Need hunter education? MDC offers options.

News from the region
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With hunting seasons coming up for deer, turkey, migratory birds, waterfowl, and other game, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages Missouri hunters who need hunter education to get it early.

Those hunting in Missouri during a firearms season or acting as an adult mentor to another hunter must have hunter-education certification, unless exempt. Exemptions include:

  • Hunters age 15 years or younger who will be hunting with an adult mentor age 18 years or older who is certified in hunter education or exempt.
  • Hunters born before Jan. 1, 1967.
  • Hunters with a disability exemption from MDC.
  • Hunters age 16 years or older who have purchased an Apprentice Hunter Authorization and will be hunting with a properly permitted adult mentor age 18 years or older.
  • Hunters who are landowners hunting on land they own.
  • Hunters who can prove completion of an approved hunter-education course in another state.

Two Hunter-Ed Options

MDC offers two hunter-education options: a Blended Format and an All-Online Format.

The Blended Format has two parts. The knowledge portion provides information to participants on all aspects of hunter education and can be taken online, through a free self-study guide, or in a classroom setting. Participants must also complete a four-hour skills session that includes a multiple-choice final exam. The skills portion is a hands-on demonstration of skills learned by participants. Participants must complete and pass both portions to earn certification.

The All-Online Format may be completed by Missouri residents 16 years of age and older. It consists of an online course and requires a fee paid to the online course provider. The All Online option requires the passing of a final exam but has no skills portion.

Learn more about MDC hunter education and certification requirements online at

Health Precautions for In-Person Sessions

To help keep participants, instructors, and others safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, MDC will limit in-person class sizes to small numbers of participants. Class availability will also be limited due to smaller class sizes and limited availability of venues. Social distancing will be required. Masks will not be provided. MDC will abide by applicable local health requirements and strongly encourages participants to bring and wear masks. Hand sanitizer will be available to participants.

“To help keep staff, volunteers, program participants, and others safe, MDC has changed the format and structure of some of our programs, including hunter education,” said MDC Hunter Education and Shooting Range Coordinator Justin McGuire. “Opportunities to attend an in-person hunter-education classroom or skills session are available but limited at this time. MDC still offers ample opportunities for folks to legally hunt in Missouri through youth exemptions, our apprentice hunter authorization, and online hunter education.”

MDC reminds the public that it is still critical to continue to heed all COVID-19 public-health measures during outdoor activities, such as physical distancing, avoiding overcrowding, handwashing, and others.