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Bowhunter Education

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.

students drawing a bowstring with guidance from an instructor

The NY Bowhunter Education course is required for hunters who use a bow and arrow to hunt deer or bear. While this course is not required for hunting deer with a crossbow, or for using a bow and arrow to hunt small game or turkey, DEC encourages you to take this course to learn bow and tree stand safety techniques.

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

New - Online Bowhunter Education Course

You can complete all the requirements to earn a NY bowhunter education certificate online. Any New York State resident age 11 or older can take the online course. If you successfully complete the course, and pass the final exam, you will receive your NY bowhunter education certificate. The cost of the course is $30.00. The course can be found on the bowhunter-ed website (leaves DEC website).

Register for an In-person, Instructor-Led NY Bowhunter 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 Bowhunter 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. In-person courses fill quickly, so it is important to sign up early.

All In-person Bowhunter 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 6 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 Bowhunter 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.

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 Bowhunter Manual.
You must print and complete the Bowhunter Education Homework Worksheet.

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

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

The Today's Bowhunter Manual and Bowhunter 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

  • 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.You can complete all the requirements to earn a NY bowhunter education certificate online. You can complete all the requirements to earn a NY bowhunter education certificate online.