California in-person hunter education instruction returns; Online courses remain a permanent option
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reinstating in-person instruction as an option for prospective hunters to take the required hunter education course. Until 2020, students had to take at least part of the course in person, before obtaining a hunting license; during the COVID-19 pandemic, the department moved to an online-only instruction model. Although in-person classes will once again be offered, the online-only class will remain an option.
CDFW administers the hunter education program and manages nearly 1,000 volunteer hunter education instructors who provide the actual instruction. The in-person portion of the instruction includes practical training, including safe handling of firearms, loading and unloading, storage, etc. Many in-person courses also include live-fire practice at a firing range.
There are now three formats available to earn a hunter training certificate.
Traditional: The traditional hunter education course is the same as before the pandemic, consisting of a minimum of 10 hours of classroom instruction, homework and field instruction. The traditional course allows for one-on-one interaction with an instructor and is most often preferred and recommended for novice hunters. Traditional classes are offered in multiple languages throughout the state.
Hybrid: This option, which was offered before the pandemic, allows the student to take the majority of academic learning online. Once this step is completed, the student attends a four-hour follow-up class that includes an instructor review and hands-on training.
Online only: The online-only certification course has been put in place as a result of COVID-19 and will remain an option for earning a hunter training certification.
Prospective hunters can go to https://wildlife.ca.gov/Hunter-Education for more information on how to enroll in a course.
To raise awareness of safety and conservation, California’s first Hunter Education Act was enacted in 1954. California requires hunter education for those who have never held a California hunting license, who do not do not have a hunter education certificate or who do not have a hunting license. from another state or province issued within the last two years. In-person, instructor-led classes are offered statewide by Hunter Education Instructors with a long track record of dedication to educating new hunters on firearms safety and handling, mind sports and ethics, wildlife management and conservation, archery, black powder firearms, wildlife identification, game care, first aid and survival.
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 508-7095