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Minnesota hunters need to sign up for class now before hunting this fall

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Hunters planning on hunting need to sign up for a firearms safety hunter education class now.

That's what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is telling hunters across the gopher state.

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DNR officials say that hunters can not buy a hunting license in Minnesota and many other states unless they have completed the training.

"Instructors throughout the state are gearing up for the late summer fall rush," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR hunter education coordinator. "So now is the time to start planning for the fall hunting season by registering for a class today."

In Minnesota, hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must complete a DNR firearms safety training course, or equivalent course from another state before purchasing a license for big or small game.

"Every year we have hopeful hunters who wait until the last minute when courses are no longer available," Hammer said.

Hammer added that while the DNR is usually are able to get the latecomers into a class somewhere, there are a few who cannot hunt because they didn't plan early."

He added that the vast majority of volunteer instructors are also hunters and their goal is to have most of the courses completed prior to the small game opener.

Hunters who do not plan now frequently encounter problems when they hunt out of state. Many states have more stringent requirements than Minnesota when it comes to mandatory hunter education requirements. Colorado, for example, requires a hunter education certificate for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1949. Neighboring states such as North Dakota and Iowa have requirements for those born after 1961 and 1967.

"If you have lost your certificate or have questions about certification from other states, now is the time to get a certificate in your hand so you won't miss the opportunity to hunt in Minnesota or take that trip of a lifetime to Colorado this fall," Hammer said.

Late summer and fall classes are now available, and new classes are posted every day. Classes fill-up fast this time of year. For more information and class listings, log on to www.dnr.state.mn.us, or call:

651-296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

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