Interested in hunting? Take an online hunter education class!

Confession: I’ve never been hunting before. I’m more of a camper, hiker, nature loving kind of person. It wasn’t until I joined the Big Sky team a while back that I began seeing (through social media of course) what the world of hunting is really like. There is a lot of skill, planning and research that goes into a hunting trip, and for someone who has never been hunting before it was overwhelming for me to figure out where to start. If you’re interested in giving hunting a try, a great first place to start would be taking a hunter safety education class. A hunter education course goes above and beyond the rules and regulations and gives you a complete introduction into what hunting really entails - it was a perfect place for me to start! 

Similar to driving a car, in order to hunt you need to obtain a hunting license. Depending on your state, requirements for obtaining a license can be different, but once you have a hunting license in one state, most other states will recognize them. You wouldn’t take a driving test if you never drove a car before, so you should definitely take a hunter ed class before applying for a hunting license. Many states actually require it in order to get a hunting license. 

What does a hunter education course look like? As with many certifications and licenses, completing a hunter ed course can be done online. offers a course that’s been approved by 45 states, meaning that your hunter ed course will be valid when you apply for a hunting license in one of those states. They offer a completely online course that has a mix of quizzes, reading material and interactive videos. I found the videos to be most helpful as they are well produced and great for visual learners. It’s open to hunters of all ages, is self paced and takes about 4-6 hours to complete the course in one sitting. If you prefer to learn in person, there may be in person courses available in your community, check with your local parks and wildlife office for more info on this. 

Will I get a grade on quizzes and tests? Yes! You need to score an 80% or above on each quiz and the final exam, however you have unlimited attempts to pass those tests. Since you have unlimited attempts and the course is self paced, you won’t have to devote a lot of time to studying. 

What topics does the hunter education course cover? The great part about taking a hunter ed course is that you will learn a lot about the sport of hunting! You won’t just learn the rules, you’ll learn the basic skills necessary to be a good hunter. Topics covered include:

Knowing your firearm equipment - how to safely use a firearm, using the proper ammunition, cleaning your firearm and differences between firearms are just a few topics in this section.
Basic shooting skills - learn how to properly aim and fire different types of guns.
Basic hunting skills - You’ll learn how to plan and prep for your trip, some basic hunting strategies and what to do once you’ve taken down a target. 
Primitive hunting and technique - how to hunt without firearms, think bowhunting. 
How to be a safe hunter - probably the most important lesson in the course! 
How to  be a responsible and ethical hunter - this gives you extremely important information about rules you should abide by in order to ensure you are hunting responsibly. 
Basic preparation and survival skills - in case something goes wrong on your trip, you’ll learn the basics about survival in the outdoors as well as how to prevent survival situations.
Understanding wildlife - you’ll learn the basics about identifying wildlife as well as the importance of wildlife conservation principles and efforts 

What does the course cost? It depends on what state you get certified through, but it typically ranges from $20-$30, which is very affordable. 

After I complete the course, is it easy to obtain a hunting license? Each state has different requirements for obtaining a hunting license, but the most time consuming part of obtaining a hunting license is taking the hunter ed course. Once this is done, most states just require you to register for a certain type of hunting license and pay a fee. It’s usually pretty quick and easy and can be done online in most states! The best part - no long lines like at the DMV!

I’ve been on the fence about trying hunting for a while, and taking a hunter ed course has really inspired me to take up hunting. For about $25, you get a really solid introduction to everything that goes into planning a hunting trip, which is money well spent in my mind. Once you have that hunting license in hand, remember that you can rent a wide variety of hunting gear through Big Sky. We offer complete bundles of hunting gear that are perfect for the novice hunter who doesn’t want to commit to purchasing a bunch of expensive gear. Best part is it gets shipped right to your home, hotel or Airbnb the day before your hunting trip! 

Have you taken a hunter education course recently? What was the best or worst part about it for you? Share some advice in a comment section below!

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