huntsafe course details

2013 summary

  • 154 classes
  • 3,651 students certified
  • Recent history:
    3,202 students certified
    141 classes
    3,668 students certified
    155 classes
    3,689 students certified
    160 classes
    3,697 students certified
    164 classes
    4,114 students certified
    160 classes
    4,046 students certified
    159 classes
    3,696 students certified
    151 classes
    3,636 students certified
    155 classes
    3,831 students certified
    160 classes
    3,996 students certified
    169 classes

Quick facts

  • In 1955 the South Dakota Legislature made hunter safety education a requirement in state law
  • First courses taught in 1956
  • Minimum of 10 hours of instruction is required, covering topics such as hunter ethics, hunter responsibility, wildlife identification, conservation, safe handling of firearms and personal safety
  • All program funding comes from license fees paid by sportsmen and women or through provisions of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Preservation Act of 1937. No state general fund tax money is used to fund HuntSAFE courses
  • Volunteer instructors schedule and teach local courses in conjunction with the local Wildlife Conservation Officer
  • Course curriculum and learning standards have been approved/adopted from the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA)
  • In 2012, the South Dakota Hunter Safety and Firearms Education course certified it's 250,000th student

HuntSAFE Classes

Students must attend all scheduled course meetings. No absences will be accepted.

There will be a written test at the end of the course. Students are also evaluated on their skills and attitude throughout the course.

Most courses include a live-fire exercise, under the close supervision of the instructors. Students will be expected to demonstrate what they have learned about firearms safety.

Getting a License

Remember, a HuntSAFE card is not a hunting license. It is a required of young people age 12, or who will turn 12 by Dec. 31 of the current year, to purchase a license.

A parent or guardian must accompany youth under the age of 16 to a license agent and present the card.

Show the license agent your HuntSAFE Card and purchase a Youth Small Game license. This will license the young hunter for all small game, including upland birds, furbearers, predators and varmints. To hunt migratory birds, (waterfowl, mourning doves, snipe) youth hunters must also fill out and purchase a Migratory Bird Certification.

Big game, turkey, swan or special Canada goose licenses are by application only. You may apply online for these licenses.

HuntSAFE and Bowhunter Education

Your HuntSAFE certification does not serve as bowhunter education certification.

There is a separate course in Bowhunter Education and you need to complete both to be eligible for an archery license.

GFP regulations require all archery hunters between the ages of 12-15 to successfully complete an approved bowhunter education course. These courses are taught in conjunction with the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF).

Question and Answer

Does an adult have to be with young hunters while hunting?

Hunters under the age of 16 must be accompanied in the field at all times by a parent, guardian or responsible adult who is at least 18 years of age.

What if I don't intend to hunt but want to learn about proper handling and storage of firearms?

While this course is primarily designed for youth who wish to begin hunting, it is valuable for anyone who has firearms in the home or who wants to know more about storing and handling guns safely.

After I turn 16 years old, do I still need my card?
YES... keep your Hunter Safety card permanently.

Many states require all hunters, regardless of age or experience, to show proof of completion of a hunter safety course as a licensing requirement.

What should I do if I lose my card?
You may replace your card online and print off a copy from home.

You may request a replacement card by E-mail. In your request, include your name as it would appear on your HuntSAFE card, your date of birth, and full mailing address.

You may also call the HuntSAFE office at 605.223.7700

When and where is the next HuntSAFE course being offered?
Some communities offer courses in the spring, but most are early in the fall. You will find a partial listing on the GFP website. You may also contact your local volunteer instructor or conservation officer for further information.

Access to the HuntSAFE Course:

  • Any HuntSAFE student with special needs is urged to notify the instructor prior to the course.
  • Advance notice will allow instructors to make a reasonable effort to accommodate persons with special needs.
  • Family or friends may be asked to read or translate course materials or assist individuals with special needs.
  • Verbal examinations may be administered. However, each student is responsible for mastering course content, knowing the correct answers on examinations and successfully completing field tests.
Access to the course is guaranteed, but certification is not automatic for any student.