California Department of Fish & Wildlife (difficult to understand why fish are not wildlife, but that is another issue), have made it easier and easier for people to complete a training course to obtain a certificate which enables one to purchase a hunting license. The CADFW have accomplished this by providing 3 different on-line course that one can take to complete the majority of the course at one’s own leisure and convenience. It requires the student upon completing the on-line portion to attend a 4-hour course (which includes the final test) with one of the volunteer instructors.
There-in lies the problem!
One of the most frustrating things that California Hunter Education Instructors face is the situation where they receive a continual stream of phone calls usually starting in August from people looking for a continuation/completion class.
The students through lack of planning or initiative, take thier time with the on-line portion, and do not check on availability of the 4-hour courses.
It should be remembered that these good folks (the instructors) give of their own free time to enable others to hunt, however, they are first and foremost hunters themselves, which of course means that they generally DO NOT schedule any classes during that time frame.
So, when is that time frame,?
Well, it starts with archery hunting in the “A” zone, and depending on the interests of the instructor, may continue on through into February! It takes very little effort on the part of the prospective hunter student to determine that the majority of classes are from the end of Duck season, to the end of July. “A” zone archery for deer starts at the end of July, followed by the B, C & D zones, and the General season for the A zone overlaps some f the archery for other zones, then the general seasons start for B, and D zones around the middle to the end of September. These go for another 6 weeks into the end of October, and some late seasons run into November. Bear season runs to the end of December, but in the meantime Turkey opened up in the middle of November, Duck, geese, Quail, and a variety of other game seasons opened up and some will continue to February.
And we are back to the problem!
The implication by the availability and instant gratification of the on-line course does not stress upon the student that they need to plan ahead prior to hunting season to obtain a seat in one of the classes. There are scheduled classes all around California, and many are during hunting seasons, however many are booked up 3 months in advance, yes for example the group of instructors that teach at Reed’s gun store in Santa Clara are booked through the end of the year!
This leads to another problem!
That of people not making the classes even when they pay money for it, to actually attend! This same group of instructors regularly see 15-20% of the people who book a class, pay the fee, then not turn up, while the instructors have had to turn away other students.
So, the general public needs to become more informed as to when seasons are, and what the availability of classes are. All of that information and much, much more is on the CADFW web site, simply requires a little more effort on the part of the wanna-be hunter.
The link to the CADFW site is here so no excuse anymore
Successful hunting is all about planning, whether it is in state or out-of-state, planning is essential, and this starts with planing to obtain your certificate that starts you on the journey!