For over 40 years, hunter education has been considered a must in order to keep North Dakotans safe while hunting.

“I took my hunter ed classes when I was– I suppose just old enough to get into the classes,” said Wyatt Kitzman.

Hunters 12 and older have to take classes before they can get a firearm or bowhunting license in the state.

“When you go out hunting, you’re hunting with family and friends mainly, so safety is our number one goal,” said Justin Hughes, a hunter education instructor.

The program began in 1979 and is approaching a new milestone. It will reach 250,000 students who have successfully completed the course in North Dakota.

It’s thanks, in part, to around 700 volunteers who teach classes every year, with a major focus on gun safety.

“You do a function check on a firearm,” said Hughes. “Tell me what type of action and safety it is. We cross a fence by yourself, then we cross a fence with a partner so two people crossing a fence. How to get in and out of a vehicle.”

The goal is to make North Dakota is safe not only for hunters but for landowners and citizens all over the state.

“It becomes second nature after a while, but it does make you think of what could happen or try and prevent dangerous situations,” said Kitzman.

Hughes says if you want to take a class, sign up sooner rather than later because classes fill up fast.

“When you go on the Game and Fish website, if you can’t find a class you wanna take, apply for the emails and text messages they send out,” said Hughes.

He also says volunteer instructors are always needed.

“I love doing it. So it’s one of them things that makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you do it,” said Hughes.

  • If you would like to sign up for a hunter education class, click here.
  • If you would like to volunteer to be an instructor, click here.