What’s a Bowhunter-Education Course, and How Do I Find One?

by | Mar 23, 2017 | BH101 Know-How, Bowhunting, Featured, Lifestyle

Newcomers to bowhunting have lots of questions. For example, what hunting laws apply? How do I safely hunt from a treestand? And how do I process my game animal for its meat?

Bowhunter education courses are designed to answer all your questions and get you properly prepared. These classes are usually held on weekends, and teach you everything you need to start bowhunting. Let’s review what you should know about bowhunter education courses.

Most states require individuals to complete a hunter education class before they can obtain a hunting license or permit. Photo Credit: Jerry Neal


One important reason to take a bowhunter-education course is that some states require it as a prerequisite for buying a bowhunting license. If you want to bowhunt in these states, you must first pass a state-approved bowhunter-education course. Prerequisites vary by state, so check your state agency’s website for its requirements.

Even if your state doesn’t require bowhunter education, these courses are great opportunities to answer your bowhunting questions. If you’re new to hunting, you’ll need to learn much about its necessary skills before carrying your bow into the woods. Bowhunter-education courses are basically crash courses in bowhunting, game laws and hunter safety. You’ll learn many critical skills to help you step confidently into the woods.

Taking a bowhunter-education course can be an excellent way to learn about hunting ethics, animals and conservation, and more from a knowledgeable instructor. Photo Credit: RMEF

Where They’re Held

Bowhunter-education courses are taught at schools, colleges, archery clubs, archery shops and municipal buildings. Some classes are taught online, but make sure they’re recognized by your state game agency. Agency websites post listing of the classes and their locations. Sign up early because these classes fill quickly.

Bowhunter-education courses include topics like hunting tactics, blood trailing, field care, equipment needs and more. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Course Material

Hunting laws can seem complicated and hard to understand, but these courses review them in depth. By the end of the course you’ll clearly understand your state’s hunting laws and season structure.

Additional topics covered include hunting tactics, treestand safety, hunter safety, hunting laws, shot placement, blood trailing, field care and equipment needs. Learning to safely use a treestand harness and how to avoid common hunting accidents are important skills you’re taught.

Shot placement and field care for game you harvest are important because bowhunters must know exactly where to aim on animals at different angles to ensure quick, humane kills. Bowhunters must also be able to read sign and follow the animal’s blood trail.

Field dressing animals gives some new bowhunters considerable angst, but experienced bowhunters walk you through the process during the classroom instruction. By the end of the course, you’ll feel more confident about field dressing your animal.

Field dressing animals gives some new bowhunters considerable angst. During a bowhunter-education course, experienced bowhunters walk you through the process during classroom instruction. Photo Credit: Tyler Ridenour

What Now?

Bowhunter education courses are great, and sometimes necessary, first steps for gaining important bowhunting knowledge. They’re also a great way to meet other bowhunters.

By taking a bowhunter-education course and visiting a local archery store to buy your bow, you’ll take the first vital steps to becoming a bowhunter. Find your state wildlife agency website here to determine the bowhunter-education requirements where you hunt.

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