Hunter Education Requirement

Missouri's hunter education course is required for any hunter born on or after January 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 years or younger and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor 18 years of age or older.
  • You were born before Jan. 1, 1967.
  • You enrolled in a hunter-education course but failed to pass the certification tests due to a developmental disability, and you received an exemption from MDC’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 years of age 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 Certification Program provides a foundation in hunting safety and ethics. It instills responsibility, improves skills and knowledge, and it 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

How do I earn a Missouri Hunter Education Certificate?

  • Our course has two parts: knowledge and skills. You must complete and pass both to earn your certificate.

Part one: Knowledge.

Choose ONE of three convenient ways to complete the knowledge part.

  • Hunter Education Online. 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, which you MUST show (bring a printed copy or display the PDF on your mobile device) to enter the skills session in step two.


  • Self-study guide. Order a study guide online or pick one up at an MDC office. Then study the illustrated guide, complete all chapter reviews, and present your completed guide at the skills session in step two.


  • Classroom session. Register and attend a four-hour classroom session featuring lectures and videos. You MUST attend the complete session in order to receive your skills-session qualifier certificate from the instructors, which you MUST show to enter the skills session in step two.


Part two: Skills.

Register for a skills session and pass the exam

  • No matter how you complete the knowledge part and earn your skills-session qualifier certificate in step one, you MUST register for and attend a four-hour skills session. You MUST also bring your skills-session qualifier certificate or study guide with all chapters completed to gain entry. The skills session includes a mandatory 35-question, multiple-choice final exam. After completing step two successfully, you will receive a temporary certificate so you can purchase a permit and hunt immediately.

Who can take the course and be certified?

  • Anyone age 11 or above

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 years of age DO NOT need hunter education to hunt any game species in Missouri until they are ready to hunt alone.
  • Youth 10 years of age 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 years of age and older try hunting as long as they hunt with a properly permitted adult (18 or older) mentor.

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

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