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Bowhunter Education

students drawing a bowstring with guidance from an instructor

This course is required for learning the necessary safety techniques and responsibilities when using a bow and arrow to pursue deer and bear. While this course is not required for hunting deer with a crossbow, or for small game or turkey, DEC encourages you to take this course to learn general bow and tree stand safety techniques.

Additional Requirements: Hunter Education Course is required in addition to this course to obtain a bowhunting privilege.

*New Bowhunter Education classes are added continuously throughout the year. Most of the classes are taught between March and September.

*Bowhunter Education classes are not usually offered between November 1st - February 28th.

*Do not wait until just before the hunting season to take a class. Classes fill quickly, so it is important to sign up early.

Register for a Bowhunter Education Course

Register for a Bowhunter Education Course (link leaves DEC's website). You must attend the entire in-person instruction portion of the course on the date(s) and at the location indicated on the course schedule listing.

All Bowhunter 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. Homework and the in-person instruction portion of the course are both required for all New York courses.

Homework and Study Materials

You can complete the homework several ways (please choose one):

1. Download Today's Bowhunter Manual and print and complete the Bowhunter Education Homework Worksheet (link leaves DEC's website). 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).

2. Take and complete an online homework course. There is a non-DEC fee involved, which is noted below. Available online homework course (link leaves DEC's website) (New York Bowhunter Safety Course on Cost: $30.00).

*Once the online homework course is completed you will print out a completion voucher. Bring the voucher to the course led by an instructor as proof of completed homework.

General Course Details and Requirements

Course Topics Covered

  • 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 Restriction/Requirement

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).

Course Length

Minimum of 6 hours.

Bowhunter Education Certificate

Students must complete required homework, attend all sessions of the course, demonstrate proper attitude and safety, and pass a final exam of 40 questions. After successful completion of the course, students will receive a Bowhunter Education Certificate of Qualification, which is required in addition to a hunting license or hunter education certificate for purchasing a first-time bowhunting privilege in New York State.

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