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, crossbow 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.
Register for a Hunter Education Course
Register for a Hunter Education Course (link leaves DEC's website). You must attend the entire field session on the date(s) and at the location indicated on the course schedule listing.
All Hunter Education Courses require the completion of homework prior to attending the course.
Proof of completed homework must be brought to the course led by an instructor. The homework will take several hours to complete.
There are NO 'online-only' courses. All courses have an in-person field day.
Homework and Study Materials
You can complete the homework several ways (please choose one):
- Print and complete the Hunter Education Homework Worksheet (PDF, 149 KB). Refer to the Today's Hunter Manual (link leaves DEC's website) to complete the homework. If you prefer a hard copy, the manual and worksheet can be picked up at most DEC Wildlife offices or may be available for pick up at other locations as specified in the course instructions. (Cost: Free).
- Take and complete an online course through either of the following. There is a non-DEC fee involved, which is noted below. Available online courses (links leave DEC's website): register for New York Hunter Safety Course on huntercourse.com (Cost: $24.95) or register for New York Hunter Safety Course on hunter-ed.com (Cost: $24.50).
Once the online course is completed you will print out a completion voucher. Bring that voucher to the course led by an instructor as proof of completed homework.
General Course Details and Requirements
Course Topics Covered
- Firearm and crossbow 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, 106 KB) from a parent or legal guardian to allow for the handling and shooting of a firearm during this course.
Minimum of 7 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.