Basic Hunter Ed. | Trapper Ed. | Bowhunter Ed. | Waterfowl ID & Hunting | Black Powder Ed. | Map, Compass, & Survival

Basic Hunter Education

The Basic Hunter Education Course is mandatory for first-time hunters or hunting license buyers in Massachusetts.

Length of class: By law, this course must be at least 12 hours in length but is typically 15-16 hours and is usually scheduled over five or six weekday evenings. Some courses are conducted on weekends while others are a combination of weeknights and a weekend day.

Class is offered: Year-round at multiple locations around the state.

Types of Basic Hunter Education courses: We have also recently introduced an independent study format which is an alternative to the traditional classroom course. It allows the student to complete some of the material independently, without attending multiple class sessions. This format is being offered in a few locations across the state and is a good option for those students who have scheduling conflicts and find that they cannot attend the evening and weekends required to complete a traditional course. To find out if this format is suitable for your needs, click on the link above. Courses using this format will be listed in the Basic Hunter Education Course listing

Course instruction includes: Safe handling and storage of hunting arms and ammunition, hunting laws and ethics, wildlife identification, wildlife management, care and handling of game, basic survival skills and first aid.

Upon successful completion of this course: Students receive a graduate patch and a MA Certificate of Completion.

All states in the US, Canada, and Mexico recognize this government-issued certificate of completion for the purchase of a hunting or sporting license. In addition, successful completion of the Basic Hunter Education Course fulfills the requirements established by Mass. General Law to make application to your local police for a License to Carry Firearms, or Firearms Identification Card.

How to find a course: View a list of Basic Hunter Education courses. If you wish to be notified about upcoming courses in your area, click here to utilize the MassWildlife Hunter Education form. To enroll, contact the Hunter Education Program at (508) 389-7820.

What to bring to class: Bring a pen and paper to take notes. Dress for the weather and outdoor activity. If a course runs for a day, bring lunch unless otherwise advised by instructors during class.

What to leave at home: Please do NOT bring any firearms or ammunition to class. Only Program firearms and equipment may be used.
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Trapper Education

The Trapper Education Course is mandatory for all first time trappers and Problem Animal Control Agents.  This course includes both classroom work and field training.

Length of class: 10 hours of instruction consisting of both classroom and outdoor field work

Class is offered: About 5 times a year at different locations across the state in the spring, summer, and fall.

Course instruction includes: Best Management Practices for trapping furbearers. The course covers basic techniques with a strong focus on the responsible treatment of animals, legal methods, safety, selectivity, and ethical trapper behavior.

Upon successful completion of this course: Students receive a certificate of completion which is required to apply for a Massachusetts trap registration number.

How to find a course: Complete the MassWildlife Hunter Education form to be notified of a course listing via email. Or, contact the Hunter Education Program at (508) 389-7820.

What to bring: Bring a pen and paper to take notes. Dress for the weather and outdoors.

For more information on trapping, click here.

Those who wish to prepare for a course, review learned material or simply explore course content have a free online option.
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies offers a free online course known as the North American Trapper Education Program which contains all of the standardized Trapper Education course content.
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Bowhunter Education

Massachusetts offers the Bowhunter Education curriculum developed by the National Bowhunter Education Foundation. This course is accepted in other states and provinces which mandate the successful completion of a bowhunter education course; however, it is not required for bowhunting in Massachusetts. This is NOT a substitute for Basic Hunter Education.

Length of class: Most are one-day classes. The course includes a minimum of 8 hours of instruction.

Class is offered: Typically in spring, summer, and fall

Course instruction includes: Selection of equipment, safety, ethics, bowhunting methods, and care and handling of game. The course is designed for both experienced and novice hunters.

Upon successful completion of this course: Students receive a certificate of completion. Although not required in Massachusetts, this is accepted in all other states where Bowhunter Education is required.

How to find a class: Complete the MassWildlife Hunter Education form to be notified of a course listing via email. Or, contact the Hunter Education Program at (508) 389-7820.

What to bring: Students may bring their archery equipment to class to obtain advice on its use and care. Bring a pen and paper to take notes. Dress for the weather and outdoors.

NOTE: A hunting license or archery stamp is not required to take this course.
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Advanced Courses

Waterfowl Identification and Hunting

Length of class: 8 hours

Class is offered: A few times each year

Course instruction includes: Identification of migratory waterfowl, shooting characteristics of steel shot, hunting safely from boats, the proper use of waders, and safety around boats and water.

Upon successful completion of this course: Students receive a certificate of completion.

How to find a class: Contact the Hunter Education Program at (508) 389-7820.

What to bring: Bring a pen and paper to take notes. Dress for the weather and outdoors.
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Black Powder Education

Length of class: 10 hours of instruction including classroom and field work

Course instruction includes: Selection of hunting equipment, state laws, the safe handling of muzzleloaders, and powder storage.

Upon successful completion of this course: Students receive a certificate of completion.

How to find a class: Contact the Hunter Education Program at (508) 389-7820.

What to bring to class: Bring a pen and paper to take notes. If you have a compass, consider bringing it to class. Dress for the weather and outdoors.

What to leave at home: Please do NOT bring any firearms or ammunition components to class. Only Program firearms and equipment may be used.
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Map, Compass & Survival

This is an intensive one-day course utilizing classroom and field instruction. This course is not recommended for anyone under the age of 12.

Length of class: One 10-hour day

Class is offered: Once a month from April to October.

Course instruction includes: Classroom and field exercises. Topics include wilderness survival, as well as compass and topographical map use.

Upon successful completion of this course: Students receive a certificate of completion.

How to find a class: Contact the Hunter Education Program at (508) 389-7820.

What to bring to class: The course is conducted rain or shine. Dress appropriately for the weather and the outdoors and please wear bright outer clothing. We suggest long pants, good walking shoes/boots, sunglasses and/or rain gear. Students should also bring the following: paper, pen or pencil, reading glasses (maps symbols are small), water bottle, a bag lunch and snacks, whistle, one-gallon zip lock bag, insect/tick repellent and Epipen. If you have a compass, consider bringing it to class. If not, compasses will be available for your use.
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