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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Combination Hunter and Bowhunter Education

Students learning proper techniques for firearm handling (top image) and bow handling (bottom image)

The combination course covers both the Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education requirements needed for purchasing licenses/privileges to hunt with a gun, muzzleloader, crossbow or bow for big game, small game, turkey, waterfowl and migratory game birds during open hunting seasons.

Register for a Combination Hunter and Bowhunter Education Course

The Combination Hunter and Bowhunter Education Course is offered as a "Home Study" option only, which requires homework to be completed prior to attending a field session led by an instructor.

Course Type Online Registration Link Course Information
Home Study Course Register for a Combination Hunter/Bowhunter Education Home Study Course
(link leaves DEC's website)
Both parts listed below must be completed. Students should sign up and register for this type of course prior to starting the homework

It is important to register for a combination hunter/bowhunter education home study course before completing the homework portion. Combination hunter/bowhunter education home study courses are not offered in every county.

Part 1 - Complete the homework portion in one of two ways:
(will take at least 8 to 10 hours to complete).
  • Obtain and complete the Today's Hunter manual and workbook and the Today's Bowhunter manual and workbook. Both can usually be picked up at the address noted on the course schedule listing. (Note: A Spanish version is available). (Cost: Free).

- OR -

  • Complete any one of the following hunter education online courses and obtain and complete the Today's Bowhunter manual and workbook. Both can usually be picked up at the address noted on the course schedule listing. (Note: A Spanish version is available). (Cost: Free).
    Available online hunter education courses (the following links leave DEC's website):
    NOTE: There is a non-DEC fee involved for several of these online courses.
    The certificate printed at the end of the course is for the hunter education portion only.

Part 2 - Attend field sessions led by an instructor.
You must attend all field sessions on the date(s) and at the location indicated on the course schedule listing. You must bring proof of the completed homework for both hunter and bowhunter education as noted in Part 1 above.

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
  • Aspects that make bowhunting challenging
  • Becoming a more successful bowhunter
  • Tree stand safety
  • Bowhunting techniques
  • Hunter ethics
  • Hunter responsibility toward wildlife, the environment, landowners and the general public

Age Restrictions/Requirements

Students must be 11 years or older (Note: In New York State the minimum age to hunt is 12-years old).

Students ages 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.

Course Length

Minimum of 12 hours.

Hunter and Bowhunter Education Certificates

Students must attend all sessions of the course, demonstrate proper attitude and safety, and pass two final exams of 40 and 50 questions. After successful completion of the course, students will receive both a Hunter Education Certificate and Bowhunter Education Certificate of Qualification, which is required for purchasing a first-time hunting license and bowhunting license/privilege in New York State.

Get more details on certificates: including how to replace a lost certificate and out of state certificate requirements.