The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is making it easier for Oklahoma residents to get hunter education certified by offering an online course. But is this a good thing?
Last month, the Wildlife Department began offering hunter education certification online to Oklahoma residents on its website, www.wildlifedepartment.com.
More than 1,300 students have already taken the online class and received their hunter education certification, said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the agency.
In Oklahoma, anyone age 30 or younger must receive hunter education to legally hunt alone, Meek said.
An apprentice hunting license is available to Oklahoma hunters who are not hunter education certified, which allows them to hunt with someone who has received hunter education training.
Oklahoma is the second state in the nation to offer hunter education online and the first to offer its own curriculum online.
Indiana offers a hunter education course online but uses a private company that charges a fee for the course. Hunter education classes in Oklahoma are free, whether in a classroom or online.
“We developed this course,” Meek said of Oklahoma's online hunter education class. “We worked with UCO (University of Central Oklahoma) and did our own hunter education manual then took it to Career Tech to make an online class.”
Taking the Oklahoma hunter education class online will virtually be the same as taking it in a classroom, Meek said.
“We show the same videos,” he said. “It is the same course material.”
But wouldn't taking a hunter education course from a real instructor, who can answer questions and share first-hand experiences, be better for students?
Indiana officials initially had the same concern, but the Hoosier state has been offering hunter education online for four years now without seeing an increase in hunting accidents, Meek said.