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NY Hunter Education course being offered online

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(WBNG) -- The New York Hunter Education course is required to purchase a hunter license in the state.

It's typically offered in-person, but because of the coronavirus, it's now being offered online.

The online course cost $19.95, a new fee put in place by the software developer, which isn't required for the in-person classes.

"We are volunteers, we don't get paid, the DEC doesn't get paid, the only money they get paid from is when you go to get their license," said Broome County hunter safety coordinator Alan Hektor.

While the online class is convenient, hunting officials are voicing concerns about the course being offered in the non-traditional way.

"When we have the training here we do field work. We actually take the students out to the fire range, as you can hear in the background, and we let them shoot state guns," said Hektor.

Hektor says there are things he teaches his students hands-on during a typical eight hour course.

For example, loading your vehicle with your firearm or crossing a fence with your firearm.

Hektor says those field lessons are important for one reason.

"Safety. Our number one concern is safety for the hunter in the field," he said.

Hektor also says the instructors teaching the in-person classes have years of knowledge.

"Most of the instructors are old like myself. My father who is 96 and has been an instructor for 73 years. So we pass on our experiences to the new students," he said.

Having an instructor in the same room allows them to share some real-life experiences.

"People fall out of tree stands, you would not believe it. Experienced hunters, turkey hunters shoot each other. It's things that we pick up on and we tell them there's certain things they can do to prevent incidents," said Hektor.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation says the course will be available online until June 30.

For more information on how to sign up, click here.

Annie Flaherty

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