The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week that the agency is temporarily allowing hunters to complete their education requirements entirely online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release issued by the department, California offered a traditional in-person course or a hybrid online and in-person course with a certified Hunter Education Instructor prior to COVID-19, but because all classroom instruction opportunities have been suspended, the in-person portion has been temporarily waived to allow students to students to complete the full course online. 

“Online-only certification is a temporary solution to allow Californians the ability to fulfill their hunter education requirements and obtain a hunting license during these unique times,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance to earn their certification before the fall hunting seasons, so we believe this is a reasonable solution, given the circumstances.”

The online Hunters Education Courses cost $24.95. According to the release, successful prospective hunters who complete and pass the online course will be able to immediately print a paper Hunter Education Completion Certificate, which will qualify them to purchase a hunting license and the CDFW online license profile will automatically be updated with their Hunter Education Certification within two days.

When deemed safe to do so, CDFW intends to return to the prior system which will again require a minimum level of in-person instruction with a certified HEI. 

“We value our 1,000 extremely dedicated volunteer instructors enormously, and we’re anxious to see them back in front of students as soon as possible,” said Bess.

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