Who needs Basic Hunter Education?

If you want to purchase your first hunting license and have never taken Hunter Education before, you should enroll.

Individuals who wish to purchase their first hunting or sporting license and who have never graduated from Basic Hunter Education should enroll.


By state law, anyone 18 years of age or older, who wishes to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license must have either:

  • A government issued Basic Hunter Education certificate from any jurisdiction


  • A hunting or sporting license held prior to January 1, 2007 from any jurisdiction in North America

All forms of hunting require a hunting or sporting license regardless of the implement being utilized.

If you are hunting using archery or primitive equipment, and you are 18 years of age or older, you must meet the above requirements to purchase a hunting license. 

Basic Hunter Education vs. a Firearms Safety Course
The Basic Hunter Education course is not the same as a Firearms Safety Course. You cannot use a Firearms Safety Course certificate of completion to meet the requirements for purchasing a hunting or sporting license. 


Minors (17 years of age or younger) follow specific regulations based off of their age but will still need to have completed a Basic Hunter Education if they wish to continue hunting once they are 18 or older. Additionally, if they wish to hunt alone (15 years of age or older) and/or participate in certain youth hunt days, they will need to have a certificate of completion from a Basic Hunter Education course. 

Additional Resources

Obtaining a firearms license with Basic Hunter Education

Those wishing only to obtain a firearms license do not necessarily need Basic Hunter Education.

Successful completion of a certified Firearms Safety course or the 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. 

A Firearms Safety Course offered by authorized individuals and groups may be more appropriate and convenient if a student does not plan on hunting.

Additional Resources

Looking for a refresher course?

Those seeking to refresh their hunting and firearm safety knowledge can use a free online study guide:

  • www.huntercourse.com/usa/massachusetts: MassWildlife has collaborated with HunterCourse.com to provide this study guide. It is a fully interactive, illustrated, and narrated course. The entire Basic Hunter Education curriculum is covered.


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