Hunter Education and Certification Requirement

Missouri's hunter education course is required for any hunter born on or after Jan. 1, 1967. Learn what the course covers and where to take it, including an online option for the knowledge portion.

Who must become hunter-education certified?

If you plan to hunt during a Missouri firearms season or you are acting as an adult mentor, you MUST first complete an approved hunter-education certification program and provide proof of completion UNLESS:

  • You are 15 or younger and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor 18 or older.
  • You were born before Jan. 1, 1967.
  • You received a disability exemption from Missouri Department of Conservation’s Protection Division.
  • You are 16 or older and have purchased an Apprentice Hunter Authorization and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor 18 or older.
  • You are the landowner or lessee hunting on land you own or upon which you reside.

NOTE: If you can prove you completed an approved hunter education course in another state, you are not required to take Missouri’s Hunter Education Course.

Will I have to present proof of my certification when I purchase firearms permits?

Not if we can verify your certification electronically, which will usually be the case. If electronic verification is not possible, you MUST provide proof of hunter-education certification. Once you’re in our database, you won’t have to submit this information again.

Why does Missouri require hunter education?

Hunter education has reduced hunting accidents and deaths by more than 70 percent since it became mandatory in 1987. For this reason, we recommend all hunters become hunter-education certified.

Our Hunter Education Program provides a foundation in hunting safety and ethics. It instills responsibility, improves skills and knowledge, and encourages interaction between beginner and veteran hunters.

What does the Missouri Hunter Education Course cover?

  • Hunter responsibility and ethics
  • How firearms work and firearm safety
  • Wildlife identification, game care, survival, and first-aid skills
  • Firearm-handling skills and hunting techniques
  • Awareness about wildlife conservation and management
  • Rules and information unique to Missouri

Who can take the course and be certified?

Anyone 11 or older is eligible to take the course and exam.

How do I earn a Missouri Hunter Education Certificate?

There are two options to complete your Hunter Education Certification!

Option #1 Blended Format (All ages)

The blended format has two parts: knowledge and skills. You must complete and pass BOTH sessions to earn your certificate. NOTE: Both sessions must be completed in Missouri. Another state's knowledge session will not count towards your Missouri hunter education certificate. 

Step #1 Knowledge Session

Choose ONE of three convenient options to complete the knowledge session:

1)  Hunter Education Online - $15.00 fee (paid to online course provider)
Our convenient online/mobile course is adapted to those with sight and hearing difficulties. It includes text, audio, images, graphs, videos, and interactive animation to help you complete all the chapter reviews. You MUST complete all the chapter reviews in order to receive your skills-session qualifier certificate. You MUST print a copy of the skills-session qualifier certificate or display the PDF on your mobile device to enter the skills session.

2) Self-study guide - Free
Order a study guide online or pick one up at a Missouri Department of Conservation office. Study the illustrated manual, complete all chapter review questions, and present to the instructor at the skills session.

3) Classroom session - Free
Register and attend a four-hour classroom session featuring lectures and videos. You MUST attend the session, complete all student manual chapter review questions, and present to the instructor at the skills session.

Step #2 Skills Session and Final Exam

Register for a skills session and pass the exam

The skills session includes a mandatory 35-question, multiple-choice final exam. After successfully completing the skills session, you will receive a temporary certificate so you can purchase a permit and hunt immediately.

Option #2 All Online (16 years of age or older)

Missouri residents, 16 years of age and older can complete the entire program online. Take a class online for a $15-fee (paid to online program provider). Once you’ve completed the course and passed a 60-question final exam with a score of 80 percent or better, you will receive your certification. You do not have to attend a skill session.

Can kids try hunting without becoming hunter-education certified?

Yes! MDC recommends that youth begin hunting with an adult mentor to become familiar with hunting and terminology before taking the course.

Youths younger than 16 DO NOT need hunter education to hunt any game species in Missouri until they are ready to hunt alone.

Youth 10 or younger may hunt during a firearms hunting season if they are in the immediate presence of an adult mentor who possesses the proper permit.

Can adults try hunting without becoming hunter-education certified?

Yes! Our Apprentice Hunter Authorization lets people 16 or older try hunting as long as they hunt with a properly permitted adult (18 or older) mentor.

Related Content

Apprentice Hunter Program

Missouri's Apprentice Hunter Program gives people a chance to try hunting before getting hunter-education certified, as long as they hunt with an experienced hunter.