Now Is The Time To Enroll In A Hunter Education Course



Now Is The Time To Enroll In A Hunter
Education Course


The DNR offers multiple hunter education course options and locations, so hunters can choose the best format for how and where they’d like to learn. 

Planning on hunting for the first time this coming fall? Awesome!

The first thing you’ll want to do is enroll in a hunter education course, and now is the perfect time confirm your spot, as courses tend to fill up in the spring.

Those who complete a hunter education course play a vital role in keeping Wisconsin a safe place to hunt. Many hunting incidents in Wisconsin involve hunters older than 40, decades after learning firearm safety rules in their hunter education courses. It may be time for veteran hunters to refresh these valuable lessons.

As part of the program, hunter education graduates receive a certificate accepted in every U.S. state, Canada and Mexico. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have a hunter education certification to purchase a hunting license unless hunting under the Mentored Hunting Law.

The DNR offers multiple hunter education course options and locations, so hunters can choose the best format for how and where they’d like to learn.

Traditional Course 

Students attend a multi-day, in-person course where they learn hunter responsibility and safety through lectures, demonstrations, group discussions, practical exercises and individual study. The students then take a multiple-choice exam and complete a hands-on, skills-based assessment based on information found in the printed student manual and taught during class.

Internet + Field Day

Students must enroll in an in-person field day course and then complete the online portion before attending the field day. Upon completing the online course, students will receive a field day voucher, which is required to participate in the in-person field day course they enrolled in. Students will reinforce what they learned online through hands-on safe firearm handling, demonstrations from experienced hunters and practical exercises. The students then take a multiple-choice exam and complete a hands-on, skills-based assessment.

Online-Only (Ages 18+)

The online-only course has the same general content as the other options but is entirely online. Students work through online units, take multiple-choice quizzes and take a final multiple-choice exam. This course is specifically for students with prior hunting or firearms handling experience. It is only for those 18 years of age or older.

Search for upcoming courses in your area through your Go Wild account.

Share Your Passion With The Next Generation Of Hunters

Avid hunters and trappers think about their favorite outdoor activity all year, not just during the open hunting seasons. In the off-season, they are cleaning old gear, purchasing new gear and planning for the coming seasons.

If that sounds like you, there are numerous opportunities to share your passion and excitement. Consider getting involved in any of the following areas:

  • Volunteer instructor: Become a hunter or trapper education instructor. Lead or assist with a hunting or trapping program or event.
  • Volunteer mentor: Take a novice hunting or trapping.
  • Shooting range volunteer: Help keep our ranges clean and safe.
  • Landowners: Provide managed access to your property for novice hunters and trappers.
  • Donations: Help keep program costs down or donate equipment.

Visit the DNR’s Event Calendar to see some of the programs and events planned so far. If you are interested in getting involved in these or similar events, please contact any of the R3 coordinators listed below. All volunteers must pass a background check before getting involved.

For more information about the R3 program, visit the DNR’s R3 webpage.

2024 Sturgeon Spearing Season Opens Saturday

The 2024 Winnebago System sturgeon spearing season will kick off on Saturday, Feb. 10 and will run for 16 days or until harvest caps have been reached.

Under the current rule, the DNR is required to hold the season regardless of weather conditions. The sturgeon spearing season for the Winnebago system is established in NR 20.20 (73) (e) and is “Second Saturday in February and continuing for 16 consecutive days unless closed pursuant to s. NR 20.33 (5).”

Check out the DNR’s Winnebago System sturgeon spearing webpage and Facebook account for daily harvest numbers and other important updates.

Ice Safety

Spearers and spectators, remember that no ice is 100% safe. The DNR does not monitor ice conditions, so check with local fishing clubs and conservation groups for local ice conditions.

Get tips for staying safe on the ice from the DNR’s ice safety webpage.

Registration Information

Like any season, it is important for participants to know and follow the regulations. The DNR reminds spearers that once they have successfully speared a sturgeon, the tag must be validated by tearing off the bottom portion, the sturgeon must then be brought to an official registration station and registered by 2 p.m. on the day it was speared.

Any sturgeon harvested from Lake Winnebago must be registered at one of the registration stations on Lake Winnebago, and any sturgeon harvested from the Upriver Lakes must be registered at one of the Upriver Lakes registration stations.

Good luck and be safe!


Looking For One Last Bit Of Winter Fun? Head North!

After two weeks of unseasonably warm weather, it feels like much of Wisconsin has accelerated straight into spring, leaving winter lovers in much of the state feeling the February blues.

Those still hoping for a little wintery fun aren’t entirely out of luck, however. If you’re looking to spend some time outside, head north to these properties:

  • Willow River State Park: The 1-mile Willow Falls Trail extends from the campground to Willow Falls, while traveling along the shores of Little Falls Lake and Willow River. Visit the Willow River State Park trails webpage.
  • Brule River State Forest: The Brule-St. Croix Portage Trail is 1.9 miles long and dates back to when the voyageurs used the trail to travel from Lake Superior to the Mississippi River via the St. Croix. Check out the route on the Brule State Forest trails webpage.
  • Amnicon Falls: This park has 1.8 miles of trails, with several short trails along both sides of the Amnicon River, offering views of the falls and surrounding scenery. Find the right one for you on the Amnicon Falls State Park trails webpage.
  • Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest: There are several hikes with great forest and lake views, and you can do them with or without snowshoes. Scope the trails out on the forest’s hiking webpage.
  • Newport State Park: Take a wintry walk on the beach, and unless you get a photo of your gloves, you’ll never know it’s February. The water is clear and a beautiful blue because of the cold temperatures. Head to the Newport State Park trails webpage for more walking options.

Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR