“They have been tracking those (online) students, and they have been just as safe or safer than regular students,” he said.
“You can get a college degree online and take a boaters education class online for several years now, and hunting has a lot better safety record than boating.”
The Wildlife Department will still offer its traditional eight-hour class and home study course for hunter education.
However, Meek admitted the agency might reduce the number of those classes in the future if there is an overwhelming response to the agency's online class.
Less than 5 percent of hunters in Indiana are obtaining their hunter education certification online, Meek said. Indiana requires a person to be age 18 or older to take the hunter education class online.
In Oklahoma, the Wildlife Department is making the online hunter education course available to any resident age 10 or older.
“That's the level where we felt someone was mature enough to get their education online,” Meek said.
Oklahoma certifies between 15,000 and 17,000 new hunters each year. The vast majority of hunter education in Oklahoma involves classroom instruction and coursework.
Only a handful of classes actually offer hands-on training on the use of a firearm, Meek said.
“If a parent and a son or daughter sit down and take this course together and talk about it, as far as we are concerned, that's the best possible benefit of taking hunter education online,” Meek said.