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18
No firearms safety certificate, no hunting license for those under 25; Hunters encouraged to complete training NOW (2005-10-14)
Completion of a Hunter Education/Firearms Safety course is a must to purchase a hunting license for anyone born on or after Dec. 31, 1979.

"A previous hunting license, that does not indicate hunter safety training was completed, is no longer enough to buy a new hunting license in Minnesota for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979," said Capt. Mike Hammer, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Education Program coordinator. Hunters born before that date and those with proof of completing the training in another state are not affected.

Hammer said previous license buyers on record as not completing the training were sent a letter in August outlining the requirement. But DNR officials want to make sure everyone has gotten the word.

"We've had indications that some hunters in that age group never completed a Hunter Education/Firearms Safety Training course and were still somehow able to purchase a hunting license in past seasons," Hammer said. "But during the recent extended Legislative session, lawmakers clarified legislation that was passed in 1992 that mandated a person born after Dec. 31,1979, could not purchase a hunting license without first completing the training and having proof of that training. So, no firearms safety certificate, no hunting license for people in that age group."

Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979 must have completed a training course in Minnesota or another state before obtaining a license to hunt wild animals by firearms and must have proof of having taken the training.

"When you attempt to purchase your license this year you will be required to show proof of having taken a Firearms Safety/Hunter Education course," Hammer said. "Unfortunately, the 2005 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook went to print before the clarification requiring "hard copy" proof of training was made in statute. "

Of particular concern to DNR officials are those preparing for the upcoming Firearms Deer Season, which gets underway on Nov. 5. "We're encouraging those hunters to complete a hunter education course on line or through home study now," Hammer said. "They can also attend a local hunter education class."

For assistance in locating a class or for assistance in locating proof of having previously taken a Firearms Safety/Hunter Education course in Minnesota, contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6367 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367) or visit the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Otherwise, be sure to bring proof of completing a Firearms Safety/Hunter Education course with you to the license agent this year. Proof of having completed the course can include:

- A valid Firearms Safety/Hunter Education certificate from Minnesota or an equivalent certificate from another state.

- A Minnesota Driver's License or Minnesota Identification card that has a valid Firearms Safety/Hunter Education indicator on the back side of the license/card.

- A previous hunting license from Minnesota or another state with a valid Firearms Safety/Hunter Education indicator. The 'indicator' is a Firearms Safety Training identification number that appears on the license. PLEASE NOTE: A previous license that does not have the indicator is no longer acceptable, and is not acceptable as proof of having completed the required course.

- Other documentation that you have completed a Firearms Safety/Hunter Education course in Minnesota or another state.

Failing to complete the Firearms Safety/Hunter Education course as required and unlawfully purchasing a license can be a misdemeanor violation with a maximum fine of $1,000. If a wild animal is taken under the license, the penalties can include loss of hunting privileges, loss of firearms, and wildlife restitution costs, in addition to the criminal fine.

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