Volunteer Recreational Safety Instructor

What is the process to become an Instructor?

1. Download the Recreational Safety Instructor application form here.

2. Return the completed application by email, fax or mail to:


Fax: 517-284-6816

DNR Law Enforcement Division
Recreational Safety
PO Box 30031
Lansing, MI 48909

3. Once the completed application is received, a background investigation will be completed.

4. If the applicant passes the background investigation, an information packet will be mailed containing the instructor test, test study materials, and policies and procedures. For hunter, bow and trapper, a copy of the application will be returned with the mentor area highlighted for signature.

Hunter, bow and trapper applicants are required to work with an instructor that is already certified to teach those programs and that instructor will act as their mentor. The mentor’s responsibility is to teach the applicant:

  • Policy and procedure
  • How to use the instructor website
  • How to teach a class
  • How to schedule and plan classes

Once the applicant demonstrates to the mentor, they know the material and understand the recreational safety programs policies and procedures, the mentor will sign the application at the bottom of the form.

5. Send the completed instructor test and the copy of the application with the mentor signature in the provided self-addressed stamped envelope.

6. Once the instructor test is graded and passed and the signed mentor application is returned, the applicant will be certified as an instructor and receive their instructor packet and instructor card. (A minimum score of 85 percent is required to pass the test. Re-testing is allowed at the option of the department).

Instructor Certification Qualifications

An individual desiring certification as a volunteer instructor with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' recreational safety programs shall meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be a high school graduate or possess a graduate equivalency diploma (GED).
  • Have no felony convictions.
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions within the past three years.
  • Have no natural resource law convictions that result in the revocation of hunting or trapping license privileges within the last five years.
    • Other convictions of natural resource law violations are subject to review and may result in the rejection of any application.
  • Maintain a high moral and ethical character to pass the required background investigations.
  • Be a graduate of the appropriate recreational safety course.

Why volunteers are necessary

  • There are not enough conservation officers to conduct training in every community in the state. Although conservation officers are active in the recreational safety programs, they generally do not have enough time to conduct entire training classes along with their many other duties.
  • Volunteers provide skills or expertise otherwise not available within the agency. Examples of such skills include professional teaching experience, specialty safety training and specialty outdoor recreation training.
  • Volunteers are often well-established local citizens who can help create community interest in the course. They usually have extensive local contacts, are aware of community needs and can facilitate setting up local classes. 

What the program offers the instructors

  • It provides the instructor with the means of helping make a safe sport even safer.
  • It provides the instructor with an avenue of input into the statewide recreational safety programs.
  • It offers the volunteer an opportunity to help others and serve the community.
  • It provides the instructor with the means to help ensure the future of outdoor recreation in Michigan.
  • It provides the instructor an income tax deduction which may be claimed, provided proper records are maintained. 

The value recreational safety programs provide to the public

  • The programs develop hunters, boaters, snowmobilers and ORV riders who act safely and responsibly.
  • The programs help to reduce outdoor recreation-related accidents and wildlife violations.
  • The programs encourage recognition of outdoor sports as viable recreational activities.
  • The program provides an understanding of the importance of outdoor recreation and conserving our natural resources.