Tennessee’s Hunter Education program works. Since 1975, when a formal hunter education program was introduced, the number of hunting and firearm related accidents in Tennessee has declined dramatically. We know that Tennessee’s Hunter Education program has reduced hunting accidents and saved lives.
Tennessee Code Annotated 70-2-108 became law in 1985 and states:
(a) Every person born on or after January 1, 1969, before hunting, shall possess, in addition to all other licenses and permits required, proof of satisfactory completion of an agency approved hunter education course…
If you were born on or after January 1, 1969 you must possess proof of successful completion of a hunter education class before hunting in Tennessee.
Those under 10 years of age do not need a Hunter Education certificate, but must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device.
The course is offered free of charge (excluding the online course) to anyone interested regardless of age; however, you must be nine years of age or older in order to become a certified hunter education graduate.
Parents are encouraged to go through the course with their child. Parents who participate and who pass the test will receive hunter education certification. Many states require hunter education certification regardless of age. Parents that do not wish to become certified, typically find the class is both informative and enjoyable.
There are also three websites, unrelated directly to the TWRA, that may be used for the online course. The websites charge a fee for their services.
The basic Hunter Education Course provides firearms safety training and introduces students to their responsibilities in the fields of hunter ethics and wildlife management. The main objective of the Hunter Education Program is to reduce the potential for hunting accidents and ultimately reduce the number of hunting injuries. The course is taught according to standards established by the International Hunter Education Association. By meeting these standards the Tennessee Hunter Education program is recognized by all states, Canada, and Mexico.
The basic course is free of charge and consists of a minimum of ten (10) hours of classroom participation. Most classes generally last 12-16 hours. Students must successfully pass a written test consisting of 100 multiple choice questions. All students are required to participate in a live fire exercise, except the following: Hunter Education Live Fire Exemption. Students must attend all classes. Students need to bring their Social Security Number and a #2 pencil to the class. Find a class near you.
In addition to the traditional twelve hour hunter education course the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has developed an online/CD field day course to better accommodate people's busy schedules. This option allows students to complete the majority of the classroom work at home on their computer. After completing the home study portion, the student must then attend a field day in order to complete the certification. Younger students may have difficulty keeping up with the faster pace of the online/CD course.
In order to finalize the online/CD course, a student must sign up and complete a corresponding online field day. At the field day, students receive a brief review and must pass a 100 question true-false/multiple choice test. In addition to the test, students must demonstrate how to handle a firearm safely and must participate in a live fire session in order to become certified. Field days typically last four hours.
Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a Tennessee Hunter Education certificate and a card (must be carried in the field).
Because the online/CD field days are labor intensive for our instructors, the field days may not be offered as often as the traditional classes. Therefore, it is critical that an individual first locate an online/CD field day prior to signing up for the online course.
A traditional 12 hour course is not structured the way an online/CD course is structured; the classroom portion of an online/CD course covers a lot of information rather quickly. Younger students are encouraged to attend the traditional classes, the faster pace of the online/CD class may prove difficult for younger students. The last day of a traditional class cannot be substituted for an online/CD field day.
The following is a list of four steps that must be completed before becoming a certified hunter education graduate from an online/CD course:
There are two ways to complete the home study portion of the online/CD course. One way to complete the home study portion of the online/CD field day is to call your regional office or the Nashville office and request that the home study CD be mailed to you. The home study CD is free upon request. Students must complete all sections, quizzes, and tests at home on their computer. The student then brings the printout of completion to a scheduled field day.
The other option is to complete the home study portion of the online/CD field day online. Students must log-on and complete all sections, quizzes, and tests. The student then brings the printout to a scheduled field day. There are two options available for taking the hunter education course online. The websites listed are not affiliated or controlled by TWRA.
All three online courses listed below will be accepted by TWRA as the home study portion of the hunter education course.
The Hunter-Ed.com Tennessee course is user-friendly and self-directed. Study at your own pace, then take the Tennessee Hunter Field Day Qualifier Exam. When you pass the online exam, print out your Tennessee Field Day Qualifier Voucher—your "admission ticket" for a Field Day required to complete your certification. Prepare for your Field Day with confidence by studying the content used in Tennessee classroom courses. Highlights include:
Take HunterExam Tennessee's fully narrated and interactive online course where you'll learn everything you need to pass your Field Day with flying colors! HunterExam offers professionally narrated content, over 60 interactive exercises, and visual exam questions! Best of all, registration is free and you pay only when you pass!
Once students have passed the online course, they will have the option of purchasing a “Field Day Voucher” in order to attend the Field Day portion of the course, to get their Hunter Education Certificate. Note that the Field Day is complete with a lecture, live fire exercises and a final exam.
In an effort to introduce new hunters to the sport, we have developed a new type of hunting permit designed especially for people who may wish to sample the pleasures of Tennessee’s many hunting opportunities.
The Agency’s Apprentice Permit will provide a one-time exemption from Tennessee’s Hunter Education requirements for anyone ten years of age or older for a period of one year from the date of purchase. The permit may only be purchased once during the lifetime of the hunter.
Potential hunters (born on or after January 1, 1969) who have not completed the state’s usually mandatory Hunter Education course may purchase the type 012 permit for $11. This permit allows the holder to hunt in Tennessee for one year from the date of purchase without having to complete the Hunter Education course. The hunter must also possess all appropriate licenses and permits required of Hunter Education certified hunters.
Hunters purchasing the Apprentice Permit must be accompanied by a person 21 years of age or older who is a hunter education graduate or is exempt from the hunter education requirements (born prior to 1969). This person must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device.
The Apprentice Hunting Permit is valid only in Tennessee and will not exempt people hunting outside Tennessee from that state’s hunter education requirements. However, out-of-state hunters coming to Tennessee to hunt may purchase the Apprentice Hunting Permit one time only.
Bowhunter Education is a voluntary program in Tennessee; however, at least 16 states require bowhunter certification. Studies have shown that bowhunters who have completed the Bowhunter Education program, harvest many more deer than archers who have not.
To replace a Hunter Education Card, first contact your TWRA Regional Office during normal business hours. Verify that your Hunter Education number has been updated in the TWRA license system. Then you may go to a TWRA license agent and purchase a Type 500 (Hunter Education Card Replacement), for $7.00. You may also purchase a replacement card online at the Online License Center.
Hunter Education classes are taught by dedicated volunteer instructors who provide expertise and devote many hours to ensure the success of the program. Each year volunteer instructors throughout the state conduct hundreds of classes and successfully certify approximately 20,000 students annually. After a safe and enjoyable hunt, be sure to thank a volunteer instructor because without them the program could not exist. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer instructor, the TWRA offers a training program to help you achieve this goal.