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Hunter Education Course

IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE: Hunter Education Program staff are not in the office every day. For prompt service, email us (hunter@dec.ny.gov). Please do not call and leave a voicemail if you have access to email; this will help prevent delays in service.

instructor teaching a boy how to use a firearm
Student learning how to safely
handle a firearm

The NY Hunter Education course (Hunter Safety course) is required to purchase a hunting license in New York. The course covers the necessary safety techniques and responsibilities that a hunter must know when using a gun, muzzleloader, crossbow or bow to pursue wild game.

New - Online Hunter Education Course

You can complete all the requirements to earn a NYS hunter education certificate online. Any New York State resident age 11 or older can take the online course. You must be a New York State resident. If you successfully complete the course, and pass the final exam, you will receive your NY hunter education certificate. The cost of the course is $19.95. The course can be found on the hunter-ed website (leaves DEC website).

Additional requirements for bowhunting big game: If hunting deer or bear with a bow, you must also take a Bowhunter Education course.

In-Person, Instructor-Led Hunter Education Course

In-person, instructor-led courses will resume starting September 1, 2020. The number of courses offered may be limited; check back often as new courses may be added each week.

*New, in-person Hunter Education courses are added throughout the year. Most of the courses are taught between March and September.

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

All Hunter Education Courses require:

1. The completion of homework prior to attending an in-person course. Proof of completed homework must be brought to the in-person course. The homework can take several hours to complete.

2. Participation in an in-person course that is a minimum of 7 hours in length. These courses may be scheduled for one full day or split up into several shorter time frames over several days.

Register for an In-Person, Instructor-Led, Hunter Education Course

Register for a Hunter Education Course (leaves DEC 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.

Homework and Study Materials

Choose one of the following ways to obtain the study materials and complete the required homework. Whichever option you choose to complete the homework, you must bring the completed homework with you to an in-person course.

Note: If you completed the homework online, when that was an option, or you completed the online certification course, you should bring the homework completion voucher or proof of certification to the in-person course as proof of completion of homework. No additional homework is needed.

Download/Print
*Requires a printer and Adobe Reader Free Software
Hard Copy
*Requires travel or time to mail
Follow the link below to download a PDF of the Today's Hunter Manual. You must print and
complete the Hunter Education Homework Worksheet.

Download Today's Hunter Manual and print the Hunter Education Homework Worksheet
(leaves DEC website)

You must bring the completed homework worksheet to your in-person course.

The Today's Hunter Manual and Hunter Education Homework Worksheet can be picked up at most
DEC Wildlife offices or may be available for pick up at other locations as specified in the instructions
given when you register for a course.

Due to COVID, most DEC offices are closed to the public. Call the office if you need to pick up course materials.
Find a DEC Wildlife Office near you.

You can also request a hard copy be mailed to you by calling
1-888-486-8332.

You must bring the completed homework worksheet to your in-person course.

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
  • Hunting 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

Age Restrictions/Requirements

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 under 16 years old must have a signed permission slip (PDF) from a parent or legal guardian to allow for the handling and shooting of a firearm during this course.

Course Length

Minimum of 7 hours.

Hunter Education Certificate

Students must complete the required homework, 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.

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

Long Island Youth Conservation Program

A two day hands-on program (PDF) for the purpose of introducing 12-16 year olds to the basic principles of conservation, hunter education and general outdoorsmanship. Participants who successfully complete the program will receive their Hunter Education Training Certificate. This program is available each spring. The 2020 program will take place on April 18 and 19, 2020. Applications must be received by April 10. To apply for the program, complete the Application for Youth Conservation Program (PDF).Register for a NY Hunter Education Course