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  1. Illinois DNR
  2. Safety

Hunter Safety


Who Must Take The Course

On January 1, 1996, a State law was passed that 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.  An Illinois Hunter Safety Education certificate is accepted by all other states.

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.  OR EMAIL:


The Illinois Hunter Education Program consists of a minimum of ten hours of instruction. The educational material is based on a sixth-grade reading level. These courses cover the basics of:

  • hunter responsibility and ethics
  • treestand safety
  • firearms and ammunition
  • field safety    
  • first aid
  • bowhunting 
  • muzzleloading
  • wildlife conservation and identification
  • state regulations

Individuals may participate in any scheduled class throughout the State. Persons completing the minimum 10 hours of instruction and successfully completing the final examination will receive a State of Illinois Certificate of Competency and a graduate patch.


Two Ways To Take The Course

Instructor-led Classes-The traditional and preferred hunter education method is through a 10 hour instructor-led class and demonstrations. Classes may be a few hours a night for 2-4 nights or a full weekend class. The final class will end with a test to pass the course. This type of class is free, unless there is some form of activity provided that the student may choose to participate in. Interested individuals may call 1-800-832-2599 or check List of Education Courses by County.

Online Self-Study Course-Students may study and complete each section of the course online, taking exams as they proceed. This option is provided by outside companies and there is a fee charged for the service. The student must also attend a Field Day which includes hands-on participation and a final exam. Find out more.

Fre​e Magazine Subscription in 2017 for class graduates!

Outdoor News Inc., publisher of locally written fishing and hunting outdoor newspapers in seven Great Lake states, is offering youth ages 11 to 17 and adults, who have successfully completed the hunter safety education and/or trapping safety education class through the Illinois DNR in 2017 with a complimentary three-month subscription to Illinois Outdoor News. Click to read more - Outdoor News Press Release

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