If you have a child that is 11 years of age or older, they are eligible to take the hunter education course that is required by the state in order to purchase a hunting license. Due to a law passed in 2003, all people born after the January 1, 1985 must show a certificate of completion for this course in order to get their license.

My oldest son is 11 this year and is currently attending one of these courses. It is a lot of work, but he is really enjoying it, and is very excited that he will be able to hunt this fall. My husband is over the moon about this.

My husband has hunted the mountains surrounding Missoula for the past 25 years and is eager to pass this tradition on to his sons. This is a day he has been waiting for for a long time. Some of his fondest memories from his childhood are of camping and hunting.

I have also been eagerly awaiting this day, but for a different reason. I have been looking forward to the time when my husband awakes at 4 a.m. to go hunting and doesn’t wake me up to go with him. Instead, he will be waking our oldest son up at 4 a.m. and I will get to snuggle under the covers and sleep in.

By this weekend, there will be three hunters in our house, provided our son passes the 12 hours of mandatory class time, a field course and a final exam. My son will even get his license for free. In fact, any one 12to 17 years of age from Montana, who completes the course can get their first license for free! All they have to do is stop by the local Fish, Wildlife & Parks office.

If you would like to find out more information you can go to http://fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter/hunterEd.html.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.