Individuals who wish to purchase their first-ever hunting or sporting license and who have never graduated from a Basic Hunter Education course should enroll in a course.
Please note: If you had already held a hunting or sporting license prior to Jan. 1, 2007, you are already eligible to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license.
Who needs to complete a Basic Hunter Education course?
By state law, you are eligible for a Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License if you meet one of the following statements:
You hold a government-issued Basic Hunter Education certificate (from any jurisdiction).
You held a hunting or sporting license before January 1, 2007 (from any jurisdiction).
Proof is not required. If you buy your license from a vendor or at a MassWildlife office, you’ll be asked to verbally state (verbal affidavit) whether you held a hunting or sporting license before 2007, or if you’ve ever passed a Basic Hunter Education course.
Important: A verbal or electronic affidavit means that you declare, under penalty of perjury, that you’re eligible for a hunting or sporting license.
If you completed your Basic Hunter Education requirement in another jurisdiction, you must be diligent to ensure that you understand and adhere to Massachusetts' hunting laws. For a guide, please download the Massachusetts Hunting and Fishing Regulation Guide or pick up a hard copy at any license vendor.
Children under the age of 18 follow a specific set of regulations based off of their age. For more information, please read the Hunting Regulations for Minors.
Additional Resources for Who needs to complete a Basic Hunter Education course?
Basic Hunter Education vs. a Firearms Safety Course
The Basic Hunter Education course is not the same course as a Firearms Safety Course. You cannot use a Firearms Safety Course certificate to meet the requirements for purchasing a hunting or sporting license.
If you do NOT plan on hunting: a certified firearms safety course is the ideal choice to fulfill the training requirement needed to apply for a firearms license with your local police department. Certified firearms safety courses are taught by independent instructors and can typically be completed in 1 day.
If you do plan on hunting in Massachusetts and you did not hold a hunting license prior to 2007: You must take a Basic Hunter Education course. The Basic Hunter Education course is offered by MassWildlife's Hunter Education Program and typically includes 15 hours of instruction over a minimum of 2 days.
If you do plan on hunting in a jurisdiction other than Massachusetts: You must adhere to that jurisdiction's regulations.
Obtaining a firearms license (FID or LTC)
Those wishing only to obtain a firearms license do not necessarily need Basic Hunter Education.
Successful completion of either a Certified Firearms Safety course or a Massachusetts Basic Hunter Education course fulfills the requirements to apply with your local police department for a Firearms Identification Card (FID) or a License to Carry (LTC) permit.
For more details about obtaining a FID or LTC, please read about Gun Ownership in Massachusetts or call your local police department.