Hunters must prove themselves |

Hunters must prove themselves

The Nevada Division of Wildlife now requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1960, to complete an approved hunter education course before receiving a hunting license.

The change brings the state in line with California and most other states in seeking to ensure hunters have brushed up on proper safety procedures before heading out into the woods with a firearm.

Local hunters say it’s a step in the right direction, and not just for the young or new to the activity.

“A lot of older people that I run into, I encourage them to take a course,” said Tahoe-based California Game Warden Darrell Stevenson. “A lot of information you forget (over time). It’s always good to brush up on firearms safety.”

Stevenson believes Nevada’s requirements for obtaining a hunting license are now equal to California’s standards.

“I think that all states are requiring it now because they get a lot of out-of-state hunters,” he said. “Anybody that hunts big game has to have a hunter safety certificate and attend a hunter safety education course.”

Stevenson noted that California residents who hold a valid hunter education certificate can easily purchase hunting licenses.

“If you have a hunter safety certificate, you can go to Kmart or Longs Drugs and buy one,” he said. “But if you haven’t had that class, then you have to prove you have equivalency.”

Nevada resident and hunter Dave Bezzone, who is also an Alpine County-based game warden, strongly supports hunter safety courses.

“Regardless of whether you’re a hunter or not, if you’re going to be involved with firearms you should take a course,” Bezzone said. “The basics provided are invaluable for anyone holding a gun in their hand.”

Bezzone noted that although the hunting season for waterfowl and upland game birds is coming to a close in January, some seasons are year-round, including jackrabbits in Nevada, as well as coyotes, bobcat and other non-game species in both states.

NDOW encourages anyone wishing to submit an application for the big game tag deadline in April to beat the rush and sign up now for its hunter education course. Class lists are available on the Internet at

“No matter how many classes we’ve held, there seems to be a rush every year,” NDOW’s hunter education coordinator Les Smith said in a statement. “Just before the application deadline and the opening of the hunting seasons, our offices are inundated with requests for hunter education classes.”

Three years ago, NDOW changed to a format which requires completion of a 60-page class workbook before attending class. This workbook is estimated to require anywhere from four to eight hours of home study to complete.

Official Nevada hunter education cards are accepted in all 50 states, as well as the provinces of Canada and several states of Mexico.

More information on hunter education courses is available by calling the NDOW Reno office at (775) 688-1500, or on the agency’s Web site at

In California, information on hunter safety courses may be obtained by calling the California Department of Fish and Game’s Rancho Cordova office at (916) 358-2900.

— Chad Sellmer is a freelance writer living in South Lake Tahoe. He may be reached via e-mail at

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