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Hunter Education Course

IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE: All Hunter Education Program courses, including hunter education, bowhunter education, trapper education, and waterfowl hunter education, are cancelled through April 19, 2020. Check back here for the status of classes scheduled after that date.

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.

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

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

*Hunter 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 NY Hunter Education Course

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 a Hunter 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.

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

Choose one of the following three 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.

Download/Print
*Requires a printer and Adobe Reader Free Software
Online Study Module and Homework
*Requires a fee
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
(link leaves DEC's website)

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

Follow the link below to complete the Hunter Education homework online ($15.00 non-DEC fee).

New York Hunter Safety Course on hunter-ed.com (Cost: $15.00) (link leaves DEC's website)

This online study module is not a replacement for an in-person course!

You must bring a printed or electronic copy of the completion voucher 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.

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).