The Great Outdoors: Time To Take Hunter-Trapper Class

hunting_page_5_PGC_HEinstruction_LoriNeelyI vividly remember when I took my Hunter-Trapper Education Class.  It was a major step for a young person like me, who was eager to buy a hunting license and go after a big, white-tailed buck or match wits with a spring gobbler.

(Photo courtesy PA Game Commission)

It was a family affair as my dad, younger brother, granddad, and I all signed up for the three-night class at the DuBois Rifle & Pistol Club.

I was fairly familiar with many things about hunting and trapping because of the experiences I had with my family, but there was still plenty to learn.

Some of the details are a little hazy now, after all it was nearly 40 years ago that we took the class.  I remember there was a book we had to study, and the classroom setting instruction was quite extensive, which is the way it should be.

After all, don’t we want to make sure everyone who enters the woods with a loaded gun or bow really knows what they are doing and how to be safe?

At the end of the class, everyone takes a test, and if you passed, you received your card which meant you could buy a license to hunt or trap.

While some things haven’t changed, many have.

Online classes are now available, and there are also online videos that can be watched for instruction. By law, all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, must successfully complete Hunter-Trapper Education training before they can buy a Pennsylvania hunting or trapping license.

A training certificate, which is recognized throughout North America, is awarded when you pass a test at the end of the course.

You must be at least 11 years old to enroll in a class. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children.

The training is designed to produce safe, responsible, knowledgeable, and involved participants. The results of this program are remarkable.

Since 1959, hunting-related shooting incidents have declined drastically.

Hunting is safe and getting safer, thanks to hunter education.

Here are the ways to become certified:

1. Complete your training in a classroom.

2.  Register for a class using the Hunter Education Class Calendar.

3. Use the Today’s Hunter & Trapper in Pennsylvania study guide to complete the independent-study portion your class.

You can register to take a 6-hour class requiring some pre-class independent study or an 8-hour class requiring some pre-class independent study and a skill-station format.

For individuals who are 16 years of age and older, they can complete their training entirely online.  This option is available only to students 16 years of age and older. This course can be taken on any device, including smart phones, tablets, and computers.

Simply complete the Pennsylvania online course, print your temporary hunter education certificate (your permanent one will be delivered by mail) and go buy your license.

Sign up at Pennsylvania, study for free, and pay only after you pass the final exam.

If you are looking for more, these videos complement both the in-class and online training options.


“The Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, is a weekly blog by’s Scott Shindledecker. Plan your next outdoor adventure at or call (814) 849-5197 for more information.

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