This is the SCDNR’s most extensive education program. With over 10,000 adult and youth students served each year, it is also the largest classroom-oriented program with DNR instructors. Because all hunters born after June 30, 1979 are required to pass the hunter education course before a hunting license can be obtained, the demand for this course should remain constant or increase slightly over time. Youth participating in the Youth Hunting and Take One-Make One (TOMO) programs are required to have completed hunter education.
There is a strong demand for the hunter education course because of the law requiring completion of the course before a hunting license can be issued to anyone born after June 1979. This is a natural feeder program for the TOMO, Youth Hunt and National Archery in the Schools (NASP) programs. The proportion of students passing the course who also purchase a hunting license is not known. Any trends data over the years would be useful as converting students into active, license-buying hunters is an important objective of the program. Trends data for hunting accidents would also be a good indicator of the benefits of the program.
Because this course and passage of a test is required by law, it is difficult to understand its function in recruitment and retention of hunters. Most (it may approach 90%) take the course as a requirement to buy their first license. These persons are already on a track to hunt and many of them have been hunting and have been trained by good mentors. There is still the possibility to influence the behaviors of these individuals and the instruction includes this material.