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.