Student learning how to safely
handle a firearm
The Hunter Education course is required for learning the necessary safety techniques and responsibilities as a hunter when using a gun, muzzleloader or bow to pursue wild game.
Additional requirements for bowhunting big game: If hunting deer or bear with a bow, you must also take a Bowhunter Education course. DEC offers a convenient Combination Bowhunter and Hunter Education course for you to take both courses at once.
Register for a Hunter Education Course
There are two types of courses to consider when you register for a Hunter Education course (see table below). Be sure you select the appropriate course type that best accommodates your needs.
|Course Type||Online Registration Link||Course Information|
Register for a Hunter Education Traditional Course
The traditional course is taught completely by an instructor or team of instructors. All study materials are supplied at the time of the course. In most instances, this is the only course type offered.
|Home Study Course||
Register for a Hunter Education Home Study Course
Both parts of a home study course listed below must be completed. Students should register for this type of course prior to starting the homework.
Part 2 - Attend a field session led by an instructor:
General Course Details and Requirements
Course Topics Covered
- Firearm handling and safety techniques
- History of firearms
- Knowledge of firearms and ammunition
- Proper gun handling and storage
- Marksmanship fundamentals
- Specific laws and regulations
- Principles of wildlife management and wildlife identification
- Outdoor Safety
- Hunter ethics
- Hunter responsibility toward wildlife, the environment, landowners and the general public
Students must be 11 years or older to take this course (Note: In New York State the minimum age to hunt is 12-years old).
Students 11 to 16-years old must have a signed permission slip (PDF) (54 KB) from a parent or legal guardian to allow for the handling and shooting of a firearm during this course.
Minimum of 10 hours.
Hunter Education Certificate
Students must attend all sessions of the course, demonstrate proper attitude and safety, and pass a final exam of 50 questions. After successful completion of the course, students will receive a Hunter Education Certificate of Qualification, which is required for purchasing a first-time hunting license in New York State.