Hundreds of thousands of young people become certified hunters each year. But you may be thinking … “Hunting requires us to use firearms. That can’t be safe, right?”
Hunting with a firearm is actually the 3rd safest sport in the country according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. This outdoor sport has lower injury rates than other popular sports like golf, volleyball, and football! Now how did that happen? Easy … in order to become a certified hunter, people are required to pass a hunter safety course.
The main goals of hunter education are to keep you and others safe in the field while hunting, and to reduce chances of accidents! For example, in a hunter safety course you can discover:
- Rules of firearm safety
- Parts of a firearm
- Six different action types of firearms
- Matching the correct ammunition
- Loading and unloading firearms
- Planning for hunts
- Hunting tactics
- Safe zones of fire
- Hunter ethics
- Survival techniques
- Wildlife conservation
Ahaaa! So really … hunter safety can give you all the knowledge and tools you need to have a safe and rewarding adventure out in the field. Now let’s get started!
- Sign-up! Thanks to technology, enrolling in hunter safety is now easier than ever. Whew! Simply visit your state Department of Natural Resources’ website and search for “hunter safety”. The website will tell you all the state-approved courses the DNR offers. You can enroll in a:
- Traditional Class. Learn all the hunter safety essentials with your peers in a classroom setting. Your class will dive into 10 different topics and gain hands-on experiences with a hunter safety instructor.
- Online Course. Now you can take the entire course online! This is especially useful for students or working adults with busy schedules. In this course, you will surf through the 10 different topics and test your knowledge by taking the practice exam an unlimited amount of times.
Note: Some states have a minimum age requirement. Double check your state requirements before signing up! If you are too young to participate in hunter education, there are LOTS of ways you can still pursue this outdoor sport. Try sitting on a hunt with a family member who is a certified hunter, or participate in youth events held by your local sport clubs. Also, youth mentored hunts are great ways for you to go hunting with a hunting guide without even needing a hunter certification. Just contact your state DNR to find out more!
- Pass the test.
- Attend a Field Day. After passing the online course, you may be required to attend a hunter field day where you will gain hands-on experience with the firearms and then demonstrate what you have learned with safety experts. This is really useful … especially if you have never handled a firearm before! And remember: hunter safety instructors want you to succeed. So ask them lots of questions! You may even be able to find a future hunting partner in them.
- Get your Certificate. Once you have successfully passed the written and field tests, you will receive a temporary hunting license and your certification! Well done.
Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to becoming a responsible hunter for your health, family, and planet! To get a head start on your hunter safety skills, watch the video and see how young people who have never handled firearms before do on their field day. Or unlock more firearm safety skills in the “Learn More” section below and download the lesson activity so your class can get a head start on firearm safety!
Official Hunter Safety Courses
for Today’s Hunter
Approved by IHEA-USA and your state hunting agency