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Basic Hunter Education-Independent Study format

Requires student to attend 2-class sessions and complete a homework assignment.

The Independent Study Basic Hunter Education Course is an alternative format to a traditional classroom course. Students enrolled in an independent study course, are guided by an instructor team and take the same course as students in a traditional course but will work independently to complete some of the essential coursework on their own.  

Independent study courses require students to attend two class sessions, complete the essential coursework/homework and pass a final exam to earn a Basic Hunter Education certificate.

The main advantage with Independent Study is that this format offers flexibility. Students learn some of the material, at their own pace, on their own time, and only need to attend two classroom sessions. The first class is a 3-hour session to introduce students to the course requirements and to receive study materials including the student manual. The second class, scheduled a week or more later, is a full day session known as the "field day" where students participate in a number of hands-on activities.

This format does require as much time and effort as a traditional course and students will need to allot 6-8 hours of their time to complete the necessary coursework/homework. Independent Study is a good option for students with tight schedules and who are self-motivated, conscientious and learn well on their own.

Students 17 years of age or younger must have parental consent to attend our courses. Parents and Guardians are invited and encouraged to stay during the class sessions. Please note that this format may be difficult for students less than 16 years of age unless they receive guidance while completing the homework assignment.

How to complete the Independent Study course in 3 steps

  1. Attend the first class Session. Obtain instruction on course requirements, receive study materials including the student manual and learn about Hunting laws and Hunter ethics.
  2. Do the essential coursework/homework. Completing the coursework/homework earns you credit towards your Massachusetts Basic Hunter Education Certificate and provides the necessary information for you to successfully pass the final exam. Independent Study students can accomplish the assignment by either completing  a free online study guide or reading the student manual to answer questions in a student workbook. Instructors will discuss your options in detail during the first classroom session. You will not be allowed to participate in the field day activities if you do not bring and submit your completed homework assignment.
  3. Participate in the field day and take the final exam. At the field day, students participate in a number of hands-on activities.  Class participation and performance is a factor in determining successful completion of the course. Students are expected to demonstrate safe gun handling and a mature and responsible attitude toward firearms, people and natural resources. There is also a final written exam. Students must pass the final exam with a score of 80% or better.

What should students bring to the field day?

  • Bring your completed coursework/homework.
  • Dress for the weather. Activities will occur outdoors rain or shine.
  • Bring a bagged lunch, snacks, and plenty to drink.

If you need further assistance

Contact the MassWildlife Hunter Education Program by phone or email if you have any questions or need assistance. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (excluding major holidays). If calling outside normal business hours, please leave a message with your name and best daytime phone number. We will return your call.

Direct Phone Number: (508) 389-7820

To find a Basic Hunter Education course in the Independent Study or traditional format, please visit