NYS Sportsman Education Program
Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, Waterfowl Hunter Education
Applications for the Shooting Range Small Grant Program are currently being accepted. The deadline for application submission is June 14, 2013
Do you want to go hunting? Don't wait to find a course!
All first-time hunters, bowhunters and trappers must pass one or more courses before they can get a license in New York State. Trained instructors certified by the Department of Environmental Conservation teach safe and responsible outdoors practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation. All courses are free of charge, but space may be limited. As hunting seasons approach, many classes are filled quickly. Sign up early!
Courses develop skills and attitudes which help students to be better hunters, and ....
- Respect people, wildlife, nature
- Respect public and private property
- Practice safe and ethical behavior
- Appreciate man as a part of nature
- Support conservation efforts
- Be examples of responsible hunting and trapping
Course Requirements for Licenses:
- All Hunting and Bowhunting Licenses--To qualify for any license to hunt (with firearms or bows), the applicant must present either: (1) proof that he or she successfully completed an approved hunter education course; or (2) proof that he or she previously held a hunting license.
- Bowhunting--In addition to the requirements for all hunters to qualify to hunt deer or bear with bow and arrow, the applicant must present either: (1) proof that he or she successfully completed an approved bowhunter education course; (Note: Approved courses are International Bowhunter Education Program Courses or an equivalent course. If in doubt, call toll free - 1-888-HUNT-ED2.) or (2) proof that he or she previously held a New York State bowhunting license or stamp issued in 1980 or later.
- Crossbow Hunting - Please note: the law allowing use of crossbows expired on December 31, 2012. Crossbows may no longer be used for hunting in New York.
- Waterfowl Hunting--Requires a small game hunting license and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp. Only the basic hunter education course (see requirements for all hunters) is required for the license, but a Waterfowl Hunter Education course is required to hunt waterfowl on some special hunting areas.
- Trapping--To qualify for any license to trap, the applicant must present either: (1) proof that he or she successfully completed an approved course in responsible trapping practices; or (2) proof that he or she previously held a trapping license.
- Hunter Education: required for all hunting licenses, including bow and arrow. Covers basic firearms handling and outdoor skills plus hunting techniques. Minimum course time: 10 hours. Minimum age for course: 11 years. (Minimum age for a license is 12 years.) Attention: All students under 16 years of age are required to bring a permission slip (PDF) (54 KB) signed by a parent or legal guardian.
- Bowhunter Education: required to hunt deer and bear with bow and arrow. Teaches the things that make bowhunting a special challenge, making you a more successful hunter. Minimum course time: 8 hours. Minimum age for course: 11 years. Note: you must be 12 years of age to hunt big game with bow and arrow.
- Combination Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education Course:required for all hunting licenses, including bow and arrow. This is a home study course that requires the student to complete both a hunter workbook and bowhunter workbook before attending the course, followed by a minimum 12 hour field day course. Age requirements remain the same as above for both Hunter and Bowhunter Education.
- Trapper Education: required for all new trappers. Covers how to trap responsibly, avoiding unwanted species. Teaches students how to treat pelts to produce marketable furs. Minimum course time: 8 hours. No age limit.
- Waterfowl Hunter Education: required for some special hunting areas. This course helps you identify ducks, geese and other waterfowl on the wing. Minimum course time: 3 hours. No age limits.
How to Find a Course
Courses in your area may be listed in:
- statewide list of classes
- the "outdoors" section of your local newspaper
- stores that sell hunting supplies
- rod and gun clubs
- town clerk offices and other sporting license sales outlets
For more information and class schedules, call or write your Regional Sportsman Education Office.
Requirements for Other States and Countries
If you plan to hunt in another state, you should know that many states will NOT accept your New York State hunting license to obtain a license in that state. Instead, you will need to produce and carry a hunter education certificate. Visit the International Hunter Education Association web site to find hunter education information for other states and provinces.
If You Lose Your Certificate
If you lose your hunter education certificate and have taken the course since 1980, call your nearest DEC Regional Office or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 and ask that you be looked up on our database of Sportsman Ed graduates. DEC's Sportsman Education Program might be able to verify that you have successfully completed a course from this database (supply your name, date of birth, type of course and when and where you took the course).
More about NYS Sportsman Education Program:
- Sportsman Education Classes - Current list of Sportsman Education Classes
- Shooting Range Small Grants Program - Infomation on the Shooting Range Small Grants Program and instructions for applying for a grant.
- Resources for Students and Instructors - Includes a manual for the Trapper Education course, as well as the Sportsman Education Program Instructor Handbook.
- Sportsman Education News - 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.
- Internet Introduction to Hunter Education - Courses scheduled in New York State
- How to Become a Sportsman Education Instructor - Requirements to become a Sportsman Education Instructor
- Hunting Safety - Safe Hunting Rules 1-2-3-4 Orange
- DEC Regional Sportsman Education Offices - Listed below are DEC Regions, counties, and Regional Sportsman Education office phone numbers for course information.