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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.

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 small game or turkey, DEC encourages you to take this course to learn general bow and tree stand safety techniques.

Additional Requirements: Hunter Education is required in addition to this course to obtain a bowhunting privilege. It doesn't matter which course is taken first. If you wish to take both at once, DEC offers a convenient Combination Hunter and Bowhunter Education Course.

Register for a Bowhunter Education Course

There are two types of courses to consider when you register for a Bowhunter 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
Traditional Course Register for a Bowhunter Education Traditional Course
(link leaves DEC's website)
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.

Cost: Free
Home Study Course Register for a 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 home study course before completing the homework portion. Home study courses are not offered in every county.

Part 1 - Complete the homework portion of the course (will take at least 6 hours to complete). 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).

Part 2 - Attend a field session led by an instructor.
You must attend the entire field session on the date(s) and at the location indicated on the course schedule listing. The completed worksheet must be brought to the field session.

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 8 hours.

Bowhunter Education Certificate

Students must 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.