Taking a hunter safety course is the first step to joining a wonderful community of conservationists! Hunters have a longstanding role as conservationists, helping keep wildlife populations at healthy levels and giving biologists valuable harvest data. Hunters also provide funding for wildlife management through the purchase of their license and a manufacturer-paid tax on firearms and ammunition. Without hunters, it would not be possible for the department to closely monitor and protect game and non-game species in our state.
Hunting is the ultimate way to connect with our state’s fantastic resources, bond with friends and family, and bring home excellent table fare. Maine offers some of the best hunting opportunities in the country. With over 17 million acres of extraordinary land and waterways, there’s so many options to explore. Here is what you need to know to get started by completing your bowhunter safety course.
Bowhunter education courses are available in two different formats: online and traditional in-person.
Students 16 and older can complete the bowhunter safety course online at bowhunter-ed.com/maine. Upon successful completion of the online course, students can pay $29.95 to obtain their course completion voucher (bowhunter education card) which allows them to purchase a Maine archery hunting license online or from a licensing agent (such as a town office or sporting goods store). Students are welcome to attend an in-person skills and exam session after completing the online course to obtain further skills and information if desired.
Please note: students ages 10-15 may complete the online course, but to become fully certified are required to then attend an in-person skills and exam session. Please see the junior hunting section of the Maine Hunting Laws for more information about junior hunter requirements.
Traditional in-person courses are available to all students and are taught by trained, certified volunteer instructors who meet state and international standards. Volunteer instructors provide valuable information to new hunters including insight into the sport of hunting, resources and support. In-person courses provide students the opportunity to ask questions of instructors and gain further guidance. There is typically no fee to complete a traditional in-person course, although some course hosts require a nominal fee to help cover facility rental or cleaning costs.
In-person courses require students to attend a 3-hour session of classroom instruction, then complete a workbook at home and then attend a skills and exam session.
Skills and Exam Sessions
8 hours of classroom instruction on the follow topics:
- Landowner relations
- Hunter ethics
- Maine hunting laws
- Hands-on practice of safe bow equipment handling
- Hands-on instruction of map and compass and outdoor survival and first-aid
At the skills and exam session, students must demonstrate to the instructor that they can safely handle a bow, and must participate in workshop and session activities, bring a survival kit and pass a 50-question exam with a score of at least 70%.
Junior Hunters: The Department encourages all junior hunters ages 10-15 to complete a hunter safety course to further their knowledge of safe hunting, proper firearm handling, outdoor survival, and more.
Hunter safety is not required for hunters ages 10-15 and hunters ages 10-15 may hunt with a junior hunting license. Once the hunter turns 16, they may hunt under the junior hunting license without taking hunter safety, OR can complete hunter safety and hunt under the adult license. Hunters under the age of 10 do not need to take hunter safety and do not need a hunting license. Learn more about junior hunters
Take the next step!
Completing a hunter safety course is just the first step toward a lifelong journey of learning and being a safe and successful hunter. Enhance your skills and boost your confidence with one of our many next step opportunities. Whether you want to learn more about hunting a certain species, need more practice with your method of harvest, or just want an opportunity to ask questions and connect with other hunters, our next step workshops are the perfect place to start.