HARRISONBURG, Va.--- People prepare ahead of the kick off of the hunting season in October. Nearly 40 students took a basic hunter education course, a required class for first time hunters 12 and older who want to get a license.
Tiffany Taylor is one of the 20 women taking the class. She said hunting is part of a family tradition.
"The family comes back and skins the deer together, we just make it a family event so I thought why not me join," said Taylor.
The six to eight hour course teaches firearm safety, hunting ethics and conservation.
"I think no matter what, if you are going to hunt all the time or if you are not. I think you should still take this course because it definitely showed me a lot of safety precautions that you just do not think of when you are out hunting or you get the rush of hunting," said Taylor.
Hunting instructor Randy Hill said this course helps reduce hunting accidents every year.
"We want you to make safe, ethical decisions while in the woods, please always make sure of your target and beyond. and treat every gun as if it were loaded," said Hill.
During the course, students learn things like how to safely pass a gun to someone else.
"Just like handling guns. I knew how to handle them, but knowing more about them and having the hands-on opportunity to work with them is really nice." said Taylor.
Hill said it is nice to see an increase in women interested in hunting this year. Half of the attendees of this class were women.
"Hunting is not just for the men in the world. It's for the females too and I see a lot of more females that want to do the firearms season too," said Hill.
Taylor said it should be an activity for everyone.
"Girls should have the opportunity as well as guys," said Taylor.
Taylor plans to go on her first hunt on youth day on Sept. 28.
Hill said if you are a first-time hunter, you can also purchase an apprentice license before completing the department's hunter education course. The person is expected to complete the class within a two-year period.
If you would like to sign up for a basic hunter education course, you can visit
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