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DEC certification classes change course

For decades the Calendar on the Outdoors Page has posted Department of Environmental Conservation classes for hunter, bow, trapper, waterfowl identification and other courses that require certification.

Class offerings will continue to appear on the page, but the DEC has adopted a new computerized system that no longer provides advanced listings for all course offerings statewide.

“The system is actually easier and less work-intensive,” DEC sportsmen education coordinator Ken Baginski said of the new format.

Now, a prospective hunter (gun or bow), trapper or anyone interested in other certification courses can simply go to the DEC website, select a specific class, enter a Zip Code and choose a distance from that code site for areas from 10 to 75 miles away where classes will be offered in coming weeks. Each selection gives the distance from a home site to the class location.

Students can select either traditional classes (taught by instructors entirely at a site) or home study courses (with work required prior to the meeting date or dates). Traditional classes are free; some home study courses include fees for instruction materials.

Class times, dates, format and contact information are provided for each class. Many entries also include a map of the area and some even have a photo of the meeting site.

A prospective student can simply click on the “Special Registration” box for sign-up instructions for a specific class. Once a class is filled, it is immediately removed from the selection pool.

DEC course instructors may choose to have their specific classes published on the Outdoors Page, but most entries will continue for firearms, boating, wilderness, first aid and other courses not offered through the DEC sportsmen education program.

To view the new format and make course selections, go to