A look back at the Conservationist's past with an eye on the present


January-February 1969

Louisiana Firearms and Hunter Safety Program

By Ben R. Brown

The Louisiana Firearms and Hunter Safety Program is one of the newer projects that the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has undertaken in order to serve the citizens of Louisiana.


This program consists of instruction six subject areas, which encompasses a majority of the problems encountered in the hunting field. Along with the instruction, situations similar to those encountered while hunting are contrived and each pupil has his turn to overcome the obstacle. There is also training in gun handling, as well as actual gun handling and shooting on the part of the pupil.


No area of the instruction is more important than that of the hunter’s responsibility. Here hunter-landowner relations, courtesy and attitude are stressed.


In the past, the Commission has involved itself in gun safety clinics, which are good, but tend toward entertainment, rather than involving the pupil physically in the training.


Hunter safety education is no universal answer to the problems that hunters and gun owners are having to face more and more every day. It is a beginning though and we feel it is a good one. The Louisiana Firearms and Hunter Safety Program was set up under the leadership and guidance of the National Rifle Association. The N.R.A. has operated a program of hunter safety training for years. We join twenty-eight states and five Canadian provinces in the operation of a program on the state level under the N.R.A. guidance.


We are at present using our Commission personnel as instructors, along with volunteers, those N.R.A. instructors that have presented hunter safety training before we became involved in it. The bulk of the work will have to be done by the volunteers as our personnel do not have enough time to devote to hunter safety training. Volunteers can help bring the hunter safety message to all of Louisiana’s hunters.


Our program is designed for and directed to the young hunter. National statistics reveal that young inexperienced hunters are the ones who are the most likely to be involved in a hunting mishap; therefore, we have tried to keep it on a level that can be understood and absorbed by a person in the eleven to eighteen year old age bracket. We do invite older persons to attend the training sessions and if possible to participate as instructors if they feel they have the time.


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Spring 2019

LDWF Hunter Education Program

by TREY ILES, LDWF Public Information


Hunter safety has long been a primary concern for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Dating back to the 1960s, the forerunner to LDWF, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, put in place the Louisiana Firearms and Hunter Safety Program to instruct hunters on the proper use of firearms.


In 1984, the Louisiana Legislature took that a step further by establishing mandatory hunter education for any hunter born on or after Sept. 1, 1969. Thirty-five years later, LDWF’s Hunter’s Education Program continues to be a vital part of keeping those who enjoy the sport safe.


But the program has evolved into much more than hunter safety. Certainly, teaching the proper use of firearms is upmost importance. The goal of Louisiana’s Hunter Education Program is to reduce hunting incidents by producing safe and responsible hunters. But there are so many other facets of the course such as how to properly scale a deer stand with a firearm.


The goals of the program are to prevent hunting incidents and ensure the future of hunting by teaching hunters about their responsibilities and role in conservation. Much of the course covers firearm safety, but responsibility, ethics, wildlife conservation and outdoor safety are also covered. What happens if you get stranded overnight while hunting? The program has that covered.


The Hunter Education Program was developed by LDWF and has helped make hunting a safe activity. In fact, hunting is one of the safest outdoor recreational activities in terms of injuries per 100,000 participants. Hunter education training is available to everyone, regardless of race, sex, age or national origin.


And it’s not unique to Louisiana. Most states have some hunter’s education requirement. The International Hunter Education Association-USA is affiliated with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies of which LDWF is a part. Hunter education courses train and certify more than 650,000 annually and since 1949 almost 40 million have completed hunter education courses.


Approximately 15,000 students annually are certified in the LDWF Hunter Education Program through more than 450 courses taught statewide. Courses are taught by LDWF Education Program staff as well as volunteer instructors, who are vital to the success of the program. The majority of courses are taught by volunteers who donate their time to teach hunter education. Volunteers undergo background checks and receive training and oversight from LDWF staff.


The Louisiana Hunter Education Certification course is offered in two formats. The first format is a 10-hour classroom format that is usually held over 2-3 days. The second format, recommended only for students 14 years of age and older, is a home study format that consists of two parts: an online class that can be taken at the student’s own pace, followed by a five-hour field-day class.


Both formats cover firearm and hunting safety, wildlife management principles, ethics, game identification and outdoor survival. Students must successfully complete a live-fire exercise with both formats.


The minimum age for hunter education certification in Louisiana is 10 years old. However, it is required 10 and 11 year-olds be supervised while hunting even if they have received hunter education certification. Youth younger than 10 years old may take the course but they are not eligible to be certified and will have to retake the course to obtain certification when they reach 10 years of age or older.


For more information on LDWF’s Hunter Education Program go to



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