California Hunter Education

In an effort to raise safety and conservation awareness, California’s first hunter education law was enacted in 1954. California requires hunter education training for those who have never held a California hunting license, who do not have a hunter education certificate, or who do not have a hunting license from another state or province issued within the past two years. Students may choose between three class format options. Classes are offered throughout the State by more than 1,000 certified volunteer instructors, all dedicated to keeping hunting safe, ethical, and available to all Californians.

Option 1: Traditional Hunter Education Courses

The Traditional Hunter Education Course consists of a minimum of ten hours of classroom, homework, and field instruction in the following areas: firearms safety and handling, sportsmanship and ethics, wildlife management and conservation, archery, black powder, wildlife identification, game care, first aid, and survival. After a student has successfully completed the course of instruction and passed the final examination, they are awarded a Certificate of Completion.

The Traditional Course allows for individual interaction with the instructor. The Traditional Course is most often preferred by first time hunters. See more information about the Traditional Course.

Option 2: Online Course and Follow-up Class (Hybrid Format)

The online course, alone, is NOT a qualification for a hunter education certificate. Once you have completed an online course, you will still need to attend a 4-hour follow up class with a certified Hunter Education Instructor. Access is permitted to the 4-hour follow-up class only after a student has completed the written Home Study or Online component of the class.

Step 1: Attend an Online Course. Choose a course from one of the following providers:

Step 2: Attend a 4-hour Follow-up Class.

Option 3: Online Only Certification Course

Advanced Hunter Education

Bow Hunting Classes

Important! Bowhunter Education Classes do not fulfill the requirements for a Hunter Education Certificate.  The certificate you receive does fulfill the Bowhunter Certification requirement in other States.

Notes to Parents

  • If the student is under 18 years of age, the required Student Consent form (PDF Form) must be signed by the parent or guardian.
  • Parents or guardians are encouraged to attend with young students, especially those younger than age 16, to help define new words or provide additional mentoring during and after class.
  • Generally, parents/guardians will not be allowed to assist students while taking the required exam.
  • The Online Course and Follow-up class is designed for students 12 years and older.
  • Questions regarding our program? See Frequently Asked Questions.

The Hunter Education Program, as a state mandated, federally funded program, must be made available to all persons. No one may be refused training, certification, or otherwise discriminated against because of age, race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability or national origin. Additionally, the program must be made available to all persons as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If a student needs reasonable accommodations, please contact the District Coordinator for your county. For American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting services, please contact the District Coordinator at least 60 days prior to the desired class date.

Hunter Education Logo

Eyeglasses Safety Demonstration
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How to Fill Out a Deer Tag
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Passing on the Tradition
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The agency receives federal funds. Under federal law, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, color, age, sex, national origin, disability, etc. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility of this agency, please contact CDFW’s CRO Officer at (916) 902-5577 or, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(opens in new tab), or the U.S. Department of the Interior(opens in new tab), or contact their office as follows:

   Chief, Public Civil Rights Division
   Department of the Interior
   1849 C Street NW
   Washington, DC 20240