Hunter and Trapper Safety and Responsibility
Sportsman education teaches future sportsmen and sportswomen how to be safe, responsible and ethical hunters and trappers. After successful completion of the required course(s), students will receive a certificate of qualification necessary for purchasing a first-time sporting license. Contact us if you need assistance replacing a lost certificate.
Proof of the completed homework must be brought to the course led by an instructor. The homework may take several hours to complete.
There are NO 'online-only' courses. All courses have an in-person field day.
Choose a course below to review course content, requirements, study materials, and to find a course near you.
All courses are free and taught by DEC-certified instructors. Although primarily offered for first-time hunters or trappers, anyone is welcome to attend a sportsman education course, whether it is for a refresher or an interest in the topic.
*New Sportsman Education classes are added continuously throughout the year. Most of the classes are taught between March and September.
*Do not wait until just before the hunting season to take a class. Classes fill quickly, so it is important to sign up early.
Hunter Education - Required for first-time hunters using firearm or archery equipment to pursue big game, small game, turkey, waterfowl and migratory game birds.
Bowhunter Education - Required in addition to the Hunter Education course (above) when using a bow and arrow to pursue deer and bear only (not crossbow). If bowhunting for other wild game, this course is not required but recommended.
Trapper Education - Required for first-time trappers pursuing furbearers.
Waterfowl Hunter Education - Required to gain access to select State and Federal lands (Wildlife Refuges) open to waterfowl hunting.
Crossbow Hunting Qualification - Required for hunters using a crossbow to pursue big game, small game, turkey or unprotected species.
Current and prospective instructors can get all of the information they need by visiting the Teaching Sportsman Education page.
Replace a Lost Certificate
Call 1-888-HUNT-ED2. You will be asked for your name, date of birth, type of course you took and when and where you took the course. Certificates dated earlier than 1980 cannot be found or replaced. If you need a certificate and yours cannot be found, you will need to retake the course.
Other State Certificates
New York State accepts Sportsman Education Certificates from other states when purchasing a sporting licenses.
Certificate Requirements in Other States and Countries: To verify whether a New York State Sportsman Education Certificate is accepted elsewhere, visit the International Hunter Education Association (link leaves DEC website) to find certificate restrictions and requirements in all other states and countries. Many states and countries will require to see your hunter education certificate and will not accept your hunting or trapping license as proof of a certificate.
Contact a Sportsman Education Office near you.
Generally, a hunter education course does not qualify to obtain a pistol permit in New York State. Please check with your county clerk's office or county sheriff's office for more information regarding pistol permits.
The New York State's Sportsman Education Program is funded by purchases of sporting licenses through the New York State Conservation Fund and purchases of firearms, ammunitions, traps, etc. through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund (External Link).
Sportsman Education courses are available to all individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to the Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C. 20240.
More about Sportsman Education:
- Hunter Education - Required for first-time hunters using firearm or archery equipment to pursue big game, small game, turkey, waterfowl and migratory game birds.
- Bowhunter Education - Required in addition to the Hunter Education course when using a bow and arrow to pursue deer and bear only. If bowhunting for other wild game, this course is not required but recommended.
- Trapper Education - Required for first-time trappers pursuing furbearers or small game.
- Waterfowl Hunter Education - Required to gain access to select State Parks and National Wildlife Refuges open to waterfowl hunting.
- Crossbow Hunting Qualification - Required online training for all hunters that intend to hunt with a crossbow.
- Teaching Sportsman Education - Information for current and prospective Sportsman Education instructors.
- Contact a Sportsman Education Office - List of contact numbers for DEC's Regional Sportsman Education Offices.
- Hunter Safety Basics - Information on safe use of firearms, tree stand safety tips, benefits of wearing hunter orange, and fitness and health information for hunters.
- Hunter Safety Statistics - This page is designed to keep the public updated on any Sportsman Education news. It will provide information on NYS volunteer instructors, coordinators, and any other exciting Sportsman Education news.
- Shooting Range Small Grants Program - Infomation on the Shooting Range Small Grants Program and instructions for applying for a grant.