Almost every Department of Fish & Game Hunter Education Instructor particularly at this time of year, gets this call – “I’ve lost my certificate and I am going to Colorado, and I just found out that they require a Hunter Ed certificate!”
Well there are two problems here, first is that this intrepid hunter didn’t do due diligence!
It is your responsibility as a hunter to obtain, study and digest ALL of the requirements and regulations for the State you want to hunt in. This means not only California regs if you want to hunt here, but those of any other state that you may care to hunt in.
The second concern would be that if this intrepid hunter was this unprepared regarding the regulations for Colorado, he probably will be unprepared for the kind of conditions he may encounter there, but that is another issue.
Generally, the very next words out of the hunters mouth are, “Well I have hunted here in California all my life, and no-one has ever asked for it before, I just take in my license from last year”. This is indeed true that the agents for the DFG and the DFG themselves will accept a license from the past two years, or the certificate of completion.
He then asks “Are there any records so that he can get a copy of the certificate, or does he have to take the class again?” The answer to this question depends on when the hunter took his class! The California Department of Fish & Game started keeping electronic records of classes in about late 1989. This means anyone taking a class prior to that date will not be in the records. Obviously both the warehousing of paper records or searching through paper records for a given student is both impractical and too costly.
90% of the time the student/hunter is not even sure which year they took the class let alone the month!
So where does this leave our hunter? He has a few options, none of which are going to be very pleasant for him/her.
Option 1: Retake the standard 10 hour class and obtain a new certificate, thereby getting into the DFG records and should he/she lose that certificate they can easily obtain one from the DFG or the instructor who gave him/her the class.
Option 2: Take an on-line course and attend a 4 class and obtain a new certificate.
Option 3 : Go to a DFG office, our nearest are in Yountville or Sacramento, and sign an affidavit for which you will receive a different certificate called a equivalency certificate. Which enable the hunter to purchase a license in California, however, Colorado and some other states will not accept this certificate, they require to see the Certificate of Completion.
You may ask why such a hard line situation?
Well it is quite simple for a number of years Colorado experienced an inordinate amount of poaching by California hunters. Shooting after and before legal light, adult hunters that had purchased licenses and tags for their sons who were not even going on the hunt, and then filling those tags by shooting deer themselves. These are but a few of the atrocities that California hunters were committing. One Texan shot a moose and thought it was an Elk, so Colorado cracked down on all out of state hunters.
If you are in this situation, and need a class quickly, check the DFG web site, and you will find a class at Chabot Gun Club in Castro Valley this Saturday and an On-line class at the Bow Rack in Martinez on Sunday morning. Call The Bow Rack for reserving a place, 925-229-8046. For the class at Chabot gun club arrive at 05:30, be prepared to be there until 19:30, it is a first come first serve, is not well suited to those under 14, and can only accept 40 students. Go to www.Chabotgunclub.com for directions, and bring a lunch.