50th anniversary of Hunter Training Act

SANTA FE – The state’s first mandatory hunter education law — the Hunter Training Act — turned 50 this year. The act has served a major role in ensuring the safety of hunters and hunting activities since its inception.

The New Mexico State Legislature passed the Hunter Training Act in 1972. This act allowed the State Game Commission to adopt regulations requiring all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1958 to complete a hunter education course and possess a certificate in order to hunt with or shoot a firearm.

The law originally required hunter education in order to shoot a firearm under any circumstance, even in a supervised program or on a certified range. The law was amended in 1976 to limit the education requirement only to hunting for those under 18.

Since the Hunter Training Act was established in 1972, 121,202 students have successfully earned their New Mexico Hunter Education Certification. Today, 315 active instructors take part in New Mexico’s Hunter Education Program by teaching classes and leading youth hunting camps. Instructors include both volunteers and department staff.

“The department’s hunter education efforts since the passage of the Hunter Training Act 50 years ago have helped hunting become and remain a safe outdoor sport for New Mexico’s families to enjoy,” said Michael Sloane, director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “Such an accomplishment would not be possible without the tireless work of our volunteer and staff hunter education instructors who have helped ensure safe hunting for past, current and future generations.” Please visit the Hunter Education Program’s webpage for more information about the department’s Hunter Education Program or to enroll in a class.