Hunter education training

All individuals born after Jan. 1, 1972 must show proof of hunter education certification before purchasing their first Washington hunting license. Individuals participating in the Hunter Education Deferral Program are exempted from this requirement for one year.

If you already have a valid hunter education training certificate, just show it to a license vendor to purchase a hunting license. Hunter education training certificates can be from Washington or another state. Please note that an out-of-state license is not the same as a hunter education certificate.

There is no minimum age required to enroll in hunter education, but instructors may require a parent or guardian to attend all classes if students are under 12 years of age.

Course information

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife offers two types of hunter education courses that go over firearms and outdoor safety, wildlife management, and hunter responsibility. 

The traditional course is a multi-day instructor led training consisting of between 10 and 20 hours of instruction. This format is recommended for young students and people seeking a classroom experience.

The online course is a two-part course. The online class is a student driven interactive web tool teaching the same content as the traditional course. After successfully completing the online class, students must complete a four-hour field skills evaluation class with certified instructors. The online class and the field skills evaluation class together make up the online course.

Note: Students who do not pass the field skills evaluation class are required to retake the online class before signing up for another field skills evaluation class. Please contact the Hunter Education Division (360-902-8111 or by email at huntered@dfw.wa.gov) to reset the online class and receive a coupon code before registering for another online class.

Hunter education courses are taught by volunteer instructors. Interested in becoming an instructor? Learn about the requirements and how to sign up.

Find information on Trapper Education. Find information on Bowhunter Education.

Peace officer or military exemptions

Qualifying peace officers and military personnel may be exempt from the firearms field skills portion of any hunter education course that is completed online. To learn more, please visit this page.

Firearm storage and suicide

Hunting and target shooting are rich traditions enjoyed by millions of individuals and families nationwide.   As a current or future hunter or target shooter, you likely have, or will have, firearms in the home. 

We all play a critical role in preventing unauthorized or undesirable access to firearms to help prevent accidents, theft, and suicide. The statistics associated with suicide with a firearm are staggering… please do your part and practice safe firearm storage.

Please use the links below to learn more about suicide awareness and prevention, the importance of safe firearm storage, and the range of storage options available.

This important information is provided consistent with state law, RCW 43.70.445.

For more information, visit the Safer Homes, Suicide Aware campaign and Project Childsafe.