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Hunter safety starts April 5

The annual spring session of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunter Safety Education Course in River Falls is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m., at Meyer Middle School, 230 N. Ninth St.

All students are required to obtain a DNR customer service number before any Hunter Safety Class, and are required to provide that Wisconsin DNR customer ID number, along with personal information to the instructor.

A Wisconsin DNR customer ID number can be obtained by calling the DNR Customer Service Center at 1-888-936-7463, or you can visit a Wisconsin DNR Service Center during its regular scheduled hours. For more information, visit online.

The registration fee is $10 and is nonrefundable. Course registrants who are not yet 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who must attend the entire session the evening of registration.

Registration will occur outside the school auditorium on a first-come, first-served basis and be limited to the first 80 registrants. No registration will occur before 6:30 p.m. and the session will end by 8:30 p.m.

Anyone wishing to hunt any type of game in Wisconsin who was born after Jan. 1, 1973, is required by law to complete a certified hunter safety course of instruction. Many states require hunter safety certification for all non-resident hunters. Graduates of this course will receive a lifetime certificate that is recognized throughout the country.

For Wisconsin residents, the certificate is valid in lieu of a small game license for the year it is issued and may be used as an "antlerless tag" while deer hunting (subject to some restrictions). Course participants should reach the age of 12 within six months of completion to consider enrolling.

Hunter safety education in Wisconsin has contributed to a 90 percent reduction of hunting accidents in the state. In 1967, the year formal hunter safety education began, there were 44 hunting accidents per 100,000 hunters in Wisconsin. In 1997, there were four hunting accidents per 100,000 hunters in the state.

The course includes 11 sessions in all. Session dates are April 5, 7, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25 and 26.

Weekday sessions are from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Meyer Middle School. The Saturday, April 23, session will be from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at the River Falls Sportsmen's Club on Rifle Range Road.

Course participants must attend all evening sessions to graduate. The Saturday afternoon session is optional. If all of the evening sessions cannot be attended, prospective students should not enroll for this class.