There's still time to take a hunter-education course, buy a license and go hunting this year.

But the clock is ticking.

While courses are scheduled into November, and a number of seats remain available for some of them, others have already filled or are nearly full.

And once the remaining scheduled courses fill up, those looking to buy a Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license for the first time will have to wait until next year, when additional courses are scheduled.

"There have been opportunities all summer for prospective first-time license buyers to become certified through a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course, and time still remains," said Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe. "But the number of available seats is shrinking daily, and in some cases by the hour or minute, and those who still need to reserve a spot might not want to risk waiting any longer."

Basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) is mandatory for anyone, regardless of their age, who purchases a Pennsylvania hunting license for the first time. There is no fee charged for the course, and youngsters must be at least 11 years old to receive HTE certification.

There has been an increased demand for HTE in recent years and, in particular, a demand for more courses as the calendar creeps toward Thanksgiving and the opening of the annual firearms season for deer. The Game Commission has responded by adding more courses to the October and November schedules, and this year, a record number of seats in HTE courses have been made available.

The Game Commission also has tried to make HTE courses more convenient for families by scheduling more classes on Saturdays and Sundays.

HTE courses generally are about six hours long and are completed in one or two sessions.

For those who are seeking certification, but who can't attend a traditional HTE course, there is an independent-study version of the course. The independent-study course requires a greater time commitment overall (eight to 10 hours), but the actual classroom time is for test-taking only and lasts about two to three hours.

All registration for traditional and independent study HTE courses can be completed online through the Game Commission's website, www.pgc.state.pa.us. Click on the "Hunter Education Classes" icon in the center of the homepage, then click either "Hunter-Trapper Education" or "Hunter-Trapper Education Independent Study."

Since 1959, more than 1.8 million students have been certified through Pennsylvania hunter-education courses.

Also there is currently a hunter's education class scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 30 (two day course) at Mt. Pisgah State Park. There is room in the class for 30 people but there are currently less than 10 people registered so there are still spots open.

Article submitted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.