As reported regularly at NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF), hunting has one of the lowest injury rates of all outdoor recreational pursuits. However, surveys show that hunting accidents happen to seasoned hunters just as often as they do to novices. As time passes, some hunters may forget certain aspects of their hunter education training, or perhaps their initial training was inferior. To address this, the NRA recently launched a free online NRA Experienced Hunter Education Course for seasoned hunters who wish to refresh their knowledge and skills in a format that allows them to take the course at their convenience and at their own pace.
“The free, voluntary course provides the opportunity for seasoned hunters to review their previous hunter safety training and maybe learn some new safety techniques, explains Peter Churchbourne, an HLF director. “No other organization, company or state wildlife agency provides this type of education for experienced hunters.”
The NRA Experienced Hunter Education Course comes on the heels of the NRA investing $3 million in hunting’s future to develop and launch a free, state-of-the-art NRA Online Hunter Education Course in 2017. Churchbourne, then the Director of NRA Hunter Services, found that one of the biggest barriers to helping more hunters get into hunting was the cost of some hunter education courses. “Plus, some states had very limited in-classroom scheduling for these courses,” he said. “So, we thought, what if we offered hunter education online, made it free, and had it approved for use with every state’s specific requirements?”
The NRA’s Online Hunter Education course debuted in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with nearly 10 state wildlife agencies having adopted it since and more in the works. The NRA’s goal is to have the program available in all 50 states, making hunter education universally free of charge. In catering to hunters of all skill levels, the free online NRA Experienced Hunter Education Course was the logical next step.
Of course, spearheading hunter education is nothing new for the NRA. In case you are not aware, it was the NRA that worked with the state of New York in 1949 to develop America’s first ever state-based hunter education course. Other states quickly adopted it and the rest is history. In fact, years ago our hunter education cards fittingly read, “NRA Hunter Safety.”
Based on recent national surveys, which show declines in hunter numbers, NRA’s efforts to bolster the R3 movement to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters is critical. With hunters’ dollars serving as primary funding for wildlife conservation efforts across America, the NRA is helping to reverse this trend while maintaining its track record of working to keep hunters safe afield and supporting them with the programs and services they need for a lifetime of hunting enjoyment.
About the NRA
When the NRA was chartered in 1871, a key objective was to promote hunter safety and to defend hunting as a shooting sport and necessary method of fostering the conservation of our renewable wildlife resources. Today the NRA is the largest organization of hunters with more than 3.5 million hunters in its 5-million-plus membership ranks.