“All the sounds of this valley run together into one great echo, a song that is sung by all the spirits of this valley. Only a hunter hears it.” –Chaim Potok
Before I start posting about all my fantastic adventures I am about to embark on, there is something I should mention first. Without a hunter’s education certificate, hunting is very limited in most places. In Utah, you can really only fish without taking hunter’s education, and it is required for anyone, resident or non-resident, who was born after 1965. I took hunter’s education online. You can also find classes. In both cases, you have to take an instructor led field test.
I signed up for the online course at wildlife.utah.gov. The course wasn’t too bad, and it only cost $10. A lot of people said it was mostly “common sense,” but I felt those comments didn’t completely apply to me. I had never really held, much less shot, a gun, and I had very limited knowledge about game rules and regulations. I would study before each quiz, which there were fourteen, and I actually learned quite a bit. After I completed the quiz, which took me about two weeks since I worked on one quiz a day, I called our local field agent and was scheduled for the field day.
Our instructor held class at his house, which was located at the base of the La Sal mountains. I left my house at 5am and drove the hour and a half to his beautiful, solid wood cabin. His house was amazing. The front of the two-story cabin was nothing but windows. He had a spotting scope in his upstairs loft where he watched deer, elk, and bears. The inside was all wood and had a very rustic feel to it.
The first part of the class was held inside on the loft. We climbed over “fences,” which were baby gates, and watched videos about when it is safe to shoot, being respectful of private land and others, and other general rules. It was warm and kind of fun. The second part of the course was not so fun. While we had been inside crawling over and under the “fences,” it had been snowing outside. For the second part of the course, you are required to shoot at two different paper targets, a squirrel and rabbit, with your .22, and you have to shoot from thee different positions: standing, sitting, and on your belly. Laying on your belly in mud and snow to shoot at a paper rabbit is not as fun as it sounds. Seeing a paper rabbit through snow flakes is not easy either.
After you pass the course, you are given a certificate to mail in for you actual hunter’s card. This card allows you to apply for all the big game hunts in Utah, as well as small and upland game. You want to keep a hold of your card. If you want to hunt in other states you usually will have to supply the hard copy and apply for a transfer of certification. Information about the hunter education requirements for different states can be found at the following website: http://www.hunter-ed.com/