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 taught in 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 homework and pass a final written 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 attend two class sessions. The first class is a 3.5-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 practical, hands-on, activities and take the final exam.  

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 homework assignment. 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

  1. Find and enroll in a Basic Hunter Education course in the Independent Study format.
  2. Attend the first class. Obtain instruction on course requirements, receive study materials including the student manual and learn about Hunting laws and Hunter ethics.
  3. Do the essential coursework/homework. Completing the homework assignment earns you credit towards your Massachusetts Basic Hunter Education Certificate and provides the necessary information for you to successfully pass the final exam. There are two options. Students can either complete a free online study guide or the Northeast Hunter Education student workbook. Instructors will discuss your options in detail during the first class. You will need to bring and submit your completed homework assignment to the field day event to participate.
  4. Participate in the field day and take the final exam. At the field day, students participate in several practical, 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. Lastly, students must pass a closed book final exam with a passing score of 80% or better.

Additional Resources for

Instructions for Students to complete the homework assignment

Doing the necessary homework earns you credit towards your Massachusetts Basic Hunter Education Certificate and provides the necessary information for you to successfully pass the final exam.

You have two options:

  1. The first option is to complete the Northeast Hunter Education Manual Workbook. The questions in the workbook are designed to strengthen what you learn by reading and studying the student manual. This is a good option for those who prefer to take notes and prefer to complete their work by hand.
    • Workbooks will be provided at the first class to those who request one (if your first class is virtual, call the office and we will mail you the workbook).
      • The Workbook is 36 pages long and is divided into chapters that correspond with the student manual. We suggest you read and understand one chapter of the student manual at a time, and then complete the corresponding chapter in the workbook, answering all questions.
      • Bring the completed workbook to the field day. Remember to write your full name on it. It will be collected and will serve as your proof of completing the home assignment for credit.
  2. The second option is to complete a free online study guide. If you choose this option, you will need an email address, an internet connection, and a printer.
    • Visit and create an account using your full legal name and an email address (please note, each student will need their own unique email address to create an account).
      • The online MA Hunter Study guide is comprised of 16 sections (12 chapters and 4 virtual field day hunt situations) each with a quiz. Read each section and complete the quizzes.  You must receive a score of 80% or better to proceed to the next section. You can retake each quiz as many times as necessary.
      • Once all 16 quizzes are successfully completed (80% or better), you will end on a final “Congratulations” page. Print the “Congratulations” page and bring it to the field day. Ensure that your full name is written on it. It will be collected and will serve as your proof of completing the home assignment for credit.
      • If you do not have access to a printer, you can bring an electronic device and access your account to show us the page or take a screen shot and show us an image of the page.

Tips for success:

  • Make it a joint effort. Get help and discuss the lessons. It’s okay to do the coursework with family and friends as long as you understand every lesson and can complete the workbook/pass the quizzes on your own.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to start the homework. Plan your time now. The homework assignment takes 6 to 8 hours to complete.

What should students bring to the field day?

  • Each student must bring their homework (either the completed workbook or success page from the online study guide).
  • Plenty to drink and eat including snacks, and a bagged lunch.
  • Dress for comfort and the weather (i.e., hiking or running shoes & long pants). Courses may include outdoor activities and students should expect to be outside for part of the class - rain or shine.
  • Something to write with (pen, pencil).

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