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.
Who Is Eligible To Take A Hunter Education Class?
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.
What To Expect From The Hunter Education Course
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. Students must attend all classes. Students need to bring their Social Security Number and a #2 pencil to the class. 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.
- Hunter ethics
- Hunter responsibility toward wildlife, the environment, landowners and the general public
- Archery and the history of modern day bowhunting
- Tree stand safety
- History of firearms
- Blackpowder and muzzleloading firearms
- Knowledge of modern firearms and ammunition
- Proper gun handling and storage
- Marksmanship fundamentals
- Hunt preparation: specific laws and various equipment
- Principles of wildlife management and wildlife identification
- First aid
Completing the Online Part
In addition to the traditional twelve hour hunter education course the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has developed an online 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 course.
Completing the Field Day Part
In order to finalize the online 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 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 field day prior to signing up for the online course.
A traditional 12 hour course is not structured the way an online course is structured; the classroom portion of an online course covers a lot of information rather quickly. Younger students are encouraged to attend the traditional classes, the faster pace of the online class may prove difficult for younger students. The last day of a traditional class cannot be substituted for an online field day.
The following is a list of four steps that must be completed before becoming a certified hunter education graduate from an online course:
- Locate and sign up for an Online Field Day
- Complete the Online course
- Bring the printout of successful completion of the online course to the field day. You may not attend the last class of a traditional class to complete certification, you must attend a field day.
- Complete the field day requirements; lecture, live fire and complete the final exam.
The Online Course Students must complete all sections, quizzes, and tests at home on their computer from one of the websites listed below. 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 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. Both 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:
- TWRA chose Hunter-Ed for its classroom hunting safety course.
- Pick your online learning style: listen, read, or both!
- Exam questions are read aloud, with pictures to trigger your memory - a Hunter-Ed.com exclusive.
- Hundreds of realistic illustrations - you'll feel like you're outdoors.
- Learn exactly how firearms work with detailed animations.
- Cost is $28.95, but no payment is required until you're ready to print your Field Day Qualifier Voucher.
Take HUNTERcourse.com's fully narrated and interactive online course where you'll learn everything you need to pass your Field Day with flying colors!
HUNTERcourse.com offers professionally narrated content, over 60 exercises and videos, and the entire course is fully illustrated! It also includes an exclusive Virtual Field Day to prepare you for the field!
Once students have passed the online course, they will print 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.
An exemption for the Tennessee Hunter Education Online Field Day is available for anyone 21 years of age or older. To receive this exemption and a Tennessee Hunter Education card and certificate, you must follow these steps.
Step 1: Complete one of the following online classes:
Both options are interactive, narrated, and offers daily (including weekend) live customer service via email or telephone with a toll-free number.
Step 2: Complete the form provided at this link: Hunter Education Field Day Exemption and mail, fax, or email with required documentation and payment (check, money order or credit card only) to the address listed on the form. Payment (check, money order or credit card) to the addresses listed on the form. After submission, you can expect to receive your card within 3 to 5 business days. Please do not attempt to purchase the permit from the TWRA's mobile app as we will not honor purchases from our app for this permit at this time.
The ultimate goal of bowhunter education is to provide bowhunters with the basic fundamentals of good, safe bowhunting while maintaining the highest ethical standards in the sport. The immediate objective is to instill in all bowhunters a responsible attitude and to adopt and follow acceptable behavior towards people, wildlife and the environment in which they hunt.
The class has approximately 5 hours of interactive classroom study and 3 hours of practical field training. The course is taught by Tennessee volunteer instructors that are experienced bowhunters and are certified to present the materials outlined in the NBEF course. Tennessee’s volunteer instructors commit valuable time and expertise to ensure the success of the Bowhunter Education program. Be sure to thank your volunteer instructor(s).
- Why you want to be a bowhunter
- Ecological constraints (habitat requirements, carrying capacity, management tools, etc.)
- Sociological considerations (conduct not approved by others, reasons for approval, etc.)
- Preparing for the hunt (adequate equipment, scouting, planning, shooting form, practice, etc.)
- Hunting effectively (sharpening broadheads, game anatomy, how an arrow works, etc.)
- The hunt (hunting methods, game recovery, tracking, care of game, etc.)
- Hunting safety (hazards, first aid, hypothermia, survival, map and compass, etc.)
