In response to the delay of in-person California hunter education classes due to COVID-19, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is temporarily allowing new hunters to complete their education requirements entirely online.
Prior to COVID-19, California offered a traditional in-person course or a hybrid online/in-person class with a certified Hunter Education Instructor. Because all classroom instruction opportunities have been suspended, California will temporarily waive the in-person requirement, allowing students to complete the full course of instruction online.
“Online-only certification is a temporary solution to allow Californians the ability to fulfill their hunter education requirements and obtain a hunting license during these unique times,” said David Bess, CDFW deputy director and chief of the law enforcement division. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance to earn their certification before the fall hunting seasons, so we believe this is a reasonable solution, given the circumstances.”
When deemed safe to do so, CDFW intends to return to the prior system, including a minimum level of in-person instruction with a certified HEI.
“We value our 1,000 extremely dedicated volunteer instructors enormously, and we’re anxious to see them back in front of students as soon as possible,” Bess added.
Effective immediately, prospective hunters may earn their hunter education certification online. More information is available at wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education. The cost for the course is $24.95. Successful prospective hunters who complete and pass the online course will be able to immediately print a paper Hunter Education Completion Certificate that will qualify them to purchase a hunting license. Their CDFW online license profile will automatically be updated with their Hunter Education Certification within two days.
Prospective hunters are advised that the deadline to apply for California’s Big Game draw is June 2. CDFW advises new hunters to set a goal of completing the online certification by May 31 to allow time for the automatic update of their CDFW license profile. CDFW license profiles can also be updated by presenting the paper certificate to a CDFW License Agent.