Minnesota residents 18 and older can now take the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources firearms (DNR) safety hunter education course online.

The new training option includes a virtual field day that emphasizes responsible gun handling and hunting safety. Students who complete the course are issued a voucher that they can use to complete their certification immediately or attend an instructor led field day.

"This will greatly increase certification accessibility to working adults and military personnel who traditionally have conflicts trying to scheduling a multi-week classroom course," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement education program coordinator.

Minnesota and Iowa are the first states to offer this option for adults. The online course takes about nine hours to complete and is interactive with narration, quizzes and final exam.

Both the main course and field day include a virtual range where students can shoot various firearms and action types at a variety of targets and distances. There's even instruction on how to properly sight-in rifles and pattern a shotgun.

For a link to the course go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/firearms_isa/index.html.