Hunter Education Classes

 

Since Hunter Education became mandatory for 12–15 year old and first-time hunters in 1988, there has been a 25% reduction in the rate of hunting-related shooting incidents. While hunting is safe in comparison to other common sports, each injury can cause extreme physical and emotional pain for the victim, the shooter, and their families. Hunter Education courses are designed to teach hunting safety, principles of conservation, and sportsmanship. A dedicated cadre of nearly 1,000 trained volunteer instructors works with 170 Conservation Police Officers to train over 14,000 students each year.

 REGULATIONS

From “Hunting & Trapping in Virginia, July 2015 – June 2016”, Page 11, published by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries:

Mandatory Hunter Education

Hunter Education courses provide instruction in hunter safety, principles of conservation, and sportsmanship. The courses are composed of two sections:

  • Section 1 – Self-study
    Each student is required to study course material prior to the classroom portion.
  • Section 2 – Classroom portion
    Students will focus on safety and ethics. A written test will be given at the end of the class. Test questions will cover material from the classroom portion and from the self-study material.

Courses are offered free of charge throughout the Commonwealth.  For more information, go to the VDGIF Hunter Education page or call the Hunter Education Coordinator at the nearest VDGIF regional office. 

Click on the logo to go to the VDGIF Hunter Education page

Click on the box below to go to the VDGIF Class Locator page

Find a Class

Click on the phone below for a listing of the VDGIF Hunter Education Coordinators and Regional offices

Hunter Education Requirements

You must complete an approved hunter education course and carry your card while hunting if either of the following apply:

· You are 12–15 years of age. (You must complete hunter education but you do not have to carry your card if accompanied and properly supervised by a licensed adult.)

· You are at least 16 years of age and you are hunting with your first hunting license.

Virginia accepts and recognizes all states’ and countries’ hunting licenses and official hunter education credentials for the purpose of complying with mandatory hunter education requirements. These may be in the form of an identification card or certificate.

Q: Is there a minimum age for taking a hunter education course?

A: There is no minimum age for taking a hunter education course. The only requirement is that a person taking the course must be able to comprehend and retain the information learned. Since the course is required for all 12-15 year-old hunting license buyers, it is designed for those 12 years of age. Some instructors may require that younger children be supervised by an adult companion. It is recommended that all children under 12 be accompanied by an adult.

SO…

How to get a Hunting License

 

Q: How do I get started?

Virginia’s hunter education course is 6–8 hours long and includes interactive classroom activities and hands-on exercises by students to demonstrate safe firearm handling skills. Some classes may be offered all in one day, and others may be scheduled over the course of 2-3 days.  Scheduling depends on the availability of the volunteer instructors that support the program.  Students are required to complete several hours of self-study prior to the class.  Some material on the final test will be covered in the self-study material and is not discussed during actual class time.

Students are required to obtain a Today’s Hunter student manual for Virginia, available through one of these three methods:

Number 1

Pick up and study a FREE Today’s Hunter student manual at any regional DGIF office.  Click on the phone picture above to find out which office is closest to you

Number 2

Purchase and study a Today’s Hunter student manual for $10.95 plus $5.00 shipping. Call Kalkomey Customer Service at 1-800-830-2268 and be sure to identify yourself as Virginia resident.

Number 3

Download and study a FREE Today’s Hunter student manual from Kalkomey.  Click on the image below to go to the bookstore.

Kalkomey logo

IMPORTANT NOTE:  ALL students will need to fill out the four (4) pages of Chapter Review Exercises in the back of the manual and bring them to class.  Instructors are required to verify that the self-study tests have been successfully and thoroughly completed.  Students will only be certified if the completed Chapter Review Exercises are submitted to an instructor.

AND

On April 1, 2016, Virginia implemented a new “full-online” adult hunter education course. You must be a Virginia resident and 12 years of age or older to take this course. There is no classroom requirement. The course providers allow you to print out a certificate after you pass the course.

The full-online course has the same general content as the “Self Study + Class” but requires state-specific information to be covered along with quizzes or tests in which the student must achieve a score of 90% or better to pass.

Click on the “Hunt Smart Hunt Safe” image below to see the companies authorized to provide the ADULT full-online hunter education course for Virginia. These state-approved courses are commercially provided and are not administered by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

hunt-smart-safe

REPLACEMENT CARDS

Please call the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at 1-866-721-6911 Monday-Friday during business hours (except holidays) for replacement hunter education cards. There is a $10 fee for replacement cards. You will be requested to provide the following information: your full name, date of birth, approximate date (year or month/year) of class, and current mailing address. If your attendance can be verified, a duplicate card will be issued.

 BECOMING A HUNTER EDUCATION VOLUNTEER

Volunteer instructors are the backbone of the Virginia Hunter Education Program.  They train about 14,000 students per year to be safe, ethical, knowledgeable hunters.  Hunter Education volunteers are committed to training the next generation to be safe, knowledgeable and ethical participants in an enduring Virginia tradition. Many have had enjoyable hunting experiences and now say that they want to “give something back.”  If this describes you, please get in touch with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. It can be a very rewarding experience.

There is a need for instructors, class organizers, and help with transporting materials. Since working with children and firearms is part of the program, all applicants must submit to a criminal background check. You must be 18 years of age and of good character to volunteer for this program.  All Hunter Education instructors are required to complete an 18 hour training program to become certified.  Anyone who wishes to become involved can contact the Regional Hunter Education Coordinator at the nearest regional VDGIF office (see the link above), or the State Coordinator, Sgt. David Dodson, at david.dodson@dgif.virginia.gov.