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Pennsylvania Hunter Education



Register for a class using the Hunter Education Class Calendars Replacement Certification Cards
Study Online: Today's Hunter & Trapper in Pennsylvania Safe Hunting Tips
Basic Hunter-Trapper Education Becoming an Instructor
Successful Bowhunting Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC)
Successful Turkey Hunting Hunting-Related Shooting Incidents
Successful Furtaking & Cable Restraint Certification

Basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE)

By law, all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, must successfully complete Hunter-Trapper Education training before they can buy a Pennsylvania hunting or trapping license. A training certificate, which is recognized throughout North America, is awarded when you pass a test at the end of the course. You must be at least 11 years old to enroll in a class. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children. The training is designed to produce safe, responsible, knowledgeable and involved participants. The results of this program are remarkable. Since 1959, hunting-related shooting incidents have declined drastically. Hunting is safe and getting safer, thanks to hunter education.

Register for a class using the Hunter Education Class Calendar. Use the Today's Hunter & Trapper in Pennsylvania study guide to complete the independent-study portion your class.

What does the course include?

The training is conducted using three formats; a 6-hour class requiring some pre-class independent study, an 8-hour class requiring some pre-class independent study and a skill-station format, or an online independent-study format requiring a 2- to 3-hour classroom session. The course includes these subjects and more:

  • Responsible hunting behavior
  • Basic firearm knowledge and safe handling
  • Wildlife conservation and management
  • Outdoor safety and survival
  • Basic and advanced hunting techniques
  • Trapping and furtaking basics
  • Basic shooting and safe hunting skills
  • Expanding your hunting opportunities


Successful Bowhunting

Be a better bowhunter! Improve your skills and increase your chances for success with this voluntary training. Successful Bowhunting expands upon the National Bowhunter Education Foundation's International Bowhunter Education Program. A training certificate, which is recognized throughout North America, is presented upon passing a written test at the end of the course.

This course does not replace the Basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) training. All first-time hunters must successfully complete Basic Hunter-Trapper Education before purchasing a general hunting license. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county for more information. Enrollment is limited to 30 students per class. You must be at least 11 years old to enroll.

Register for a class using the Successful Bowhunting Class Calendar.

What does the course include?

The Successful Bowhunting course has two components – (1) independent study and (2) classroom/skills training. Students study online or may request a student manual to review before attending class. The independent-study component typically takes four to six hours to complete. When finished with the independent study, students must attend a 1-day, 8-hour class. The classroom/skills day includes:

  • Responsible bowhunting
  • Big game anatomy and shot placement
  • Map and compass basics
  • Distance estimation
  • Shooting basics and a 3-D field course
  • Hunting methods and techniques
  • Treestand use and safety
  • Big game recovery and care


Successful Turkey Hunting

Learn how to be a successful turkey hunter, both spring and fall! The Successful Turkey Hunting program will give you the skills and knowledge you need to really enjoy your next turkey hunting experience. A training certificate, which is recognized throughout North America, is presented upon passing a written test at the end of the course.

This course does not replace the Basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) training. All first-time hunters must successfully complete Basic Hunter-Trapper Education before purchasing a general hunting license. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county for more information. Enrollment is limited to 24 students per class. You must be at least 11 years old to enroll.

Register for a class using the Successful Turkey Hunting Class Calendar.

What does the course include?

The Successful Turkey Hunting course has two has two components – (1) independent study and (2) classroom/skills training. Students study online or may request a student manual to review before attending class. The independent-study component typically takes four to six hours to complete. When finished with the independent study, students must attend a 1-day, 8-hour classroom session that includes:

  • Turkey hunting laws and regulations
  • Safe turkey hunting
  • Map and compass skills
  • Safe and effective shot selection
  • Turkey calls and calling
  • Turkey hunting methods
  • Distance estimation
  • Shotgun pattern testing


Successful Furtaking & Cable Restraint Certification

Be a better trapper! Improve your skills and increase your chances for success with this program based on the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies standards for trapper training and their Best Management Practices. A training certificate, which is recognized throughout North America, is presented upon passing a written test at the end of the course. The training certificate allows furtakers to legally use cable restraints to take fox and coyotes in Pennsylvania.

This course does not replace the Basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) training for furtakers who want to buy a hunting license to hunt furbearers. However, this training will enable you to purchase a furtaking license required to trap furbearers. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county for more information. Enrollment is limited to 36 students per class. There is no minimum age for this training.

Register for a class using the Successful Furtaking Class Calendar.

What does the course include?

The Successful Furtaking course has two components – (1) independent study and (2) classroom / hands-on training. Students study online or may request a student manual to review before attending class. The independent study component takes about six to eight hours to complete, then, the student attends a 1-day, 6-hour classroom session that includes:

  • Best Management Practices (BMPs)
  • Furtaker ethics, laws and responsibility
  • Tools for successful furtaking
  • Cable devices
  • Trapline basics
  • Water sets
  • Land sets


Become a Hunter Education Instructor – Pass on the tradition.

The Game Commission is seeking knowledgeable and experienced individuals to teach both basic and advanced hunter education training programs. As a volunteer hunter education instructor, you'll be teaching students with an easy-to-use, standardized curriculum for which all teaching aids and materials are provided. Courses average six hours for a classroom format and eight hours for a skills station format.

Watch this short video to see if this is a volunteer opportunity you'd enjoy. Hunter Education Instructors must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.

Be part of hunter education's success!

Since 1959, Pennsylvania has conducted hunter education courses. The results of more than five decades of training have been exceptional. With nearly 2 million students certified to date, statistics show hunting fatalities and injuries from firearms have declined by more than 80 percent. Hunter education is working and working well.

As an instructor, you'll enjoy:
  • Sharing your love of the outdoors with the next generation,
  • Serving your community, and
  • Promoting safe and responsible hunting and furtaking.

What's the commitment?

As a volunteer hunter education instructor, you'll be teaching students with an easy-to-use, standardized curriculum for which all materials are provided. Classes average six to eight hours and may take place over several days. Volunteer instructors should have the ability to give 12 to 16 hours each year. Annual instructor training events and the opportunity to teach advanced classes, such as Successful Bowhunting (page anchor) and Successful Furtaking (page anchor) are also available.

What are the benefits?

As a hunter education instructor, you'll enjoy:
  • Making new friends and hunting companions,
  • Exposure to new experiences,
  • Advanced training opportunities,
  • Discount offers from industry leaders in hunting equipment,
  • Complementary magazine subscriptions, and
  • Enhanced instructional and communication skills.

Request a volunteer instructor application packet online or by calling the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Hunter-Trapper Education Division at 717-787-7015.









Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110-9797