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Now is the time to take a hunter safety course

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With the fall hunting seasons just around the corner, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges hunters to sign up now for a hunter education class.

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"Though classes are held throughout the year, their numbers peak in the summer and early fall," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator. "So now is the time to sign up and complete a course, because once the hunting season gets rolling, it might be too late."

Besides ensuring the ability to hunt this year, taking the class sooner rather than later means more time for scouting hunting locations, sighting-in rifles, practicing shotgun skills and securing permission to hunt on private lands.

Minnesota hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must take a DNR hunter education firearms safety training course and receive a certificate of completion before buying a license for big or small game.

Classes are taught by DNR certified volunteers in their local communities. Students, depending on their age, have a few options to become certified. Regardless of which option they choose the course provides them with basic safe firearms handling skills, wildlife identification, outdoor skills and responsibility that accompanies hunting and firearms use.

Classes fill-up fast. To find a class, visit http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/firearms/index.html, 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

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