The PA Wilds is home to over 2.1 million acres of public land, which includes a number of state game lands for hunters. Hunting is safe and getting safer, thanks to hunter education. Since 1959, hunting-related shooting incidents have declined drastically. There is a variety of resources and safety courses for hunters of all experience levels to participate in. The following information was provided by the PA Game Commission and even more information can be found on their website.
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.
Individuals may take hunter-trapper education either through an in-person class or by completing an online class.
Free, In-Person Training: Available to anyone 11 years and older. A training certificate recognized throughout North America is awarded when you pass a test at the end of the Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education course. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children. The training covers responsible hunting behavior, firearms basics and safety, basic shooting, wildlife conservation and management, outdoor safety and survival, hunting techniques, trapping and furtaking basics, and hunting safety. Register for an in-person Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education Class.
Some independent study is required prior to attending this 1-day, in-person session. Prepare for your class by reading chapters 1, 4, 5 and 9 of Today’s Hunter & Trapper in Pennsylvania. Study Online for Free.
The Game Commission makes available two online Hunter-Trapper Education courses for students who prefer to learn through an online format. A training certificate recognized throughout North America is awarded after passing a test at the end of either online course.
Available to anyone 11 years and older. Complete the online Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education course and print a temporary hunter education certificate (a permanent will be mailed). The cost to complete this course is $34.95.
Available to anyone 11 years and older. Complete the online Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education course to receive a hunter education certificate. Certification is only available for Pennsylvania residents. Students will need a Pennsylvania Customer ID number to complete this course. Visit HuntFishPA to locate your existing Customer ID number or create a new one. You will be asked for this number at the end of the NRA online class, and it is required to receive your certificate.
A free online course which focuses on preventing injuries from using elevated stands, and the importance of safe, ethical shots.
This course does not meet requirements to archery hunt in any state requiring certification. The course covers types of elevated tree stands, inspecting and preparing stands, selecting a stand location, fall-arrest systems, hauling equipment into a stand, crossbow safety, shot placement and strategy, practicing and perfecting your skills, and Pennsylvania laws and regulations.
Free, Online Training is voluntary and valuable for both novice and experienced bowhunters. Take the Pennsylvania Archery Safety Course online.
Throughout the fall, the Game Commission will conduct three drawings from the names of the individuals who successfully completed the Archery Safety Course. Each of the three individuals drawn will receive a $500 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, or another outdoor retailer. To be eligible to participate in a drawing, an individual must have completed the course during the three designated time periods of June 15 – September 30th; October 1 – October 30th; or November 1 – November 30th. The complete contest rules are listed here. (PDF)
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 recognized throughout North America is presented upon passing a written test at the end of the course. The course covers 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, tree stand use and safety, and big game recovery and care. This course does not replace the Basic Hunter-Trapper Education training. All first-time hunters must successfully complete Basic Hunter-Trapper Education before purchasing a general hunting license.
For students 11 years and older. Before attending the in-person session, students must complete an independent study that takes about four hours and can be done online or by requesting a student manual. The student then attends a 1-day, 8-hour classroom session. Register for a Successful Bowhunting Class. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county.
Students 16 years and older can complete this certification entirely online and print a temporary Bowhunter hunter education certificate (a permanent certificate will be mailed). Take the Pennsylvania-Approved Bowhunter Course online.
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. The course includes Best Management Practices (BMPs); furtaker ethics, laws, and responsibility; tools for successful furtaking; cable devices; trapline basics; and both water and land sets.
Participants successfully completing these courses are permitted to use cable restraints to take foxes and coyotes in Pennsylvania. Certification enables you to purchase a furtaking license to trap furbearers. Certification does not replace Basic Hunter-Trapper Education required to hunt furbearers with a hunting license.
Before attending the in-person session, students must complete an independent study, which takes six to eight hours and can be done online or by requesting a student manual. The student then attends a 1-day, 6-hour classroom session. This course includes cable-restraint certification. Register for a Successful Furtaking Class. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county.
This course is approximately four hours. Certification is required for any trapper using cable devices to capture foxes and coyotes in Pennsylvania. Register for a Cable Device Certification Class. If there are no classes listed in your area, contact the Game Commission region office serving your county.
Students 11 and older can complete the cable device certification entirely online and print a temporary cable device certificate (the permanent certificate will be mailed). The course takes about two hours to complete.
The PA Game Commission has additional information on how to become an instructor, replacing your Hunter, Education Card, and more. Can’t find a Hunter Education Class that you needed? No problem! Help the PA Game Commission schedule future classes by completing this survey.
The format and information in this article was taken directly from the PA Game Commission’s Pennsylvania Hunter Education web page. Please visit this site for additional information and resources.
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