Department of Environmental Conservation

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Hunter Education at Camp

Colby, DeBruce, Rushford, and Pack Forest

Registration for the 2022 DEC Summer Camp season opens Sunday, April 10, 2022, at 1 PM. Camp Rushford and Pack Forest will open for seven weeks and Camp DeBruce will be open for six weeks this season. Camp Colby will remain closed until 2023 to complete major renovations to the camp. Updates and changes can be found on the Camps main web page and on both DEC's Facebook and Summer Camps' Facebook pages.

For information on COVID-19 protocols, visit the Information for Camp Attendees page. Please contact EducationCamps@dec.ny.gov if you have any questions.

The DEC Summer Camps program started as hunter education camps, and we continue that tradition today by offering Hunter Education Program courses to campers. Youth attending DEC Summer Camps have the opportunity to participate in a hunter education, bowhunter education, or trapper education course during their stay. This is an optional safety class, taught by Hunter Education Program instructors , and the certificate the camper receives after successfully completing the course can be used towards obtaining a hunting license, trapping license or bowhunting privilege. These courses are offered in addition to archery programs at camp. All of these courses require the completion of homework by the camper prior to attending camp and must be signed up for during the camp registration process.

Campers participating in a Hunter Education Class

One hunter education program of gun, bow, or trapping is offered at each camp during four of the weeks. Approximately 30 percent of the campers that attend DEC camps participate in Hunter Education Program courses each summer. Trained instructors certified by the Department of Environmental Conservation teach safe and responsible outdoors practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation. When available, environmental conservation officers also assist with the course instruction. These courses are extremely safe for the campers to participate in and, when class is not in session, the firearms and ammo are locked and not accessible to campers. At no time is a camper unsupervised during a Hunter Education Program course.

Campers are prohibited from bringing firearms to camp. However, campers may bring their own bow for use during the bowhunter education course or camp archery programs.

For more information on hunter education in NY and the courses being offered, please visit the Hunter Education page.

Hunter Education

The Hunter Education course is required before anyone can purchase a hunting license, including those using bow and arrow. The course teaches basic firearms handling and outdoor skills, plus hunting techniques. The minimum age for this course is 11 years old. The minimum age for a hunting license is 12 years old. Campers must complete the homework before they arrive at camp and they must bring the completed homework worksheet with them to camp. DEC will mail a manual and worksheet to the campers who have enrolled in the course. Campers will receive the book 2-4 weeks prior to their week at camp.

Bowhunter Education

Archery at Pack Forest

The Bowhunter Education course is required for anyone wanting to hunt deer or bear with a bow and arrow. The course teaches the aspects of bowhunting that make it a special challenge and helps each camper become a more successful hunter. The minimum age for this course is 11 years old, however children must be 12 years old to hunt big game with bow and arrow. Campers must complete the homework before they arrive at camp and they must bring the completed homework worksheet with them to camp. DEC will mail a manual and worksheet to the campers who have enrolled in the course. Campers will receive the book 2-4 weeks prior to their week at camp.

Campers may take the Bowhunter Education course before they take the Hunter Education course, however they cannot get their license until the Hunter Education course has been successfully completed.

Trapper Education

Trapping provides important benefits to New Yorkers including: the control of nuisance wildlife damage, economic benefits to trappers and people involved in the fur industry, and recreation to trappers. The course will teach the campers trapping safety and techniques; techniques to avoid catching non-targeted species; how to prepare pelts to produce marketable furs; and the laws and regulations of trapping. There is no minimum age requirement for this class. Campers must complete the homework before they arrive at camp and they must bring the completed homework worksheet with them to camp. DEC will mail a manual and worksheet to the campers who have enrolled in the course. Campers will receive the book 2-4 weeks prior to their week at camp.

Camps Hunter Education Programs Schedule for 2022
Week DeBruce Rushford Pack Forest
1
2 Hunter Education Hunter Education Bowhunter Education
3 Hunter Education Bowhunter Education Hunter Education
4 Trapper Education Trapper Education
5 Bowhunter Education Hunter Education Trapper Education
6 Hunter Education
7