A license is required before you can go on your first bowhunting trip. This is a common misconception, and many new hunters–even non-hunters–are aware that you will need a permit or license to harvest the game.

Many people don’t know that hunting licenses require you to meet a certain education requirement. Many new bowhunters are confused about how to meet this educational requirement or where they can take classes.

We're an affiliate

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate it!

Below, we will discuss each aspect of bowhunter education and help you to understand the process. You should have a good understanding of how to choose the right course, how to get credit, and how to get it.

A Guide to Hunting Education

Classes that your state requires you to take to obtain a hunting license will be held on weekends. They are taught at local schools, colleges, firing ranges, and/or municipal buildings. Some states do offer a hybrid “online-class-plus-in-person-event” option, but states rarely offer an “online-only” class, where there’s no in-person follow-up afterward.

Classes usually have a set number of hours, some homework that you must complete before you arrive, and then a final exam.

Among new hunters, there’s a lot of confusion regarding classes and education requirements–especially when it comes to general hunting courses vs. bowhunting courses–so let’s take a look at each type of course, and then move on to the details.

General Hunting Courses: It is almost always required

Each state has its own rules and regulations that regulate hunting or bowhunting. These rules can vary widely and we’ll get into more detail about them in a moment.

A majority of states, if not all, require you to take a general hunting education class before you can get your first hunting license/permit.

Most general hunting classes teach:

  • History of firearms and weapons used to hunt game.
  • How to safely store, load, load, and use your firearm
  • How to choose the right ammunition for safe use
  • How to accurately aim and the fundamentals of marksmanship
  • These are the laws and regulations that regulate hunting in your state
  • You could face severe penalties if you break the laws and regulations in your state
  • How to identify local game populations and animal populations
  • How to field dress game that you have harvested
  • Conservation principles and how to care for the land while hunting;
  • The importance of wildlife management principles and their general principles;
  • Hunting safety, wilderness survival and hunting safety; and finally
  • How to hunt ethically, responsibly

You might also be interested in other topics, particularly if you have a unique issue or concern (e.g. drought, fire alert, endangered species/etc.). ).



This is basic hunter education. These classes are required for anyone who wishes to obtain a hunting license. They can be used for any type of hunting weapon, such as a firearm, crossbow, bow, crossbow, or muzzleloader.

Bowhunting Courses: What Are They? and Why They’re Important

You will need to register for and take a bowhunting course in most states. A bowhunting class usually covers topics that are specific to bowhunting such as:

  • These are not only the laws and regulations in your state but also those that apply specifically to bowhunting.
  • How to hunt safely with a bow.
  • Tree stand safety. How to climb and descend a treestand, as well as the correct technique to get your gear up;
  • Bowhunting tactics shot placement and how they might differ from regular hunting techniques.

The class could include content from the basic hunter education course, or it might be a class that focuses on bowhunting techniques.

These Insider Secrets Might Not be So Simple

Now that you have an idea of the basics, let’s look at some tips and tricks about hunting education.

Your Bowhunting Class may be required on top of your Hunting Class

As you might imagine, I’m going to bow hunt – no firearms required. To get my license, all I need is a bowhunting class. It’s not always so.

This may be true in some states, but not all. In other states, you will need to take a general hunting education course and then complete a bowhunting class. in Vermont and Idaho are examples of this. is Nebraska and many other states also have similar requirements. You will need to determine what your state requires for bowhunting.

We mentioned in our post How to Get Your First Bowhunting License that the rules for each state are very different. It can be difficult to figure out the rules for your state. The best strategy is to…

Contact Your State Hunting Agency

Trust us: If you have a specific question that you cannot find on the website of your state, give them a shout. Seriously. It’s a website. We are not in the business of getting people on the internet. But it’s so much easier. The state website will usually have all the information you need. However, if you don’t know what you need, give them a shout. You will often be able to speak to a person who is living and breathing, unlike almost every other hotline.

Check for classes early and often

You have decided to become a bowhunter. Awesome! You may find a class close to you online in the next few months.

It would be so easy.

It’s amazing how quickly classes fill up. If you don’t plan well, you may not be able to bowhunting as soon or as often as you want. You might miss classes for a variety of reasons.

Limited Spots. Classes are usually limited to 50 people. This means that spots can fill quickly. Not only that…

Classes by Themselves can be Sparse. It’s difficult to find a large number of unpaid volunteers to run classes, so it may not be possible to have enough teachers to instruct everyone who wishes to take one.

Your State Is a Big Place. But, you might find there are spots in an upcoming course, but you live in California and the class is 500 miles away from your home. You may find that the classes closest to you are full, or that there may only be a few classes available.

Here’s our advice. Go online as soon and check out what your state has to offer. Spots in classes are often taken quickly so make sure you grab them as soon as possible. If you don’t get one, you can keep looking online each day to see if there are more. They will usually add dates if there is enough interest. However, you must sign up before anyone else.

Do not sign up for the first online course you find

Although many websites offer online bowhunting classes (such as Online Hunter Ed or Hunter Ed), these courses may not meet your state’s educational requirements. We’ve mentioned this a lot, so we are sorry! You must meet certain requirements in your state before you can bow hunt. Make sure you check the requirements of any online course that you find.

