How to Bypass the Long Mass Hunter Safety Course Backlog

neum69

NES Member
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,096
Likes
303
Location
Massachusetts
All -

Thought I would share my experiences with getting my hunting license in Mass. I have never hunted before and was interested in getting the training and licensing required to give it a try. Like many others, I was frustrated with the inadequate number of courses that are offered in Massachusetts and the lame way in which they are publicized, reserved, waitlisted, etc.

I started looking around at online hunter education options and found that most states require you to show up in person for a field day after completing the online course, and those field days are similarly infrequent in their scheduling. Well, one state around us does not require a field day at the end - just a written test - and that's Rhode Island. Here are the steps I went through to get licensed in Rhode Island, with a total elapsed time from start to finish of 2.5 weeks. I could have done it much faster if I hadn't been traveling during one of the intervening weeks:


  1. Register at hunter-ed.com for the Rhode Island online course. It's free and easy to register.
  2. Go through the course material. If you're a decent book learner it will probably take between 4 and 6 hours all in to complete the material with comprehension. If you don't do well on a section you can repeat it. At any rate, far less time invested than an instructor-led class.
  3. Take the test at the end - multiple choice for about 100 questions.
  4. Pay a $20 as a fee for printing out your course completion certificate
  5. Call or email the Rhode Island DEM to schedule your in-person exam. The contact information is available on this page, but at the time of my post, the email is [email protected]. Note that I expected to wait a long time for an available date, but they are literally doing these all the time. I waited a week for a session I could make, and they showed great flexibility in doing appointments at other times if needed.
  6. Show up at the headquarters and take the 100 question test. It's a mix of multiple choice and true/false. Address is 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston, RI 0289
  7. They tell you on the spot whether you passed or failed, and mail you the RI hunter safety certification card within a week. they also hand you a printed book/manual so you have a reference to refer to in the future if you get rusty on any of the material. you could also log back into the online course to review that material at any time.
  8. Once you've got that certificate, you're good to go on getting a Mass hunting license.

No fuss, no muss, no waiting for booked up courses or frantically trying to register when new notification emails come out for a new course. I can't heap enough praise on the RI Department of Environmental Management for making hunting more accessible.

Hope you find this helpful.

 
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
Messages
1,376
Likes
238
Location
SE Mass
Just show up. That's what I did. Since these guys are so into hunting, they didn't turn me away. Just added my name to the class roster, and gave me a book!
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jun 29, 2012
Messages
5
Likes
0
Or go to the Alaska State website, purchase a small game license, and then use that as your "other previous license"
 

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
69   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
53,020
Likes
11,600
Location
90% in NH
Most Hunter Ed courses allow for walk-ins, as there is typically a fair amount of No-shows that have signed up.

The only downside to the OP's otherwise excellent plan is that I know that an out-of-state Hunter Ed course would be acceptable for an FID/LTC

From my dismal experience in taking the MA Hunter Ed class this past Summer, I have to honestly say that nobody in MA should accept those certs for a LTC/FID if what I experienced was typical. NOBODY in the class touched a gun . . . an instructor held up each type as another instructor described it. The MA law info told to us was almost all wrong, some of which could lead to a jail sentence! With as many as they get in a class (ours was ~75 reserved, 42 showed up), there is no way that everyone can handle a gun, load/unload, etc. and do the class in 16 hours. The sad thing is that it looked like about 1/2 the students intended to use the cert to get their first gun license (newbies)!
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
503
Likes
31
From my dismal experience in taking the MA Hunter Ed class this past Summer, I have to honestly say that nobody in MA should accept those certs for a LTC/FID if what I experienced was typical. NOBODY in the class touched a gun . . . an instructor held up each type as another instructor described it. The MA law info told to us was almost all wrong, some of which could lead to a jail sentence! With as many as they get in a class (ours was ~75 reserved, 42 showed up), there is no way that everyone can handle a gun, load/unload, etc. and do the class in 16 hours. The sad thing is that it looked like about 1/2 the students intended to use the cert to get their first gun license (newbies)!

I took my class at concord and we had lots of hands on with the guns. the instructors even hung around after the class ended letting people handle the guns and ask questions
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
992
Likes
85
Location
Westborough, Ma
The online hunting system is completely flawed. There is a section to purchase a hunting license, simply by swearing you've taken a safety class and checking a box. Seriously.

I don't advocate this, safety is important especially firearm safety.
 

MisterHappy

NES Member
Rating - 100%
17   0   0
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
22,577
Likes
7,935
Location
On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
Josh: If you took it in Mass, call MassWildlife - they have the records.

Yes, just as there are different levels of "professionalism" in LTC courses, so, too in HunterEd.

As for the acceptance of a HunterEd cert for an LTC....I agree, and don't agree. Many taking the course just to get an LTC would do better to get more training....but, then, the Home Firearm Safety course has no firing component. But that's acceptable, too.

My kid used the HunterEd course for his FID, and I'm fine with that; I've taught him, as my dad taught me. When my younger son goes for his, he'll use the HunterEd card, even though he helps to teach Basic Pistol.

