Frequently Asked Questions About Hunter Education

I'm interested in taking hunter safety. What are my options?

Those born after Jan. 1, 1960 who are interested in hunting are required to take a hunter education course. There are three options: a traditional class in a classroom, a home-study program or an online course you complete at home. Search for a course near you or click on one of the following links to take the course online at home:

What is the minimum age to take hunter education?

There is no minimum age for hunter education, although traditional classes are targeted toward 10-12 years of age. Hunters are not required to take hunter education under the mentored youth hunting program, but must take at 10 years old or after up to two years of apprentice hunting.

I was born before Jan. 1, 1960 but I am planning a hunt in another state or province that requires hunter education. What should I do?

The Experienced Hunter Exam is available to Michigan residents born prior to Jan. 1, 1960. The exams are offered at the DNR's Operations Service Centers, and you must call ahead to schedule. You may also wish to take a hunter education class – a good way to do this is by sitting through a class with your child or grandchild.

What are the differences between the traditional and online courses?

The major difference is the field day component. In all cases, you are required to complete a field day portion of the course. In the traditional classes, this is included with the classroom instruction. In the home and online versions, you must pre-register for the field day before taking the class. The purpose of the field day portion of the course is for the instructor to review safety in the field, such as firearm handling. There is usually a small fee of up to $10 associated with the field day for the home-study and online courses.

What is a home study course?

Home-study courses are prescheduled by the instructors and posted on the recreational safety class list. Not all instructors offer home study. Students must preregister, get a manual a minimum of a week in advance, and complete all the questions in the back of the manual.

If I want to hunt this fall, what's the best time of year to take hunter education?

Courses are offered throughout the year, but most tend to be scheduled April-May and then August-September. Click here to find a course nearest you. There are limited numbers of online field days, so you should check for this prior to committing to an online course. Instructors cannot provide personal field days for students. Hunter education instructors are volunteers who are typically hunters, so classes are more difficult to find in prime hunting months.

How long is the field training?

Typically, field training is only half a day. Online students can contact any regular scheduled class and request to attend the field day portion of the traditional class to complete their field day, although not all are available due to format or space. Instructors can be found by county here (click to search). The field training is required to cover material review, law and ethics, gun handling, and the traditional hunter education exam.

What if I'm not sure that I will continue hunting? I just want to try it once with my friends or family this fall before I decide.

In Michigan, we have an apprentice hunting program that allows you to hunt for two years without the hunter education requirement. The two years (seasons) do not have to be consecutive. After those two years, you would be required to complete a hunter education course. We recommend that you do not wait the full two years to find a hunter education class.