Sign Up Now for Hunter Education Class

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Prospective hunters of all ages are reminded that it is never too early to plan and sign up for a Basic Hunter Education Course. Basic courses are now available across the state and many begin in August and September. “Many veteran and new hunters fail to consider enrolling in a course until the weather turns cool in late September,” says Susan Langlois, MassWildlife Hunter Education Coordinator. “Unfortunately, most courses have either begun or are full and the opportunity to hunt during the fall may disappear.” Langlois points out that courses are scheduled through much of the calendar year, but most are offered in April and September. The 12-15 hour course is free to the public, is taught by volunteer instructors, and is usually scheduled over five or six weekday evenings. Students must attend all scheduled sessions as part of the requirement for passing the course. Occasionally, courses are conducted on weekends.

Topics covered during the Basic Hunter Education course include safe handling and storage of hunting arms and ammunition, hunting laws and ethics, wildlife identification, wildlife management, care and handling of game, basic survival skills and first aid. Students 15 years of age or older who successfully pass the course will receive a Certificate of Completion which is acceptable for purchasing a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license and for making application for a Firearms Identification Card with their local police departments. These certificates are also accepted in all of the US and Canada for the purchase of a hunting license. Students 14 years of age or under will receive a letter stating they have successfully completed the Basic Hunter Education Course. This letter may serve as documentation for purchasing a junior license in other states and Canadian provinces where applicable. Successful students 14 years of age will, in addition to their letter, receive a Certificate of Completion on or about their 15th Birthday. Students 10 – 13 years of age must retake the Basic Hunter Education course in order to receive a Certificate of Completion.

It is the mission of the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program to protect the lives and safety of the public, promote the wise management and ethical use of our wildlife resource, and encourage a greater appreciation of the environment through education. Funding is derived from the sale of hunting and sporting licenses, and from federal excise taxes on firearms and archery equipment. Massachusetts offered its first hunter safety course in 1954, and to date has graduated more than 145,000 students.

Information on course locations and schedules is posted on the MassWildlife website under “Education” programs. Course information may also be obtained by calling the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program. Graduates who lost their Certificates may obtain a duplicate from the Hunter Education Program through the MassWildlife website or by contacting the office directly. For more information on courses and duplicate Certificates, contact the Hunter Education Program office in Westminster at 508/792-7434 or 617/727-3623