The Hunter Education Program teaches future hunters and trappers how to be safe, responsible, and ethical. After successful completion of a hunter education course or a trapper education course, students will receive a certificate of qualification necessary for purchasing a first-time hunting or trapping license. Bowhunter education and waterfowl hunter education courses are also available.
In-Person Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, and Waterfowl Hunter Education Courses Details
Choose a course below to review course content, requirements, study materials, and to find a course.
All in-person courses are free and taught by DEC-certified instructors. Although primarily offered for first-time hunters or trappers, anyone is welcome to attend a Hunter Education Program course, whether it is for a refresher, you have an interest in the topic, or you took the online course and want hands-on experience.
*In-person courses are offered throughout the year, however most of the courses are taught between March and September.
*Do not wait until just before the hunting season to take a course. In-person courses fill quickly, so it is important to sign up early.
Hunter Education - Required for first-time hunters using firearms or archery equipment to pursue big game, small game, turkey, waterfowl, and migratory game birds.
Bowhunter Education - Required in addition to the Hunter Education course (above) when using a bow and arrow to pursue deer and bear only (not crossbow). If bowhunting for other wild game, this course is not required but recommended.
Trapper Education - Required for first-time trappers pursuing furbearers.
Waterfowl Hunter Education - Required to gain access to select State and Federal lands (Wildlife Refuges) open to waterfowl hunting.
Crossbow Hunting Qualification - Required for hunters using a crossbow to pursue big game, small game, turkey, or unprotected species.
Online Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education Courses
An ONLINE HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE is now available.
An ONLINE BOWHUNTER EDUCATION COURSE is now available.
Other State Certificates
New York State accepts Hunter Education Certificates from other states when purchasing a New York hunting license.
Certificate Requirements in Other States and Countries: To verify whether a New York State Hunter Education Certificate is accepted elsewhere, visit the International Hunter Education Association (leaves DEC website) to find certificate restrictions and requirements in all other states and countries. Many states and countries will require you to show your hunter education certificate and will not accept your hunting or trapping license as proof of a certificate.
Next Step Courses
Next Step courses are in-person, instructor-led, hands-on courses for those who have already completed a hunter education, bowhunter education, or trapper education certification course and want more education and hands-on experience.
Replace a Lost Certificate
Due to COVID, staff are not in the office every day. For fastest service, email us ([email protected]). If you do not have email, call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332). Please supply your name, date of birth, type of course you took (hunter education, bowhunter education, trapper education, waterfowl hunter education), and when and where you took the course. Certificates dated earlier than 1980 cannot be found or replaced. If you need a certificate and yours cannot be found, you will need to retake the course.