The National Rifle Association’s free online Hunter Education Course has raised more than $150,000 in matching Pittman-Robertson funds for state wildlife agencies. Although the critical funding is primarily used for conservation, it also goes for securing land for shooting ranges, maintenance, development, and more.
“It is truly a win-win for everyone,” said Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr., executive director of NRA General Operations. “With no financial investment of their own, states can now access match money and new hunters will receive top-notch free education and certification.”
In 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said wildlife agencies can count NRA’s free Online Hunter Education Courses as in-kind matching dollars to access Pittman-Robertson funds, which are generated from federal excise taxes paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers. Oklahoma was one of the first to take advantage of the change.
“Thanks to our partnership with the NRA and NRA-ILA, thousands of Oklahomans have taken the NRA free on-line hunter education course,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation. “Our transition from our own online course to the NRA course was smooth and flawless. In addition to great content, delivered at no cost, the ODWC has already received $81,880 in federal matching funds, due to the NRA’s donation of the course.”
Florida was also an early adopter of NRA’s free online hunter education courses. To date it has received $70,000 in federal matching funds.
“The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is committed to providing a variety of educational formats and opportunities to satisfy the needs of those interested in learning how to be safe, knowledgeable, responsible and involved hunters,” said Bill Cline, FWC’s section leader for Hunter Safety and Public Shooting Ranges. “We appreciate NRA’s support of our program and their investment in producing a high-quality course that students can take for free.”
For a preview of the free NRA Online Hunter Education Course, visit NRAHE.org. For information on getting the course approved for use in your state, you can also e-mail [email protected] or call (800) 492-4868.