Florida’s certified bowhunting course is now available online from the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF).
Bowhunters can access the program on the NBEF Web site, enter through the Florida portal and complete the online classroom topics before attending a shortened, interactive field day.
The cost to take the distance learning course is $20, payable online to the NBEF program provider. A student who passes the online test will be issued a qualifier certificate that will enable the student to complete the course at a field day. There the student will participate in field walks, blood trail exercises, erecting and safely ascending and descending from tree stands, as well as equipment preparation and survival techniques.
Bowhunting certification is not mandatory in Florida to purchase a license, however, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) volunteer instructors provide this course as an additional service to those who plan to bowhunt in a state that requires the additional certification, as well as those hunters who want to learn more about safe bowhunting. The 14 states that require NBEF Bowhunting Certification are Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont. It is also required in the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec.
Students should bring their own equipment to shoot at the field day, but bows can be provided. Students should dress in hunting attire with proper footwear. Sandals are not allowed. Arrows should have field tips only. Targets for shooting arrows with broadheads will not be available. Students under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
The Web site to take Florida’s online course is www.bowhunter-ed.com/fl/index.htm. For a list of field days offered by the FWC Hunter Safety and Ranges Section, visit www.MyFWC.com/huntered/ and look through the course schedules for “Bowhunting only – distance learning field day.” The FWC plans to offer one field day each month somewhere in the state. Florida still offers the free traditional bowhunting course. Look for the listing that states “Bowhunting course only – traditional course.”
While on the FWC Web site, hunters can sign up for a free hunter safety course. Many are available throughout the state during the spring and summer months, but they fill up quickly as it gets closer to the hunting seasons.