- Field experience (matching equipment, tree stands, judging distance, following trails, etc.)
Bowhunter Education Certification
This is a certification course that requires students to achieve a passing score on a written exam to successfully complete the training.
Tennessee offers two ways for students to become a certified bowhunter education graduate. T he traditional class is one way to obtain certification as a bowhunter education graduate in Tennessee. The traditional class typically lasts eight hours, the first four hours of the class consists of classroom activities, the next four hours consists of field activities. Students must attend all sessions of the class to gain certification. Students do not have to take the online course prior to taking a traditional class.
For more information and to view current class schedules, go to the bowhunter education class listings.
The other option available to students wishing to obtain a bowhunter education certification is by independent study through the online course. This is a two-part process that requires the student to use a computer and be linked to the World Wide Web. Students must first complete the online course of study. After completion of the online course students must attend an abbreviated four hour field day to complete the certification process.
Students will not be allowed to register for or attend a practical unless they have completed the online portion of the course first.
At The Field Day
- Students must present to their instructor at the start of the practical (as evidence of completion), a hard copy of certification of completion from the NBEF web course showing they have completed the course.
- Students will have to pass with a minimum of 85% a comprehensive written examination on the knowledge obtained from the web course.
- They must successfully participate in the field day testing under the supervision of a certified instructor to complete the certification process. This normally occurs outside, in simulated hunting conditions and students should dress accordingly. Check with the instructors to see if they want you to bring bowhunting equipment to use during the field day.
Participate in the online course and take the knowledge part of the course on the Internet. Remember to bookmark or in some manner save the address of the Web page to ensure that you can return to the course if you are unable to complete it in one session.
A bowhunter education certificate of training is awarded to graduates at the course’s conclusion. Students will need this certificate to bowhunt in other states mandating bowhunter education training. Bowhunter education is not mandatory in Tennessee.
The bowhunter education course does not replace TWRA’s basic hunter education training. All first-time hunters born on or after January 1, 1969 must successfully complete a Hunter Education course before hunting in Tennessee.
Trapper Education courses teach you how to Trap in Tennessee
In Tennessee, Trapper Education is a voluntary program. The course is available to those interested in learning how to trap or improving their trapping skills. A trapper education course teaches participants how to responsibly trap furbearing animals and provides a foundation of knowledge upon which to build.
Topics include proper trapping equipment and use, responsible trap setting, the importance of good wildlife management practices, and habits and traits of furbearers.
All trapping devices must be clearly marked with the owner's name. All traps must be inspected every 36 hours or less and animals removed. When trapping on another's property, the trapper must carry on his or her person written permission from the landowner, and make a written report to the owner of any domestic animal caught and pay damages for those animals.
Furbearer species in Tennessee include:
Beaver, Coyote, Groundhog, Bobcat*, Fox**, Mink, Muskrat, Opossum, Otter***, Raccoon, Spotted Skunk, Striped Skunk, and Weasel.
*Bobcat pelts must be tagged with Tennessee U.S. CITES tags in order to be exported from the U.S. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.
**Exceptions to the statewide fox season are:
- Benton - unlawful to take or kill red foxes
- Dyer, Lauderdale, Smith, and Wilson - open year round to hunting and trapping red and gray foxes
***All river otters harvested must be tagged by harvester with Tennessee US CITES tags. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.
Legal Traps & Specific Regulations
Trappers shall mark all of their traps with their name or TWRA ID number.
Lethal sets such as instant kill traps and water set (“drowning”) traps must be inspected every seventy-two (72) hours. All other traps must be inspected every thirty-six (36) hours and any wildlife caught in the traps shall be removed.
Live traps are legal for taking any species of wildlife listed as having a trapping season. Live traps are defined as those traps that act as a cage after capture.
Steel Cable Snares
These have a minimum cable diameter of 5/64 inch and maximum cable diameter of 3/32 inch. All snares shall have affixed a tag bearing the name of the owner. Spring activated snares, except Collarum snares, are prohibited.
Dog Proof Traps
Dog-proof traps, also known as species-specific traps are legal for trapping.
Steel traps placed inside a hole, cave or den or in a hollow log, hollow stump or any like place shall be placed twelve (12) or more inches inside the entrance of such place, and it is unlawful to place steel traps in the open, except for water sets and traps listed below.
