The majority of Hunter Safety Education classes are offered in the fall leading up to Maryland’s standard hunting seasons but many classes are held throughout the year but fill up quickly. New classes are posted often. Prospective students are encouraged to check the schedule frequently year round. Planning well ahead of your hunt is key.
***Attention Parents of Younger Students and Those with Special Needs Attending In-person Training***
- Any student under the age of 13 years old must have an adult (18 years or older) accompany them during any session of the Hunter Education Course unless otherwise stated on the registration site.
- Training teams will have the discretion to require adult supervision for students 13 to 16 years old or non-drivers of any age.
- Training teams will have the discretion to require any student chaperones to remain outside the actual classroom, trail walk and/or range. Refer to the individual class description on the registration page.
- Teaching teams are the guest of the facilities that allow them to teach there. Therefore some classes may have specific age limitations in order to accommodate facility by-laws or insurance regulations. Please read the class description on the registration page thoroughly.
- Students who rely on transportation from another person must ensure that the transportation is on time. If the student’s transportation is more than thirty minutes late, the instructor may at their discretion dismiss the student from further participation in the course.
- Any student registering for a class that has a special need (i.e. interpreter, physical or mental disability, etc.) must contact the chief instructor at the time of registration in order to allow the team time to prepare appropriate accommodations.
- Hunter Education classrooms are filled with student of all ages. The curriculum is designed to accommodate approximate 5th grade age students. Although students of any age may attend, the success rate of students decreases below that age. Instructors will make every attempt to achieve the success of every student where possible.
- Parents may not assist their children with any portion of the training. This includes testing, trail walk or range events. If reading is an issue, please communicate with the instructors at the time of the class and an instructor may be available to read the test aloud.
The first, and preferred, option to obtain the Certificate of Competency required to purchase a Maryland hunting license is the Hunter Safety Education
The Classroom Course is a fully in-person, multi-day training event provided by state certified Hunter Safety Education Instructors. The Classroom Courses are scheduled independently by the training teams all over the state and are posted on the DNR website listed below. The Classroom Course is provided free of charge to the student and pre-registration is required.
What to Expect at the Hunter Safety Education Classroom Course
Students will be provided with all information needed to successfully pass evaluation at the Classroom Course.
Generally, the Classroom Course will last 12 to 16 hours spread over multiple days. Duration of the event may vary due to the number of students and class participation. Trained Hunter Safety Education Instructors may adapt the presentation of material to the needs of the class and the limitations of the facility.
The Classroom Course will include the following events:
- Classroom sessions provided by trained Hunter Education Instructors that include in-depth instruction on:
A pass/fail "Trail Walk" observed and scored by trained Hunter Education Instructors.
- Firearm Equipment
- Basic Shooting Skills
- Tree-stand Safety & Using Boats/ATVs
- Basic Hunting Skills
- Primitive Hunting Equipment & Techniques
- Being a Responsible and Ethical Hunter
- Preparation and Survival Skills
- Wildlife Conservation
- Information specific to the State of Maryland
- An emphasis on Tree Stand Safety
- A 50 question multiple choice test – requires an 80% score to pass
- Explanation and demonstration of tasks graded on the Trail Walk
- Resources for continued growth in hunting sports (specialized training, mentorship and hunting opportunities)
Students are presented with ethical, legal and/or safe decision making scenarios in "Shoot or Don't Shoot" format. Students will demonstrate the safe handling of hunting firearms.
A range session under supervision of trained Range Safety Officers on an approved range that includes:
- Proper carry techniques
- Safe muzzle control (pointing a firearm or simulated firearm training aid at another person is grounds for course failure)
- Identify safe zones of fire.
- Identify and properly use safety mechanisms.
- Open & close firearm actions.
- Load & unload a firearm.
- Identify correct ammunition.
- Students will demonstrate the safe negotiation techniques of common obstacles encountered while hunting.
- Minimum of two (2) rounds of live fire.
- At some facilities the use of simulated firearm training aids may be approved for use.
- Marksmanship is not evaluated.
- General safety violations may be grounds for course failure.
Students must also demonstrate to an instructor the ability to behave in a mature and safe manner.
Classroom Courses may vary from training to training and are designed to be flexible. Instructors may shift the focus of the instruction, or the style of instruction as needed based on the age/experience of the overall student group or a demonstrated need for a different training/testing technique.
Please make a note of any special instructions when registering for the Classroom Course as some training facilities have special requirements. Be sure that you have the proper clothing for the outdoor sessions.
In order to provide maximum class opportunities, and due to limitations at certain facilities, some classes may have a waiver of the live-fire requirement. Read the individual class descriptions or contact the Chief instructor to determine if the class you are looking to attend falls into this category.
Certification of Competency will be provided after successful completion of the Classroom Course
Maryland highly encourages all persons who wish to hunt in Maryland to attend a traditional, fully in-person Classroom Course. These classes provide a maximum amount of interaction between experienced hunters/instructors, outdoorsman, subject matter experts and other individuals who can discuss current issues and importantly, answer specific questions. These classes generally provide a much greater opportunity for a successful learning experience and a foundation for a lifetime of safe hunting for everyone. In addition, the traditional in-person classes provide much more “hands on” time for students with specific training aides such as tree stands and inert training firearms. This is especially important for younger students.
Follow the link below to see the currently scheduled classes and register: