Hunting season is a long way off, but now is the time for those interested in hunting next winter to sign up for Hunter’s Education classes. According to FWP spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser, the first round of classes in the Missoula area begin next week.

"A lot of those classes have been set and the schedules are all online and you can actually register for classes that way too," Crowser said. "It's really easy to go onto the FWP website at and check out the class schedule. You can search by community or by zip code and pick one that fits your schedule."

The first set of classes is already full, but there are more options over the next few months. All bow hunters and many rifle hunters are required to take the courses.

"It is required if you were born after January 1, 1985," Crowser said. "Adults that are new to hunting, maybe didn't take their Hunter Ed class when they were younger and are looking for course options:  For those people that are 18 or older, you can do a lot of your course work online. You will have to do a field course, but it is condensed from what the regular class work would be."

There may be a lot of younger hunters taking the class this year as the Apprentice Hunter program allows hunters as young as 10 out in the field. The courses are free, unless one is taking the course online, in which case there is a 30 dollar fee.