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Program History & Significance

In 1956, Rhode Island enacted legislation mandating training in safe hunting practices and the handling and use of firearms and bow & arrow for those individuals applying for a license for the first time. Since the inception of the program, well over 40,000 individuals have completed the course, resulting in a significant decrease in hunting-related accidents not only locally, but also throughout the country.

According to National Safety Council data, individuals who participate in hunting have a significantly lower injury rate (8 injuries per 100,000 participants) than those involved in golf (104.4 injuries/100,00), fishing (141 injuries/100,000), soccer (900 injuries/100,00), baseball (2089 injuries/100,00), or football (2171 injuries/100,000).

Injury rates have steadily declined through the years as more and more individuals become educated. The course has evolved over time to include subjects that have become increasingly important in current times such as landowner relations, hunter ethics, and wildlife management. The Rhode Island Division of Fish & Wildlife in conjunction with volunteer instructors and sportsmen's clubs throughout the state administer the program.