Hunter education is a great idea for any hunter, especially those who are young and new to the sport to ensure they understand the safe handling of firearms both in the field and at home.

South Dakota law also requires potential hunters under the age of 16 to complete a hunter education course. Students must be at least 11 years old to take the course.

Hunters wishing to complete the South Dakota hunter certification course can now study for it online.

The online component of the course was approved by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) this week.

An online component of South Dakota’s HuntSAFE program has been available for a few years, but Jason Kool, GFP program specialist says, "We want parents and students to know we have switched vendors and that this new course continues to allow students the flexibility of completing half of their certification process online."

A student that passes the online portion of the course, is then eligible and equipped to participate in the required, in-person HuntSAFE field day.

Kool says, "The HuntSAFE course does a quality job of teaching the information and skills to students, to ensure that they will be safe, legal, and responsible in the field.”

The online portion of the South Dakota hunter education course is a nice alternative to the free traditional classroom instruction program that is typically offered March through October.

The online portion of the course runs $15.00 and offers students the ability to take the course at any time from their computer, smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device.

After completing the course, students will register and participate in an in-person Independent Study Field Day which takes about 4-6 hours where they will review the knowledge and skills learned online and take a written HuntSAFE final exam.

Here's how to get started.