Pennsylvania Hunters Safety Courses

by Contributor
Pennsylvania requires hunters to take a safety course before receiving a license.

Pennsylvania requires hunters to take a safety course before receiving a license.

Obtaining a hunting license in Pennsylvania requires a hunter safety course. Instruction by the Pennsylvania Game Commission provides education on safety and how to use a firearm. Applicants should understand the history, purpose of the course and requirements. Safety training decreases the occurrence of hunting accidents and deaths.


Pennsylvania began offering classes in hunter training in 1959. The Pennsylvania Game Commission states that 1.7 million individuals have participated in the program. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the greatest benefit seen by offering the safety training has been an 80 percent decrease in hunting fatalities and firearm injuries. The Pennsylvania Game Commission tracks injuries and deaths associated with hunting and trapping, and refers to these as hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSI).


Pennsylvania offers a course to hunters and trappers to teach responsible and safe techniques. The original purpose behind the course was to offer hunters training in firearm safety, but the course now includes concepts about ethical behavior and showing respect for others. Instruction to students also includes facts about basic technique along with outdoor skills in hunting and trapping to help participants enjoy the sport.


Regardless of age, Pennsylvania state law requires all first-time hunters and trappers to take and complete a Hunter-Trapper Education Course. To participate a youth must be at least 11 years old, however, children are not allowed to hunt until the age of 12. Parents are not required to take the course with their child. In addition, an individual can take the course to meet the requirements for obtaining a license in another state.


Safety training is required to be at least 10 hours long and is often taught over two or more days. Students must be at the class for all the training to receive a certificate. Discussed topics are hunter responsibility and ethics, concepts on wildlife management and conservation, field care of game and wildlife identification. Also taught are safety when handling firearms and ammunition, survival, first-aid, turkey hunting safety, trapping and fur taking. Students are required to take a test and receive a passing score to get the certificate. When a hunter goes to purchase the hunting or fur-taking license, the certificate must be shown.

About the Course

Game Commission Wildlife Conservation officers set up training throughout the state. More than 3,000 volunteers are certified to teach the course and classes are offered mostly in the summer and fall, before the start of hunting season. The cost to take the course is often free; however, there may be charges for targets and ammunition.

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