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NJ Hunter Education Program

Hunter education in New Jersey has changed.

Prior to 2014 the NJ Hunter Education Program offered separate Shotgun and Rifle/Muzzleloader courses. These are now combined into the new FIREARMS course.

New Firearms Course FAQs

See Schedule and Register NOW!

If you never had a hunting license you must complete a NJ home study Hunter Education Course in order to purchase a license. (The Trapper Education Course is not home study.)

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife's Hunter Education program is presented in a home-study format. The program provides scheduling flexibility while producing hunters ready to meet the serious responsibilities required of, and accepted by, all hunters. Home study allows students to learn the "classroom" material at their own pace and then attend a one-day field session. The one-day field session consists of students working with instructors to complete an extensive field walk, mandatory live-fire session and concludes with a mandatory written exam.

THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR THE COURSE OR STATE PROVIDED MATERIALS.

Field sessions and exams are offered at at least one location throughout New Jersey every weekend (excluding holiday weekends) beginning in March through November (except July when only weekday classes are held). Sessions are also held on several weekdays throughout the year for added convenience.

To complete a hunter education course a person must do the following:

  1. Obtain the free home study materials: The course video on DVD and studyguide/workbook are available at specified vendors, Division field offices and available for download at online (links below). Students also have the option of using the alternate, fee-based HunterCourse.com site for the course(s) you are interested in. Completion of this online course and presentation of the printed voucher at the field session/exam location can be substituted for completing the workbook; students still must complete the written exam and live-fire field portion.

  2. Watch the video, read and study the manual, and complete the workbook (or use the HunterCourse.com site as noted above). Completing the practice exam(s) for the course(s) is recommended, as is practicing safe handling of your firearm and/or bow. There is a proficiency requirement for bow students. This requirement entails placing at least three out of five arrows in the vital area of a 3-D deer target between 15-20 yards.

  3. Check the exam/field session schedule and register online.

  4. Attend the field session well prepared with completed workbook. Students arriving without a completed workbook will be turned away.

Two Basic Courses

Beginning in 2014 the NJ Hunter Education Program offers two basic courses; previously there were separate Shotgun and Rifle/Muzzleloader courses. These are now combined.

BOW AND ARROW - This course is required before purchasing your first bow and arrow hunting license. You must be at least 10 years of age. You must be able to shoot 3 out of 5 arrows into the vital zone of a 3-D deer target (approximately 10-inch diameter) at a distance between 15 and 20 yards with your own bow or crossbow to pass this course. (Crossbow must be cocked by the student; prior arrangements can be made for those with a disabling condition.) Having adequate equipment and practice is important before coming to the field session. Students are encouraged to practice and qualify with the archery equipment they plan to hunt with, either conventional bow, compound bow or crossbow.

FIREARMS - This course is required before purchasing your first firearm hunting license and a NJ Rifle Permit. The course covers shotgun, modern rifles, muzzleloaders and air guns. You must be at least 10 years of age.

A limited number of stand-alone RIFLE/MUZZLELOADER courses will be offered September-November, 2014 and in 2015 to current firearm hunters (who previously satisfied the Shotgun Hunter Education requirement) who wish to obtain a Rifle Permit.

There is also TRAPPER EDUCATION - This course is required before you purchase your first trapping license. You must be at least 12 years of age. See the Trapping Information page or call 877-2-HUNT-NJ for course information when scheduled (April and September - October).

Materials, Field Sessions and Exams

Field Session and Exam Information (including directions to field locations)
Where to Get Hunter Education Materials - Listing of locations distributing NJ Hunter Education DVDs, Study Guides and Workbooks. All are also available online:

State Hunter Training Areas

To use any state Hunter Training Area (practice range) at least one person in a group is required to have a valid hunting license. Anyone under 13 must be under direct adult supervision.

These ranges are provided by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Hunter Education Program through federal funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program (http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov). The federal funds are derived from an excise tax collected on guns, ammunition and archery equipment.

After the Course

Upon completion of a hunter education field session and passing the written exam (and bow proficiency test if applicable) registered students are issued their course completion card. When the card is presented to a license agent those 10 to 15 years of age are issued a free Youth License. (NOTE: Youths ages 10 to 13 must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult 21 years of age or older while hunting.) Those age 16 and older are eligible to purchase the license(s) for which they have proof of their course completion.

Youth Hunting Opportunities

The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s popular Take a Kid Hunting Program is designed to provide a quality hunting experience for properly licensed youth hunters. See the Take a Kid Hunting Program page for details.

Duplicate Hunter Education Cards

If you completed a hunter education course and need a duplicate card see the Duplicate Hunter Education Card page.

Becoming a Hunter Education Instructor

New Jersey's Hunter Education Program relies on the dedication of trained volunteer instructors. If interested complete and fax (908-735-5689) or mail (NJ DFW - Hunter Education, 26 Rt. 173W, Hampton, NJ 08827) the application form (pdf, 43kb).

General Information

Hunter education courses are offered FREE by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The training, classroom and range rental fees, books, equipment and ammunition are funded through the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Act, commonly called the Pittman-Robertson Act. This law imposes an excise tax, paid by the manufacturer, on all sporting arms, ammunition, archery equipment and hand-guns. The funds are distributed to the states by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Anyone seeking accommodations for a physical or learning disability, or a foreign language interpreter, should contact the Hunter Education Office at 856-629-0552 or toll-free at 877-2-HUNT-NJ, or via e-mail at njhuntered@dep.nj.gov.

Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from hunter education training programs is available to all individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, sex, age, or handicap. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to the Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Interior, Office of the Secretary, Washington, DC 20240.

The Division is extremely proud that its Hunter Education program is continually recognized as one of the top programs in the country. The future of hunting in New Jersey remains rooted in hunter education.

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Last Updated: September 3, 2014