Hunter education training

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.

Course Information

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Hybrid course - The hybrid course includes a self-paced online module followed by a field skills evaluation where students take a quiz on the online portion content and receive hands-on training and evaluation by certified instructors. The hybrid course is appropriate for students who can comprehend and retain the online portion content.

Note: Students who do not pass the field skills evaluation class are required to retake the online portion before signing up for another field skills evaluation class. Please contact the Hunter Education Section (360-902-8111 or by email at to reset the online portion and receive a coupon code before registering for the second online module.

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 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.

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