HELENA – Starting Jan. 1, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will require Hunter and Bowhunter Education students age 12 to 17 who take the online course to pass an in-person field day. Students in that age group must pass both the online exam and the field day to earn a course completion certificate.

For Hunter Education, the in-person field day will require students to practice and demonstrate key safety skills related to firearm handling, the four main rules of firearm safety, and the PROVE procedure, which stands for “Point, Remove, Observe, Verify, and Examine.” Students will demonstrate how to safely cross a fence with a firearm, hand off a firearm, and remove a firearm from a vehicle, among other practical safety skills. In addition, students will discuss hunting ethics, landowner relations, land ownership and access, FWP’s Block Management Program, wildlife conservation, and more. In-person field days for Bowhunter Education will similarly feature hands-on safety practice and demonstrations.

Students who are 12 to 17 and are currently in progress with the online Hunter or Bowhunter Education courses must complete their coursework before Jan. 1, or they will be required to complete an in-person field day. Montana law requires everyone born after Jan. 1, 1985, to complete a Hunter or Bowhunter Education course before purchasing or applying for Montana hunting licenses. Students 10 years and older can take an in-person course. Students 18 and older can take the online-only course.

Instructor-led in-person courses are an excellent way to provide new hunters with a hands-on learning experience and can be particularly beneficial for people who have minimal experience in the field or handling firearms. These courses are taught by dedicated volunteer instructors, often from local communities.

For more information on course options, becoming a volunteer instructor and to sign up for an in-person or online course, visit fwp.mt.gov/hunt.