to have but have not yet completed a hunter education course. Most hunter education courses are run from June through September, with only a smattering of courses offered later in the year.
"Nearly all of the volunteer hunter education instructors are hunters themselves and enjoy hunting in the fall," says Tim Lawhern, Department of Natural Resources enforcement and science division administrator, who previously served as the state's hunting education administrator. "The hunter education program offers about 1,200 courses every year, but very few of them are offered after September."
Every year DNR offices receive calls two weeks before the gun-deer season with hunter-hopefuls looking to fulfill the mandatory hunter education course. "More than 99 percent of our courses have already been offered by that time," he says.
Anyone born on or after Jan.1, 1973, must have completed a hunter education course and show the certificate to purchase any hunting license in Wisconsin. Also, recreational safety students are required to obtain a Wisconsin DNR Customer ID Number before the completion of any recreational safety class and must provide that Customer ID Number to the instructor. Information on obtaining a DNR customer ID number is available on the DNR website.
To find a course, visit the Safety Education Courses page of the DNR website. Click the Upcoming Classes button and search by TYPE or by COUNTY. Check this site often as classes are added and removed daily.
Although the hunter education course is one of the options designed to meet the training requirement of the conceal carry law, this fall's hunter safety courses will continue their tradition of focusing on teaching the fundamentals of hunter safety. There are many other options to obtain firearms training to qualify for a concealed carry license.
The concealed carry law also does not change shining regulations. A person with a license to carry a concealed weapon is not allowed to possess any firearm, including a handgun, while shining wild animals.
The law will have some affect on rules over possession of firearms on DNR lands in certain counties, state forests and recreational areas.
On DNR lands within state parks, state fish hatcheries or wildlife refuge areas, individuals with a concealed carry license as well as qualified former law enforcement officers possessing proper ID and firearm certificate can possess loaded and uncased handguns.
Effective Nov. 1, 2011, a person with a concealed carry license may also possess a loaded uncased handgun (concealed or unconcealed) on certain other state properties such as some state wildlife areas and dog training areas, even if not engaged in hunting, dog training or a dog trial. More details on concealed carry on DNR properties is available on the DNR website.
Applications for a license to carry a concealed weapon must be obtain from and submit to the Wisconsin Department of Justice and will not be available until Nov. 1, 2011 when the new laws and license take effect. To qualify for a concealed carry license a person must be at least age 21, a Wisconsin resident and not prohibited from possessing a firearm. More information about laws related to carrying a concealed weapon, or about getting and submitting an application for a license is available on the DOJ website (exit DNR). DOJ has also developed an extensive "Frequently Asked Questions" (pdf; exit DNR) publication on concealed carry that is also available on their website.
More information on how the new concealed carry law changes affect hunters, trappers, recreational vehicle operators is available on the DNR website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern (608) 266-1317