When I talk to the HunterEd students about this, I say, "Get more training. If you don't have a more experienced person to show you what to do, and what not to do, take a class that involves firing."
 

neum69

NES Member
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,096
Likes
303
Location
Massachusetts
Get more training.

+1

I consider it a responsibility to learn and practice all I can to be as responsible as possible. Owning firearms is a serious responsibility.

For that reason I also wouldn't suggest bypassing education completely by going the Alaska route that was mentioned.
 
Rating - 100%
15   0   0
Joined
Dec 18, 2006
Messages
5,769
Likes
3,538
From my dismal experience in taking the MA Hunter Ed class this past Summer, I have to honestly say that nobody in MA should accept those certs for a LTC/FID if what I experienced was typical. NOBODY in the class touched a gun . . . an instructor held up each type as another instructor described it. The MA law info told to us was almost all wrong, some of which could lead to a jail sentence! With as many as they get in a class (ours was ~75 reserved, 42 showed up), there is no way that everyone can handle a gun, load/unload, etc. and do the class in 16 hours. The sad thing is that it looked like about 1/2 the students intended to use the cert to get their first gun license (newbies)!

Worse, in the vast majority of America people own guns with no class required. It's a real tragedy.
 

MisterHappy

NES Member
Rating - 100%
17   0   0
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
22,577
Likes
7,935
Location
On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
It's not just the guns that are an area where more training is needed: Land navigation, use of a bow, even how to sharpen a knife are skills that are touched upon, but not explored in depth.

It's BASIC HunterEd.

Just as the details of the 1911's operating system are not what a Basic Pistol course is about, neither is HunterEd an in-depth immersion.

If one is going to own things that can harm oneself or others if misued, learn how to use them!

If you look below, you'll see that I have "Hunter Ed" listed. When my kids are ready to go murder Bambi, I'll set them up with one of the people at my Club that's more competent. When Black Powder was the thing that they wanted to try, we went to Primitive Camp, and had the buckskin-wearers show them the right way, though I know the basics.

You see what I'm getting at.

You may have passed Driver's Ed, but that does not mean that you're a "safe" driver, yet.

This is why I counsel people to join clubs, in case they have no mentor in the family.....this way they can get boots-on-the-ground intel, from someone that's walked the ground.
 

MisterHappy

NES Member
Rating - 100%
17   0   0
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
22,577
Likes
7,935
Location
On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
At the risk of sounding like a Statist....if you're clueless about hunting, then coming up with ways to get around the HunterEd is not the best idea, IMO.

Look at all the other threads where a$$hat, and moran, and idiot are tossed about.

Basic Hunter Ed is NOT a comprehensive, all-inclusive, "now you're ready to do it" thing...but for someone that has no mentor, or has no tradition of hunting in the family, what's in the course is instructive.

Just as Basic Pistol is not the last word in firearms training, neither is Hunter Ed the last word.

It's the first.
 

Artifact

NES Member
Rating - 100%
57   0   0
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
4,389
Likes
1,652
Location
Ninja Forrest, Nagashima Japan
Ive got a better, easier method. Call a hunting preserve, like this one Fullflight Game Farm & Hunt Club ( pheasants, quail, hunting, upland birds, eggs, order, game farm ). Book a half day bird hunt. They issue a hunting license for one day. Then take that license to a town hall, and use it as your "previous license". Piece of cake.

hmmmmmmm

I hereby certify that I meet the requirements set forth in Massachusetts General Law chapter 131, section 14 since I have held hunting or sporting license(s) prior to January 1, 2007.
I hereby certify that I meet the requirements set forth in Massachusetts General Law chapter 131, section 14 since I have successfully completed a Basic Hunter Education course.

Key word "prior"
 
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
2,407
Likes
281
Location
Just North of Boston
I walked in on a class last night. first session. Website said it was sold out. I walked right in, they gave me a book. No roll call there wasnt even a list of people who signed up from what i can tell.
 
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Dec 31, 2012
Messages
903
Likes
421
Location
North of the Notch
I was an instructor for over 10 years, until the program was taken away from the Environmental Police and run by DFW. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the program has gone down hill in both quality and quantity since then. I know of multiple incidents of youths who were sincerely interested in hunting who waited so long to get into a class that they lost interest. I've also heard of different methods used by fathers to get around hunter ed requirements just so they could take their kids hunting. I never heard of such things when the Environmental Police administered the program.
 

neum69

NES Member
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,096
Likes
303
Location
Massachusetts
At the risk of sounding like a Statist....if you're clueless about hunting, then coming up with ways to get around the HunterEd is not the best idea, IMO

i agree. This thread took a distressing turn almost immediately. I started with what I thought was an informative post about online learning as an alternative to waiting for an instructor led class, and it ended up dominated by various recommenders of irresponsible actions. The thread is about bypassing the wait, not bypassing the course.

Btw, the info on just showing up to a full class was also useful.
 
Top Bottom