Hunter Education: Frequently Asked Questions

Rhode Island law states that no license to hunt shall be issued to any person unless that person has held a license in a prior year or unless that person presents a hunter education card issued by Rhode Island or under an equivalent hunter safety program adopted by any other state. Persons who are serving in or have been honorably discharged from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard are exempt from the hunter education requirement.

Yes. You must have a previous hunting license or a hunter education certificate/card from any state.

A previous Rhode Island bowhunter license or a bowhunter education certificate/card from any state is required for those individuals who wish to hunt using archery gear. Those individuals who intend to hunt exclusively with bow and arrow may obtain an "Archery Only" license by completing a bowhunter education course. Those individuals who wish to hunt with firearms, AND archery gear must complete both courses.

Most mainland archers do not need an archery proficiency card. Individuals who wish to hunt deer with bow and arrow on Prudence Island, Patience Island, Block Island, Beavertail or in the Town of Lincoln must hold an Archery Proficiency card.

There is no minimum age requirement to enroll in the hunter education course or bowhunter education course. The student must be mature enough to understand the information presented, pass the written exam and participate in practical exercises as required. The student must also demonstrate to the satisfaction of the instructor that they possess the skills and attitude to responsibly and safely participate in hunting activity.

Persons age 12 to 14 who have completed a course may obtain a junior hunting license and may hunt in the immediate company of a qualified licensed adult twenty-one years of age or older. An individual may hunt unsupervised at 15 years of age.

The courses are taught by volunteer instructors in conjunction with the Rhode Island Division of Fish & Wildlife. Courses are held at sportsmen's clubs, community centers and other public meeting places. Hunter and Bowhunter Education Courses are held in the evenings and on weekends throughout the year, with the majority of courses held in August, September and October. The Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education courses can also be completed online with an in-person testing component for certification.

There is no fee to participate in the classroom course. All materials are provided free of charge. For the online courses there is a fee of $19.95 for the Hunter Education Course and a fee of $30 for the Bowhunter Education Course.

The hunter education course entails a minimum of 10 hours of classroom participation and includes such topics as hunter responsibility, principles of wildlife management, firearms, wildlife laws and identification, game care, specialty hunting, outdoor emergencies and survival, water safety and hypothermia. The Bowhunter Education Course is a one day course (approximately 8 hours) covering topics specific to bowhunting, including fundamentals of bowhunting, safety issues, how an arrow works, bowhunting equipment, tree stand use, shot placement and blood trailing.

Live fire is not mandatory in either course. About half of our hunter education courses include a live fire exercise where you will actually fire a gun. Some of our bowhunter education courses offer proficiency testing at the conclusion of the course for those who desire to participate. Again, this exercise is not required to pass the course.

Yes. If you are a RI resident, your Rhode Island hunter education cards are accepted throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. If you are not a RI resident, please check with your state’s Hunter Education office to see what is accepted in your state.

Yes. A Rhode Island Hunter Education Course card can be used in lieu of a Blue Card to purchase a handgun. See RIGL 11-47-35 section 2C.

The hunter education office has student records dating back to 1973 and will provide a duplicate card if your name is on record. If you successfully completed a Hunter Education or Bowhunter Education course in Rhode Island and are in need of a duplicate card, please contact the Hunter Education Office at (401)539-0019.

Yes. You can find a list of deer processors and taxidermists here.

Yes. You can find pheasant stocking information at www.dem.ri.gov/pheasant