The Hunter Education class is a once in a lifetime requirement prior to obtaining a hunting license. The Illinois Hunter Education Program consists of a minimum of 10 hours of instruction. This course covers the basics of hunter responsibility and ethics, wildlife conservation, firearms and ammunition, field and tree stand safety, first aid, archery, muzzleloading, and state regulations. Due to state regulations and lack of funding, this class is presented by volunteers, and is hence free of charge.
The most basic purpose of a hunter education course is to teach safe, responsible firearm handling in the field, in the vehicle, and in the home after hunting. Through lectures, hands-on activities, and videos, students learn about firearms and ammunition, firearm safety, shooting fundamentals, and firearm and wildlife laws.
While hunter education courses enable safer hunting, they also help hunters be more successful in their hunts-and emphasize ethical hunting behavior. Subjects covered include hunter responsibility, wildlife identification and management, game care, outdoor survival, and more. Students also receive introductions to hunting with bows and black powder firearms.
Hunter education courses are recommended for anyone who spends time in the outdoors, whether or not they intend to hunt.
Basic outdoor skills acquired in a hunter education course can be invaluable during any outdoor activities. For example, survival basics can help you prepare for and deal with emergencies. And wildlife management lessons provide insight into how and why wildlife agencies manage the resource, particularly by using hunting as a management tool.
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1980 may not be issued a hunting license unless he or she presents a valid Hunter Education Certificate of Competency issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Safety Education Division or another state.
Many states are now requiring adult hunters to furnish evidence of having completed a Hunter Education Course prior to issuance of a non-resident license.
Honorably discharged Illinois veterans may receive a Hunter Safety Card by completing the online self-study portion of Hunter Safety requirements, without taking the field day portion of the course. To obtain a Hunter Safety Card, veterans must provide their online hunter safety voucher, military duty documentation (DD214) and proof of Illinois residency.
Mail to: IDNR Safety Education Section, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL. 62702-1271.