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Pennsylvania Hunter Education

Since 1959, hunting-related shooting incidents have declined drastically. Hunting is safe and getting safer, thanks to hunter education.

Basic Hunter-Trapper Education Certification

By law, all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, must successfully complete hunter-trapper education training before they can buy a Pennsylvania hunting or trapping license.

Individuals may take hunter-trapper education either through an in-person class or by completing an online class.

In-person classes

Free, In-Person Training: Available to anyone 11 years and older. A training certificate recognized throughout North America is awarded when you pass a test at the end of the Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education course. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children. The training covers responsible hunting behavior, firearms basics and safety, basic shooting, wildlife conservation and management, outdoor safety and survival, hunting techniques, trapping and furtaking basics, and hunting safety. Register for an in-person Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education Class.

Some independent study is required prior to attending this 1-day, in-person session. Prepare for your class by reading chapters 1, 4, 5 and 9 of Today's Hunter & Trapper in Pennsylvania. Study Online for Free.

Online classes

The Game Commission makes available two online Hunter-Trapper Education courses for students who prefer to learn through an online format. A training certificate recognized throughout North America is awarded after passing a test at the end of either online course.

  • Online Hunter-Education: Available to anyone 11 years and older. Complete the online Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education course and print a temporary hunter education certificate (a permanent will be mailed). The cost to complete this course is $34.95.
  • NRA Free Online Hunter Education Course: Available to anyone 11 years and older. Complete the online Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education course to receive a hunter education certificate. Certification is only available for Pennsylvania residents. Students will need a Pennsylvania Customer ID number to complete this course. Visit HuntFishPA to locate your existing Customer ID number or create a new one. You will be asked for this number at the end of the NRA online class, and it is required to receive your certificate.

Pennsylvania Archery Safety Course

 

A free online course which focuses on preventing injuries from using elevated stands, and the importance of safe, ethical shots.

This course is for informational purposes only and does not meet requirements to archery hunt in any state requiring certification. The course covers types of elevated tree stands, inspecting and preparing stands, selecting a stand location, fall-arrest systems, hauling equipment into a stand, crossbow safety, shot placement and strategy, practicing and perfecting your skills, and Pennsylvania laws and regulations.

Free, Online Training is voluntary and valuable for both novice and experienced bowhunters. Take the Pennsylvania Archery Safety Course online.

Throughout the fall, the Game Commission will conduct three drawings from the names of the individuals who successfully completed the Archery Safety Course. Each of the three individuals drawn will receive a $500 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, or another outdoor retailer. To be eligible to participate in a drawing, an individual must have completed the course during the three designated time periods of June 15 – September 30th; October 1 – October 30th; or November 1 – November 30th. The complete contest rules are listed here. (PDF)


Successful Bowhunting Certification

Be a better bowhunter! Improve your skills and increase your chances for success with this voluntary training. Successful Bowhunting expands upon the National Bowhunter Education Foundation's International Bowhunter Education Program.

A training certificate recognized throughout North America is presented upon passing a written test at the end of the course. The course covers responsible bowhunting, big game anatomy and shot placement, map and compass basics, distance estimation, shooting basics and a 3-D field course, hunting methods and techniques, tree stand use and safety, and big game recovery and care. This course does not replace the Basic Hunter-Trapper Education training. All first-time hunters must successfully complete Basic Hunter-Trapper Education before purchasing a general hunting license.

Free, In-person Training: For students 11 years and older. Before attending the in-person session, students must complete an independent study that takes about four hours and can be done online or by requesting a student manual. The student then attends a 1-day, 8-hour classroom session. Register for a Successful Bowhunting Class. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county.

Online Training: ($30) Students 16 years and older can complete this certification entirely online and print a temporary Bowhunter hunter education certificate (a permanent certificate will be mailed). Take the Pennsylvania-Approved Bowhunter Course online.


Successful Furtaking & Cable Restraint Certifications

Be a better trapper! Improve your skills and increase your chances for success with this program based on the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies standards for trapper training and their Best Management Practices. The course includes Best Management Practices (BMPs); furtaker ethics, laws, and responsibility; tools for successful furtaking; cable devices; trapline basics; and both water and land sets.

Certification recognized throughout North America: Participants successfully completing these courses are permitted to use cable restraints to take foxes and coyotes in Pennsylvania. Certification enables you to purchase a furtaking license to trap furbearers. Certification does not replace Basic Hunter-Trapper Education required to hunt furbearers with a hunting license.

In-person Successful Furtaking Certification: Before attending the in-person session, students must complete an independent study, which takes six to eight hours and can be done online or by requesting a student manual. The student then attends a 1-day, 6-hour classroom session. This course includes cable-restraint certification. Register for a Successful Furtaking Class. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county.

In-person Cable Device-Only Certification: This course is approximately four hours. Certification is required for any trapper using cable devices to capture foxes and coyotes in Pennsylvania. Register for a Cable Device Certification Class. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county.

Online Cable Device-Only Certification: ($34.50) Students 11 and older can complete the cable device certification entirely online and print a temporary cable device certificate (the permanent certificate will be mailed). The course takes about two hours to complete.


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Become An Instructor – Pass On The Tradition

The Game Commission needs knowledgeable and experienced individuals to teach basic and advanced programs. Volunteer instructors receive all necessary teaching aids and materials, including the easy-to-use, standardized curriculum. Instructors must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.

What's the commitment? Volunteer instructors should have the ability to give 12 to 16 hours each year. Courses average six hours for a classroom format and eight hours for a skills station format. Brief annual instructor training is required.

Be part of hunter education's success! With more than 2 million students certified since 1959, statistics show hunting fatalities and injuries from firearms have declined by more than 80 percent. Hunter education is working!

  • Share your love of the outdoors with the next generation
  • Promote safe and responsible hunting and furtaking
  • Serve your community
  • Make new friends and hunting companions
  • Receive discount offers from industry leaders and complementary magazine subscriptions

Request a volunteer instructor application packet online or by calling 717-787-7015.


I Lost My Hunter Education Card

A $16 fee is charged for hunter education replacement certificates.

  • Get replacement certificate online at www.ilostmycard.com.
  • Get a replacement by calling 1-800-830-2268 (Monday through Friday, from 9:30am to 1:00am).
  • If you took a hunter or trapper education course prior to 1987, you must complete a Hunter Education Program Replacement Certificate Affidavit (PDF). The affidavit must be completed, signed, and notarized before being submitted. Replacement certificates are usually mailed within 10 to 14 days of receipt.

Additional Resources


Resources For Instructors

Successful Bowhunting