Hunter Education in Missouri
In 1957, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved a voluntary program for Missourians. This program continued quite successfully for 30 years, with approximately 500,000 people taking the training.
The old Hunter Safety courses were very short, taking about four hours to cover strictly guns and safe gun handling. However, it became evident that the course needed to be more extensive because hunters were continuing to have incidents and because the activities of a few hunters were causing non-hunters and landowners to become upset with all hunters.
As newer ideas about hunter responsibilities, hunting ethics, and the hunter’s role in conservation were added, the course became longer and more educational. Many more states and most Canadian provinces made it mandatory for hunters to pass such a course before they could purchase hunting permits.
In 1987, the Missouri Conservation Commission, which has become more and more concerned with the numbers of hunting incidents in Missouri, passed a regulation requiring that anyone born on or after January 1, 1967, take a Hunter Education course and pass the test before they could purchase any type of firearm hunting permit.
In 1993, a new regulation went into effect that set a minimum age limit of 11 years for anyone to become certified in Missouri’s Hunter Education program.
Missouri’s Hunter Education course covers many things: what firearms are and how they work, how to handle them safely, hunting traditions, ethics, what conservation is and our human role in it, a hunter’s responsibilities, and safe gun handling.
The reason for such a broad spectrum of topics is to meet the basic goals of the course, which are to develop students who are:
- Safe with firearms in the field and at home
- Respectful of other people and property
- Aware of hunting as a resource management tool
These are goals which can affect our lives. These are goals which can and should remain with us throughout our lives.