GH 2: Hunter Education, Everything You want to Know

How to Get Signed Up for Hunter Education

So today on the podcast we will focus on hunter education. What it is and what it is not. Why do you need to take hunter education and how you can get registered for a local class in your area.

Enroll in a hunter education program. Every state offers hunter education, but finding a class in your local area can be difficult.

Your local wildlife management office is where you can sign up. They should be willing and capable to help you find the closest class or opportunity to get your hunter education certificate.

Volunteers usually teach hunter education in a classroom setting. Most of those volunteers are hunters themselves. So, often when people realize they need hunter education, it is close to hunting season and the volunteers are getting ready for their next hunting adventure. With all that said, don’t hesitate to find the next available class in your area and get signed up.

Now the classes can be taught differently in their structure in every state. The important part is that once you pass your hunter education or bowhunter education in any state, it is recognized by all the states in the US and provinces of Canada. So you only need to take the class one time. It should be good for the rest of your life. 

Want to Hunt in Another State?

Now as I stated in the first podcast, I have taught people in their 60’s in my hunter education classes. But sometimes that is because they want to go hunt in a different state other than Idaho and because they never took hunter ed in Idaho or they can’t find their certificate, they must get a hunter education certificate to hunt in certain other states as a non-resident. 

You see some states have strict laws that say every non-resident hunter must show proof of hunter education before they can purchase a tag or hunting license regardless of their age. An example I often encounter is someone who has lived in Idaho their entire life and never had to take hunter education. But, now they want to go hunt Colorado and they need a certificate to show Colorado Parks and Wildlife before they can get their Conservation license in that state. 

Hunters education wasn’t required in 1981 when I started hunting as long as you waited until you reached 18 before buying your first license. But I wanted to hunt at the age of 12 so I took the class. Now Idaho requires everyone born after 1974, regardless of their age must complete a hunter education course.

Hunter Education is More than Hunter Safety

But with all that said, regardless of what you know or think you know. Taking the class is a good decision even if you never hunt. It will educate you about the importance of animal conservation and why hunting is a valid and necessary part of the equation needed for true wildlife management. 

I’ll share a little story about how I got involved in teaching hunter ed. It’s not like me to sign up for something like teaching classes, but I quickly developed a passion for teaching hunter education. 

So a little over 10 years ago my stepson turned 12 and he wanted to go hunting with me. So I signed him up for a class in my local area. Now thinking that there was no way I was going to let some stuffy old guy fill my kids head full of crap he didn’t need to know or teach him some junk that was unnecessary, I made sure to attend every class with him. Yes, I was pretty confident that I knew everything my son needed to know.

By the third day of class, I realized how lazy I had become as a hunter. As I went through that class with my son, it was apparent that I needed to reconsider some of the choices I was making when it came to safely handling firearms, and I needed to think about my attitude toward other hunters and the future of hunting. 

I’m telling you I was very selfishly focused and lacked concern for the other hunters and their opportunities. Now I’m not saying I was a bad person, I had just developed over the last 28 years a very narrow view of what was important when it came to hunting, and my gun handling skills were very lackadaisical at best. 

I really thought I knew everything I needed to know when I entered that class, but I left it a changed man. So changed that I volunteered to teach and have had the pleasure of helping a couple of thousand people get their hunting license in Idaho. It has been one of the most rewarding activities I’ve ever volunteered to do. 

Hunter Education Class Explained

So I would like to give you a list of the topics I discuss in my hunter education classes and share with you a little about each one. But first I want to say, don’t get overwhelmed if there is something here you don’t understand. You will learn about it in your hunter ed classes and we will also discuss these subjects in greater detail in future podcasts.

