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MDNR Report

Just in time for fall hunting and fishing – hunters, anglers and boaters have a new option to earn the required recreational safety certificate before hitting the woods or water.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources now offers hunter education and boater safety as interactive online courses, giving students an enhanced experience that exposes them to real-life hunting and boating scenarios.

“We’re excited to offer students this new learning opportunity,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, DNR recreational safety, education and enforcement supervisor. “Both the interactive hunting and boating programs are offered in other states and have received ‘five star’ reviews.”

The interactive learning options are offered in addition to the existing traditional classroom and online learning options for both hunter and boater safety; hunter safety continues to be available as a take-home study course, too.

While virtually navigating a vessel, students may approach a sailboat and must determine the best way to manage the encounter. Or, while learning the different parts of a firearm, they will be asked to click the circle that points to the safety.

“The difference between the online interactive and online courses is that the interactive courses include virtual elements that engage students to make their own critical decisions throughout the lesson,” Wanless said. “It’s a more hands-on learning approach compared to the traditional online courses.”

Interactive hunter safety

Featuring 45 interactive assessments, the ilearntohunt content is reviewed and approved by the International Hunter Education Association U.S.A. Students actively participate from the comfort of their own learning setting. Once they successfully navigate their personalized hunting experience, students will need to attend the required in-person field day to receive their hunter safety certificate.

Field days are in-person, one-day sessions in which students must demonstrate a variety of skills, such as safe firearm handling and shooting.

Online and take-home study students also must schedule and attend the required field day once they successfully complete their program.

To purchase a hunting license in Michigan, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1960, is required to successfully complete an approved hunter education course. Register for hunter education and/or field days at Michigan.gov/HunterEducation.

Interactive boater safety

Boater safety students who opt for the interactive program will follow a storyline adventure that places them in real-life boating scenarios. Approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the ilearntoboat program allows students to navigate the curriculum at their own pace and complete the required assessments, including a final exam.

Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators who operate a vessel in Michigan must have a boating safety certificate.

The Michigan DNR recreational safety certificate is valid in other states, which often require an approved boater safety certificate to rent a boat or personal watercraft (such as a JetSki).

Register for a traditional classroom, interactive or online boater safety education course at Michigan.gov/RecreationalSafety.