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Hunter Education Program

Welcome to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Hunter Education Program! The goals of the DNR Hunter Education Program are as follows:

  • Educate Iowans about hunter safety
  • Promote hunter safety and ethics Hunter Education Program
  • Train volunteer instructors to teach hunter education
  • Continue to keep hunting the safe activity it has become

By providing hunter education to the public, the DNR will help ensure the safety of hunters throughout our state. Continue to promote the ethics and fair chase, hunter responsibility and landowner relations. The safety, recruitment, and retention of hunters are important in continuing the tradition of hunting in Iowa's GREAT Outdoors!

Hunter education is a mandatory program that is designed to introduce students to several life-long skills that are important to the many different types of outdoor recreational opportunities. The course teaches students basic survival and first aid skills, water safety, wildlife identification, and the basics of wildlife management, hunting laws, and firearm/archery safety. Hunter education also stresses the importance of individual responsibility and outdoor ethics.

Iowa law requires that anyone born after January 1, 1972 must be certified in hunter education before they are eligible to purchase an Iowa hunting license. The minimum number of hours to complete the class is 10. Typically there is no charge for the course, unless lunch is furnished or room rental is required. Iowa recognizes hunter education certificates issued by another state and some foreign nations.

A person who is 11 years old or older may enroll in a course, but those who are 11 and successfully complete the course shall be issued a certificate which becomes valid on that person's 12th birthday. Iowa residents under the age of 12 can be issued a deer or turkey license; however, a licensed adult hunter must accompany each youth hunter. If the certificate is lost, a replacement certificate may be obtained from any ELSI vendor during regular business hours for $4.50.

Classes are typically held from March 1 - November 15 each year. Our courses are taught by volunteer instructors who are hunters so there are very few classes that take place after November 15.


The following are your options for obtaining a hunter education certificate from the State of Iowa: 

Option 1: Iowa Hunter Education - Classroom Instruction

  • After January 2nd, 2014, please visit the Online Training Registration and Tracking System to find a course in your area and to get registered.

- If, as a student, you require reasonable accommodations to participate in a classroom type education program, please advise the listed contact person at the time of pre-registration.

To search for an upcoming Hunter Education Classroom Course in your area or to register please visit:  http://reservations1.usedirect.com/IowaWeb/.  

Option 2: Iowa Hunter Education - Online Course + Field Day

Notice: The Online Hunter Education Course was designed for the busy student or working adult that cannot fit a traditional class into their schedule. The Department recommends that students of the online coursework be age 16 or older.

The two companies mentioned below are authorized to provide the online hunter education coursework for Iowa and the student still needs to complete an Iowa Hunter Education Online Field Day. Field day Classes are limited and students will want to locate and register for a hunter education online field day class in their area prior to completing the online course work. Upon completion of the online coursework the student is issued a Field Day admission voucher which is valid for only one year. They are to print the voucher and present that voucher to the instructor the day of the online field day for which they registered.  After January 2nd, 2014, you will be able to search for a Iowa Hunter Education Online Field Day Class in your area and get registered.

Students taking the hunter education online coursework cannot substitute a portion of a traditional hunter education class as the field day in order to complete their hunter education certification. 

To search for an upcoming Hunter Education Field Day in your area or to register please visit:  http://reservations1.usedirect.com/IowaWeb/ 

Option 3:  Adult Online Only Hunter Education Course 

Notice:  You must be an Iowa Resident and 18 years of age or older to take this course.

The adult online only course has the same general content as the traditional classroom course and online/field day course but requires state specific information to be covered along with a final exam in which the student must achieve a score of 75% or better to pass.

This course is designed for adults that have prior hunting and/or firearms handling experience.  If you do not have prior hunting or firearms handling experience it is recommended that you take a traditional classroom course or attend a field day in order to receive one on one firearms handling training with a certified Hunter Education Instructor.

The two companies mentioned below are authorized to provide the Adult Online Only Hunter Education coursework for Iowa. 

Iowa Approved- www.hunter-ed.com/iowa

Hunter-ed IowaWatch. Learn. Hunt. 

Hunter-ed.com is the only online hunter education course that can be taken on any device, including smartphones, tablets and computers.  Learn from the courses award-winning videos, interactive animations and illustrations.

Get certified and start huning in three easy steps:

    1. Complete the Iowa online course.

    2. Complete age-dependent certification requirements.

    3. Receive your Iowa hunter education certificate.

If you are 18 years of age or older, complete and pass the Iowa Online-Only Adult Hunter’s Ed course to receive your Iowa Department of Natural Resources hunter education certificate. Sign up for the adult course.

If you are 11 to 17 years of age, complete the Online Hunter’s Ed course and then register for the Field Day portion of the Hunter’s Ed course. Sign up the youth course.

Hunter-ed.com uses the same information that is taught in the Today’s Hunter manual. Sign up, study for free, and pay only after you pass the final exam.

Iowa Approved - HUNTERcourse.comHunter-ed Iowa

  • The most engaging interactive online course for obtaining your official Iowa Hunter Education Certificate.
  • Unlimited access to the industry’s leading online hunter education tools.
  • A course that costs nothing to sign up and study. You only pay after you pass.
  • An entry into the Jim Shockey Dream Hunt on completion of the course. 

Adult hunter?
If you are 18 years of age or older and a resident of Iowa, take the Online-Only version of HUNTERcourse.com. Just study and pass the online course, and then print out your permanent certificate. You can also take an optional field day.  Sign up for the 18+ online-only course.  

Youth hunter?
If you are 17 years of age or younger and a resident of Iowa, take the Iowa Youth version of HUNTERcourse.com. After you study and pass the online course, complete a field day to receive your education certificate.  Sign up for the youth online course.

Free Courses below from HUNTERCourse.com:
Treestand Safety  
Hunter Education Practice Quiz
Shooting Ranges

Note: Students must present a copy of their HUNTERcourse or Hunter-Ed Field Day Voucher to the Instructor at the Field Day. The Field Day includes some classroom instruction and a possibility of live fire exercises. Students will then take a final exam where a score of 75% or better is needed to pass and obtain the Certificate of Completion.
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Effectiveness of Blaze Orange Video

One of the main causes of all upland game and deer hunting incidents in Iowa is the victim not being seen by other hunters. This short video provides tips about how wearing blaze orange can keep you safe in the field. To see more videos and take an Iowa-approved hunter safety course, visit hunter-ed.com.


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