  1. Learning your firearm equipment 
    1. You will learn all the parts of a firearm and how they work. This includes rifles, shotguns, and handguns.
    2. You will learn about ammunition and how it works with the proper rifle caliber or shotgun. See examples of why it is critical to match a firearm with only ammunition designed for that gun
    3. You will understand the 6 different actions and how they work.
    4. I discuss all the safeties on different guns, sight options, how far a bullet can travel and you even learn how to clean your firearm.
  2. Shooting skills 
    1. You will learn marksmanship and all the steps to making a perfect shot.
    2. Discover your dominant eye and how knowing that can improve your shooting in a matter of minutes.
    3. Get an understanding of how to properly sight in a rifle.
    4. You learn the 4 main shooting positions and the why and how behind each one.
    5. I also teach you how to properly shoot a shotgun and some basic bird hunting techniques that will keep you safe in the field
  3. Basic hunting skills 
    1. You will learn planning and preparation for your hunt which is critical to a successful outcome
    2. I explain the different hunting strategies and what makes each one unique and valuable
    3. You learn the vital area on the animal you are hunting and how to make a quick killing shot
    4. We also discuss the steps for field dressing an animal and proper transportation to the place where you plan to process your game
  4. Primitive hunting equipment 
    1. You will learn about all about muzzleloaders. How load, fire and clean them.
    2. We discuss the different bows and what makes each one unique.
    3. You will learn proper archery shooting techniques and understand the flight of the arrow.
    4. We also learn about broadheads and choosing the right one for your arrow.
  5. How to be a safe hunter 
    1. We focus on hunting safely and the things you must consider before releasing an arrow or squeezing the trigger on your firearm
    2. You will learn the 6 ways to carry a rifle safely. There are things to consider before you position your rifle to carry it.
    3. You learn how to properly cross obstacles when by yourself or hunting with a partner
    4. We also talk about the influences of drugs and alcohol. We all know they should not be mixed with firearms and hunting
    5. I will also explain why elevated stands are a great hunting technique. You also learn what equipment to use if you choose to hunt this way.
  6. Responsibilities and ethical behavior 
    1. We discuss hunting laws and the purpose they serve. In my class, we learn how to read through different hunting regulations.
    2. You learn what is fair chase and why it is critical to the future of hunting
    3. You will get to explain to me what you think an ethical hunter looks like. We discuss how this choice can affect other people who don’t hunt
    4. We discuss respecting other hunters, landowners, and non-hunters. You learn the value of sharing your love for the outdoors with future generations
    5. But my favorite part of this section is discussing the stages of a hunter. We all progress through these different stages in relation to different animals.
  7. Basic preparation and survival skills 
    1. You will receive a Hunt Planner and understand the importance of making others aware of your hunting destination. This is just in case there is an unforeseen accident.
    2. We discuss what good hunting clothing is and is not as well as how to dress for the hunt.
    3. You learn how to use GPS tools for navigating through the woods as well as a map and compass. Knowing where you are and where you are going can truly increase your odds of success.
    4. Of course, you learn basic survival skills and first aid in case something goes wrong while hunting
  8. Wildlife conservation 
    1. You will learn about conservation vs. preservation and the value of both ideals
    2. You will understand wildlife management and the importance of habitat management
    3. Discover what carrying capacity is and the hunter’s role in the future of hunting

These topics cover the basics of hunting and give you a great start. Once you pass your hunter safety class, you will gain confidence from your new-found knowledge and skills. 

So do you need to get signed up for a class and get started? The easiest way is to contact your local wildlife agency and ask for help. They should help you. Please let me know if they don’t. 

Sign Up Online for Hunter Ed

Check out the online course options for hunter education at Choose a link and get signed up for a program designed for your state. You may still need to attend a one day field day to complete the online course option. 

But here is the truth about learning to hunt. 

Passing a hunter education course is the first and easiest part of becoming a hunter. It’s book work and a couple of tests when you finish the class.

The real challenge comes when you make a commitment to get in the woods and learn how to hunt. That is why it is so critical to find good mentors. These are the people who will invest in you because they love hunting. They want it to be here for future generations to enjoy.

Are you a veteran hunter who cares about the future of our hunting tradition and lifestyle? You can make a difference by finding someone to mentor. Maybe I’ve provoked you to contact your local wildlife agency and volunteer to teach hunter education. Without you sharing your experiences and stories this tradition will fade away.

Connect with Greenhorn Hunting

Are you a new hunter and you are looking for a hunting mentor? Then join me and the Greenhorn community so you can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

Quick Tip You can find an online hunter safety course in your state by visiting one of the following websites or find these links at

If you still need help getting enrolled in a class, don’t hesitate to send me an email and I’ll be glad to help. ( 

Links Related to today’s podcast 

Get a free copy of Learn to Hunt: 10 Steps to Hunting Success

Learn about the Hunter passport in Idaho

Idaho Hunter Education website

Visit to see options for taking an online class in your state

Get a copy of our Hunt Planner at

Here are two GPS mapping tools that may interest you onXmaps and Huntwise

Video of Elk101 broadhead in leg video

Lastly, I would like to invite you to join the brand new hunting community we are starting at This group is a safe place to ask questions and share knowledge related to hunting.