FRANKFORT, KY — All of Kentucky's hunter education requirements can now be fulfilled virtually, without the need of in-person instruction, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
The department also says, for a limited time, it is offering its one-year exemption permit at no cost for those unable to complete the necessary requirements before going hunting.
KYFW says hunter education covers the basics of hunting and provides valuable instruction on firearms and outdoor safety, and is required for hunters born after 1975. However, there are some exemptions to the state's hunter education requirements, including youth under the age of 12 or landowners and their dependents hunting on their own property.
The department says it takes two steps to get your hunter education certificate: going to class, and spending time at a range to demonstrate safe handling of firearms or bows.
Earlier this year, KYFW temporarily suspended in-person hunter education courses to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but now you can get your certificate online and at no cost.
KYFW says the first step is to successfully complete the online course on their website for the classroom portion. Several of the department-approved hunter education courses are available free or for a small fee from partnering organization.
After completing the online course, KYFW says you can host a personal, "virtual range day" by creating a video of themselves safely displaying firearms or bow handling practices under supervision of a qualified adult, then submitting it to the department for review and approval. The department says this takes the place of an in-person range day.
The department says hunters must register for their virtual range day then create a video using the outline on the department's website.
You can also find requirements for what the video must contain and how to submit it on the website. Each student must have a mentor who already has hunter education certification present for the entire video. Student hunters can also use a firearm, bow, or air gun.
The department says students are encouraged to complete the online course and virtual range day as early as possible because it can take up to two weeks to process and issue hunter education certification once the requirements are complete.
The department says it also recognizes other states' official hunter education certifications, regardless of course format.
However, the department says anyone who has not completed the hunter education course has the option of getting a temporary hunter education exemption permit, a one-time permit that is good for a year. It is now being offered for free for a limited time. You can get your exemption permit by clicking here.
To get the permit, you must read short passages on ethics, safety, laws, and hunter orange requirements, then correctly answer a series of questions.
The department says permit holders must hunt with a qualified adult mentor who is hunter education-certified or born before 1975, and be within arm's reach of the exemption permit holder, in order to take control of the hunting equipment in case of an emergency.
For more information, email the KYFW Information Center at Info.Center@ky.gov or give them a call at 1-800-858-1549 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Hunting licenses and permits are available in many stores that sell sporting goods, or online.