For trapping purposes "water set" is defined to mean traps set in water adjacent to and part of streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands or other water courses and includes floating sets.
Steel Leg-Hold Traps
Steel leg-hold traps must have an outside measure of jaw spread that is 9 inches or less, as measured at the widest point. Steel square instant-kill traps must have an exterior jaw measurement 16 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, and steel circular instantkill traps must have an exterior measurement 12 inches or less, as measured at the widest point
Steel Instant-Kill Traps
Square instant-kill traps that have an exterior jaw measurement 16 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, and circular instant kill traps that have an exterior measurement 12 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, are legal. Instant kill traps are considered steel jawed traps and their use is restricted to that allowed for steel jawed traps. Conibear traps are instant-kill traps.
Cushion-hold traps, laminated jaw traps, off-set wide jaw traps, off-set laminated jaw traps and wide jaw traps with an outside measure of jaw spread that is 9 inches or less, as measured at the widest point and a minimum jaw thickness of ¼ inch, may be used for all sets. Double-jaw traps with an outside spread of 9 inches or less of the upper and lower jaw combined and a minimum jaw thickness of ¼ inch may be used for all sets.
In an effort to introduce new hunters to the sport, we have developed a new type of hunting license designed especially for people who may wish to sample the pleasures of Tennessee’s many hunting opportunities.
The Agency’s Apprentice License will provide an 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. This license may be purchased up to three years consecutively.
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 $12. This license 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 License 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 License is valid only in Tennessee and will not exempt people hunting outside Tennessee from that state’s Hunter Education requirements.
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.
Dedicated Tennessee Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors insure the continuation of the hunting tradition by passing on their passion for the sport. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors are committed and enthusiastic outdoorsmen and women who want to pass on the traditions, ethics and excitement of outdoor activities to beginners of all ages. We are always looking for experienced hunters to share their knowledge and passion for the sport with others. Becoming a volunteer Hunter Education Instructor can be your way to give a little back.
Why are Volunteers important?
Each year approximately 18,000 Tennessee citizens become a certified Hunter Education Graduate. Annually, Tennessee’s 1,200 Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors passionately teach around 500 courses all over the state.
Volunteers are vital to the success of the Hunter Education program for many reasons. The first reason being that there are simply not enough wildlife officers to conduct the amount of training required in every community throughout the state. Another reason is volunteer instructors provide skill and expertise which may not be available within the wildlife agency. Volunteer instructors are also important because they are so well established in their local communities; they usually have extensive local contacts and are aware of community needs and can facilitate setting up classes.
What Courses Do Volunteer Instructors Teach?
The core of the Hunter Education Program is the Basic Hunter Education Course, which is a minimum of 11 hours in length. Successful graduates of this course are issued a certificate of completion. This certificate is necessary for anyone born after January 1, 1969 who is purchasing a hunting license in Tennessee. Advanced Hunter Education Courses taught by instructors include Bow Hunter Education and Trapper Education.
These courses range from 8 – 12 hours in length.
What Is Expected of a Volunteer Instructor?
In order to remain a certified Volunteer Instructor, you must teach at least 1 course every 24 months. Tennessee Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors may take pride in the fact that they have helped make a safe sport even safer and have helped develop hunters who act safely and responsibly.
How Can I Become a Volunteer Instructor?
The Hunter Education Program is looking for people who want to “give back” to their favorite outdoor activity. If you have had previous volunteer experience working with youths and/or adults, are an educator or someone who wants to be a teacher to others, we want you! Before filling out an application form, all prospective instructors must successfully complete a Basic Hunter Education Course.
If you'd like more information about becoming a Tennessee Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor please contact your local TWRA Wildlife Officer or TWRA Regional Office.
Can I take the CD class or online class and shoot at a traditional Hunter Education class?
No, people taking the CD/Online course must participate in the CD/Online Field day. They will shoot and take the test at the Field Day. Field days are designed to compliment the CD/Online course and provide additional information that students do not get from the CD/Online course alone.
How much does it cost to take a Hunter Education class?
Nothing, in Tennessee the course is free.
Will other states accept Tennessee’s Hunter Education certification?
Yes, Hunter Education certification from Tennessee is accepted in all 50 states.
Do I need to bring a gun to the Hunter Education class?
No, everything will be provided by the instructor. Outside firearms and ammunition are strictly forbidden and will not be allowed inside the classroom.