The state website should indicate whether they will accept a particular course. If you are unsure, check with them or call to find out.

You can always take a refresher bowhunting course or even…

If you are not interested in bowhunting, it is worth taking a course. You can learn more about bowhunting and the use of bows to harvest games if you are an archer. It will be amazing. Colorado Outdoors magazine published a wonderful article about a woman who wanted to hunt but wasn’t interested in what hunters ate. This is so cool!

Remember, however, that you can take a bowhunting class again, even if it’s been taken before. It’s impossible to know all there is about bowhunting, but it’s great to have a few friends (and we’ll get into more detail about the benefits of having like-minded people in a moment).

You can continue if you have completed the basics.

Advanced classes may be available

Although bowhunting practices and techniques were passed down from generation to generation, this is not always true. Many people are now learning how to hunt by themselves. Advanced classes are a great option if you feel that you have the basics down.

Here is an example of the advanced courses offered by the state of California. There are also clinics available for deer hunting and wild pig hunting. These courses cover the different firearms and weapons required to hunt these kinds of games. They also discuss how to track and scout them and how to field dress them after a successful hunt.

We mentioned that not all states offer advanced classes. But wouldn’t it be great if they did?

Crossbow classes are not mandatory.

There have been hunters who signed up for a bowhunting course, took it, then realized mid-class that they could not hunt with a crossbow because of the bowhunting classes. They weren’t thrilled.

You should ensure you have the correct license for hunting with a crossbow. Your bowhunting license may not cover you.

If you’re a parent and your son/daughter is taking the class…

You may need to adhere to certain guidelines. It may be necessary to:

  • You must sign a Student Consent Form / other documents to allow your child to enroll in the course.
  • You should hunt with your child so that you can supervise him during the hunt.
  • Take the class with your child and pass it yourself.

It doesn’t matter what your state says.

Apprentice Hunts May Be Available

They are not all available in every state, but states that understand the difficulties faced by new bowhunters and hunters offer some mentorship programs.

This is one of the many apprentice programs that are offered in California. While you might need to have certain qualifications and be able to play a specific game at certain times of the year, the opportunities can be extremely rewarding. You should look into it!

How to get the most out of class

Now you are familiar with the basics of bowhunter education and have some tips to help you choose the right course. Let’s now take a look at some ways you can make the most out of your time there.

Get ready to show up for class

Each class will have a different request, so be sure to read the entire document before you go. You may have to complete homework before you can attend the first class. If you haven’t completed the homework, you won’t be credited for the class.

Harsh! It’s not fair!

If you are prepared, you can also show up ready to go

Do some self-study before you go

Bowhunting can be a very broad topic. There are many things to learn, from bow knowledge (how you use your bow, equipment selection, and accuracy skills), to game knowledge, (how certain animals behave and where they can be tracked and where to aim), and hunting strategy (how to locate animals and predict their movements). You can ask many questions about the topic, so make sure you have a good understanding of the activity in your class.

Luckily, there’s an amazing website that offers a lot of incredible content on bowhunting, and it’s called… the Complete Guide to Archery! Yep, that’s us. Before you go to class, take a look around the site to find out great questions that you can ask your instructor.

You always seem to ask better questions if you have a good grasp of the material, so make sure you do your research before you go.

Ask tons of questions

You don’t have to be shy or afraid of public speaking if you are. These instructors are experts in their field, so your class is an invaluable opportunity to get to know someone who knows bowhunting. While we are big supporters of web-based learning, the chance to learn from a professional isn’t available every day. Grab it while you still have the chance.

Like any instructor, those who teach classes are passionate about what they do and want to help others. There is no question too silly. Seriously–ask away.

Meet People

Hunting can be lonely, and it’s not always an exciting sport. There are very few opportunities to get together with like-minded people. You’ll find people in your class who share your interest in bowhunting. It can be a great way to make friends with potential hunting buddies.

You may also meet people from different walks of life and ages who share a variety of experiences. A hunting class is a great opportunity to learn about hunting and also about hunters–the people who pick up a bow to go out into the wild.

Before we go on, let us remind you that it can be difficult for people to find bowhunters in their area. So make sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity in your bowhunting class.

One Note about Your Hunting Instructor

A quick reminder before we wrap up:

Your instructor should know that he/she has been helpful

Most of the time, your instructor is a volunteer who has completed a certification course to teach bowhunting. It’s not common for people to get paid a lot of money. ).

They are there because they love hunting and the outdoors. It’s all about passion, love, and respect for the game.

If you feel comfortable, show your instructor that you are grateful. It will make their day.

Perhaps you could become an instructor yourself?

After you have completed your bowhunting class, you can get some field experience and decide that you want to share your knowledge with others. Contact your state’s hunting department. Volunteers are always welcome and can be found on most state websites. Here’s a page on Wisconsin’s website and here’s one on Ohio’s website. If you have an interest in teaching the hunting community, please get involved!

Bowhunting Education Wrap Up

This is for bowhunting classes. We understand that classes are required in many states. However, we encourage you to view them as an opportunity and not an obligation. Classes are a great way for you to meet new people and get your “bear” ings (more words!). You will develop a passion for hunting that will last a lifetime. Have fun and good luck bowhunting!

Leave a Comment