Preliminary approval was given by the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners at its recent quarterly meeting to regulatory changes that will enable the agency to implement improvements to the hunter education replacement training certificate process by providing for online fulfillment capabilities.

"These proposed changes will provide for future hunter education program flexibility, which will result in a significant improvement to customer service," PGC executive director Carl Roe said. "Once implemented, hunters will have the ability to reprint a certificate of hunter education from a third-party vendor for a fee."

Roe noted that, as envisioned, the agency would contract with a third-party company to implement a fully-automatic online system so that a hunter who took the course since 1987 could download a replacement card for a fee paid to the vendor, 24-hours a day, seven-days-a-week. For those who were certified prior to 1987, there still would be a certification process, but this could be done online, 24-hours a day, seven-days-a-week, too.

"We believe that this will result in a significant improvement to customer service, and certainly help hunters who find themselves in need of securing a certification card quickly," Roe said.

PGC Hunter-Trapper Education Course records dating back to 1987 are maintained on a computer database. Presently, if a hunter loses their certification card, they need to contact the agency's Hunter-Trapper Education Division for assistance in obtaining a replacement certificate.

If a hunter took the course before 1987, the individual must complete a Hunter Education Program Replacement Certificate Affidavit form, sign it and have it notarized before it is returned to the Hunter-Trapper Education Division. Replacement certificates are usually mailed in 10-14 days upon receipt of an application, and there is a $10 fee for issuing a replacement certificate.

*******

Free outdoors-related activities geared for all ages will highlight the 12th annual Bear Creek Festival, Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds, Route 895 West, Summit Station. This family oriented event is sponsored by the Schuylkill County Conservation District and offers visitors numerous educational activities related to our environment. Activities include building bluebird houses, painting flower pots, a fishing derby, a demonstration by DEKKA-HAUS German shepherds, live animal presentations by the Red Creek Wildlife Center and loading and firing demonstrations of flintlock muzzleloader rifles.

*******

Blue Ridge Rifles Muzzleloader Club, Coon Club Road, located off Route 183, south of Summit Station, will be the site of the Eastern Pennsylvania Rendezvous and Muzzleloader Shoot, Thursday-Monday, May 23-27, with shooting events Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for campers and day shooters.

Matches are for flintlock and traditional percussion ignition rifles, smoothbores and pistols with paper targets shot at 25 and 50 yards and a primitive match with novelty targets. There is also primitive archery and knife and hawk competition.

For information access the Blue Ridge Rifles page on Facebook.

*******

A combination fun shoot and instructional course for pistols will be Sunday, May 26, beginning at 9 a.m. at Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club, New Tripoli.

There will be six different stages and the program will be taught by certified instructors and range officers, focusing on safety and shooting rules and etiquette.

Matches will be held for stationary and moving targets.