Hunter Education

Class participant shooting clays.


The Maryland Hunter Education Course takes 12 to 14 hours to complete. Students must attend all sessions of the class to pass. Most courses require that youngsters under the age of 14 be accompanied by a participating adult.

The course covers: hunter responsibility, firearms and ammunition, firearm handling and safety, marksmanship and shooting fundamentals, principles of wildlife management, bow hunting, muzzleloader hunting, tree stand safety, safety and first aid, water safety, and Maryland legal requirements.

Students must pass a 50-question multiple choice test with a grade of 80 percent, demonstrate to the instructor that he or she can safely handle a firearm in a field situation and participate in live firing. Students must also demonstrate to the instructor that they are responsible and the mature.

Most courses are offered in the late summer and early fall prior to the start of hunting seasons, with some courses scheduled in the spring before spring turkey season.

We recommend that you review the hunter education requirements and course information (below) before you go to the Maryland Hunter Education Classes and sign up. When registering by phone for a class, remember, you are contacting a volunteer instructor at his or her home and you should be considerate concerning the time of day you call. Specific hours to call and not to call may be indicated on the course schedule.

Maryland started a voluntary hunter education program in 1966. In 1977, the Maryland legislature made it mandatory for all first-time hunters to complete a hunter education course.

NEW – An Apprentice Hunting License is now available for first-time hunters. The Apprentice Hunting License is a one-time license available to both residents and nonresidents who have never hunted before. Satisfactory completion of a short, online hunter safety course is required prior to purchasing the license and the apprentice hunter is required to hunt with a resident at least 18 years old who possesses a valid Maryland hunting license.  For more information...

Young man shooting a bow.Hunter Education Requirements

To purchase a hunting license or to hunt in Maryland, state law requires:

  • Presentation of a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety (required for junior licensees), or
  • Certification that you held a hunting license issued prior to July 1, 1977, or
  • Certification that you hunted on private property prior to July 1, 1977, and were legally exempt from purchasing a hunting license, or
  • Certification that you are purchasing a nonresident license and will only hunt waterfowl.


  • The hunter education requirement does not apply to those who purchase the “Apprentice License” as long as they comply with the requirements set forth.
  • People under the age of 18 hunting on family property when a license is not required must have a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety.

Maryland accepts hunter education certifications from all other U.S. States. If you possess a hunter education certificate/card from another state, it will be accepted in Maryland as proof of meeting our hunter education requirement and completion of a Maryland hunter education course would not be required.

Exemption to Maryland Hunter Education Field Day Workshops for Military, Law Enforcement and Certain Handgun Permit Holders

The Maryland Natural Resources Police Hunter Education Program is now offering exemptions to the internet field day workshop. The following exemptions are for students that have completed Maryland's hunter education course via online and qualify under one of the following professions/trainings:

  • Active-duty or honorably discharged members of the U.S. military who are stationed in the State of Maryland or who are permanent Maryland residents.
  • Any permanent Maryland resident that is a current or retired law enforcement officer from the State of Maryland (must hold, or previously held, a Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission Police Officer Certification, and employed / retired from a Maryland law enforcement agency; note that special police officer certifications are not accepted).
  • Any permanent Maryland resident that holds a current, State of Maryland Permit to Carry a Handgun, issued by the Maryland State Police. Note that a Maryland Handgun Qualification License (HQL) IS NOT a qualifying permit for the exemption.
  • Information on Exemption to Maryland Hunter Education Field Day Workshops for Military, Law Enforcement and Certain Handgun Permit Holders.

In qualifying under one of the aforementioned professions and certifications, you will be required to supply the following supporting documents:

  • ​Copy of Driver's License or State Identification Card (front only) AND;
  • Copy of State of Maryland Hunter Education Online Course Completion Document AND;
  • If active law enforcement, a copy of current Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission Police Officer Compliance Card (front & back) AND a copy of your current agency ID card (front & back) OR;
  • If retired law enforcement, a letter from Chief/Sheriff/Superintendent that you were previously employed as a police officer (must be on agency letterhead and signed by agency head) OR;
  • If active duty military, copy of most recent LES (Leave & Earnings Statement; please be sure to black out your SSN when submitting), AND a copy of your Common Access Card (CAC; front & back) AND a copy of your duty orders (duty orders required only if submitting request as a non-resident) OR:
  • If honorably discharged from the military, a copy of your Member 4 DD-214 (please be sure to black out your SSN when submitting) OR;
  • ​A copy of your State of Maryland Permit to Carry a Handgun issued by the Maryland State Police (front & back of card required; must be current). Note that a Maryland Handgun Qualification License (HQL) IS NOT a qualifying permit for the exemption.

To submit a request for an exemption, students must complete this form.

Please allow up to four weeks for processing.

Once all requirements are met, we will email students an email copy of their hunter education certification card. However, students completing the internet course and who do not qualify for the exemption would still be required to complete an internet field day workshop before issuing a certification card.

Please note that the submission of fraudulent or fictitious government documents is a crime. If such is found to be submitted, it will be investigated thoroughly, and offenders will be prosecuted to the law's fullest extent.

For questions and concerns, please email​. Be sure to verify your email address on the form, as this will be the main correspondence between you and our agency.

Become a Maryland Hunter Education Instructor

Over 7,000 novice hunters are trained each year in safe and responsible hunting practices by teams of dedicated volunteer instructors. Maryland's Hunter Education Program is one of the best in the country because instructors are dedicated to continuing the hunting heritage and insuring that first time hunters have the knowledge, skills and attitude to be a safe and responsible in the field.

The Hunter Education Program is seeking new instructor teams to teach the course. Instructors must have three years of hunting experience, the ability to work with youngsters and the desire to provide quality training to hunters. Prospective educators must complete an application, pass a background investigation and attend an instructor training program. Sporting clubs are encouraged to develop a team from interested members. Teams that commit to teaching a minimum of three classes a year will be provided with an instructor training program at their facility.

Help ensure the future of hunting by becoming a member of our elite corps of Maryland Hunter Education Instructors. For further information contact Maryland's Hunter Education Program at 410-643-8502 or email us at:​