Hunter Education

Class participant shooting clays.TO TAKE A COURSE

Don't wait until hunting season to take a course. It will be too late! Most courses are offered in the late summer and early fall prior to the start of hunting seasons Our dedicated volunteer instructors are also dedicated hunters and prefer to be in the woods than in the classroom during hunting season. Some courses are also offered in the spring prior to spring turkey season. Volunteer instructors schedule each course. Some are completed in a weekend, while others may take several week nights and a day during the weekend to complete.

We recommend that you review the Hunter Education Requirements and Course Information (below) before you go to the Maryland Hunter Education Classes and sign up for a course. When registering by phone for a class, remember, you are contacting a volunteer instructor at his or her home and you should be considerate concerning the time of day you call. Specific hours to call and not to call may be indicated on the course schedule.

The goals of Maryland's Hunter Education Programs include the reduction of hunting accidents and violations; promotion of safe, responsible and knowledgeable hunting activities and to continue the traditions of the hunting experience. In 1966 Maryland started with a voluntary program of hunter education. In 1977, the Maryland legislature made it mandatory for all first time hunters to complete a hunter education course . We now have more than 1,100 volunteer instructors teaching over 250 hunter education courses each year. Over 8,000 people take the Maryland Hunter Education Course every year.

It's no accident that hunting is a safe activity. That's because today's hunters are better educated than ever before. They're going into the field knowing how to hunt safely and responsibly... a knowledge provided by hunter education courses.

About the Course

Young man shooting a bow.

The Maryland Hunter Education Course is a minimum of 10 hours in length. Most classes run 12-14 hours. Students must attend all sessions of the class to pass. Most courses require that youngsters under the age of 14 attend with a participating adult.

The course includes instruction in: hunter responsibility, firearms and ammunition, firearm handling and safety, marksmanship and shooting fundamentals, principles of wildlife management, bowhunting, muzzleloader hunting, tree stand safety, safety and first aid, water safety, and Maryland legal requirements.

In order to pass the course, students must pass a 50 question multiple choice test with a grade of 80%, demonstrate to the instructor that he or she can safely handle a firearm through practical exercises and participate in live firing. Students must also be recommended by the instructor to obtain certification by demonstrating responsibility and the maturity to be a safe, responsible and ethical hunter.

Hunter Education Requirements

To purchase a hunting license or to hunt in Maryland, state law requires:

  • Presentation of a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety (required for junior licensees), or
  • Certification that you held a hunting license issued prior to July 1, 1977, or
  • Certification that you hunted on private property prior to July 1, 1977, and were legally exempt from purchasing a hunting license, or
  • Certification that you are purchasing a nonresident license and will only hunt waterfowl.

Note: Persons under the age of 18 hunting on family property when a license is not required, must have a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety.

Become a Maryland Hunter Education Instructor

Over 1,100 certified instructors have been specially screened and trained to teach Hunter Education in Maryland. Presently we are only accepting new teaching teams into the program. We are not recruiting individual instructors unless they have been recruited by an existing team.

Outdoor clubs or other organizations interested in offering the Maryland Hunter Education Course must have a classroom facility, an outside area, preferably wooded, for practical exercises as well as a range for live firing. A minimum of 4-5 instructors are required to develop a team. The team must commit to teaching 3 courses a year.

For further information email the Safety Education Section.​​​​​