IMPORTANT - PLAN AHEAD: Be aware that in-person classes are provided by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) certified volunteer instructors. While we are moving towards pre-COVID class availability levels, difficulties may arise in locating a class near you. Please plan to complete a class well before your intended hunting season. Contact WDFW Hunter Education if classes are not available your area (see contact info below under “Course information").
COVID-Related Information: The public is welcome to wear a mask during hunter education classes. Volunteer instructors will follow current procedures related to masking, disinfecting common-touch surfaces and shared equipment, etc. Hand sanitizer will be available for student use. Students may bring snacks and beverages and are encouraged to wash or sanitize their hands prior to eating. If a student, parent, or guardian exhibits COVID symptoms or becomes ill during class, they will be asked to leave. If symptoms develop within 48 hours after a class, they are asked to notify their instructor or WDFW Hunter Education.
Hunter Education Videos: Safety Practices and Hunting Tips
Please explore the following sites that offer supplemental online hunter education instruction. These are valuable resources to help prepare for a hunter education course, refresh your safety skills, and help you become a more confident hunter.
All individuals born after Jan. 1, 1972 must show proof of completing their hunter education certification before purchasing their first Washington hunting license. Qualifying individuals participating in the Hunter Education Deferral Program are exempted from this requirement for one year.
There is no minimum age required to enroll in hunter education.
If you already have a valid hunter education training certificate, just show it to a license vendor to purchase your first Washington 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.
NOTE: The virtual (all-online) hunter education course offered during the COVID-19 pandemic has been discontinued and WDFW has returned to normal class delivery methods. See more information here and below.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife offers two types of hunter education courses that teach firearms and outdoor safety, wildlife management, and hunter responsibility.
- Traditional classroom course - This course is highly recommended for students under the age of 12 and any student seeking a valuable classroom experience. This course is a multi-session instructor-led training with an average of 15 hours of instruction. Course availability may be limited in the fall and winter months.
- Hybrid course - The hybrid course includes a self-paced online class followed by a field skills evaluation where students take a quiz on the online class content and receive hands-on training and evaluation by certified instructors. The hybrid course is appropriate for students who can comprehend and retain online course content.
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 Section (360-902-8111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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 the Peace officer and military exemptions 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.