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Hunter Ed FAQs

Two hunters in the field

Is hunting safe?

  • Hunting is safe and getting safer, thanks to hunter education programs. Hunting accidents have decreased more than 80 percent since hunter education began in Vermont in 1958.
  • In 2021, Vermont fielded 79,000 hunters but recorded no hunting accidents (Vermont has also recorded zero hunting related shooting incidents in 2012 and 2014). When hunting related shooting incidents do occur, they are mostly self-inflicted incidents, or incidents that happen within the same hunting party.
  • Effectiveness of Blaze Orange: This short hunter safety video provides tips about how wearing the right amount and kind of blaze orange can keep you safe in the field.

When can my child take hunter education?

  • The hunter education certification means that the student is ready to hunt alone in all 50 states. This is a huge responsibility, one that instructors, staff, hunters, and the public do not take lightly.
  • There is no minimum age requirement to take an in-person course but students under 16 must have a signed parental consent form. All class material is written at a 6th grade level (generally around age 11-13).
  • In order to pass the class, students must pass a written exam, display maturity with a firearm or bow, and conduct themselves safely during the class (most especially with firearms). Certification is at the discretion of highly-trained instructors.
  • If you’re not sure whether your child is ready for hunter education, they can purchase a mentor license, and hunt with a fully-licensed adult for up to two years. More information about the mentor license can be found here or contact our licensing office at 802-828-1190.
  • To take the fully online course you must be 18 years or older and a Vermont resident.

Who needs to take the course?

  • All first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers must successfully complete the course before getting a license of that type. 
  • Anyone who wishes to hunt with a bow and arrow must complete both the hunter education AND bowhunter 

How much does it cost?

  • It's free. All materials are provided by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and the U.S. Wildlife Restoration, Division of Federal Aid, with funds derived from a tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. All our instructors volunteer their time to teach courses.

When are courses available?

  • Courses are taught throughout the year at the discretion of our volunteer instructors. We see an increase of courses in the months leading up to spring and fall hunting seasons. 
  • Volunteer instructors teach over 100 hunter, bowhunter, and trapper education courses throughout the state each year. 
  • The majority of classes are given in March and April (before spring turkey season), and again from July through September. Some courses are given in October, and there is a chance a few courses may be added at other times throughout the year.
  • If you have a group that would like to take a class, contact our office. ( | 802-828-1193)  

If I pass the course, can I use the certification in another state?

  • All states, Canadian provinces and many other countries recognize Vermont's in-person hunter and bowhunter certification.
  • If you plan to hunt out of state and took the online certification course, make sure that state accepts online hunter education as a valid form of certification.
  • If you plan on trapping out of state, make sure that state accepts Vermont’s certification before purchasing a trapping license.

Where can I get a basic firearm, bowhunter, or trapper workbook and manual?

  • Email or call 802-828-1193 to receive through the mail.
  • You can also pick up the materials by visiting Vermont Fish & Wildlife in the Dewey Building at National Life in Montpelier.

Can nonresidents take these courses?

  • Nonresidents can take the in-person courses and online prerequisite courses but only Vermont residents 18 years of age or older can take the completely online certification courses.

Do I have to take an in-person class?

  • If you are a Vermont resident 18 years of age or older you can take both hunter education and bow hunter education completely online. All nonresidents and Vermont residents under the age of 18 must attend an in-person course.
  • All trapper education courses are in-person.

Bowhunter Resources

A key to safety is knowing how to handle your hunting gear. Below are some videos to show you proper handling techniques for bows and crossbows to keep you and others safe.

How to Handle and Shoot a Compound Bow

Learn to safely and effectively handle and shoot a compound bow. 

How to Handle and Shoot a Crossbow

Learn how to safely and effectively handle and shoot a crossbow. 

See Also:

How to Unload a Crossbow

Learn how to safely and effectively unload a crossbow. 

See Also: