Iowa Hunter Safety Course

Iowa Hunter Safety Course & Education Information

By providing hunter education to the public, the DNR will help ensure the safety of hunters throughout our state. Continue to promote the ethic’s and fair chase, hunter responsibility and landowner relations. Safety, recruitment, and retention of hunters is key to the long tradition of hunting in Iowa’s GREAT Outdoors!


Hunter education is a mandatory program that is designed to introduce students to several life-long skills that are important to the many different types of outdoor recreational opportunities. The course teaches students basic survival and first aid skills, water safety, wildlife identification, and the basics of wildlife management, hunting laws, and firearm/archery safety. Hunter education also stresses the importance of individual responsibility and outdoor ethics.

Iowa law requires that anyone born after January 1, 1972 must be certified in hunter education before they are eligible to purchase an Iowa hunting license. The minimum number of hours to complete the class is 10. Typically there is no charge for the course, unless lunch is furnished or room rental is required. Iowa recognizes hunter education certificates issued by another state and some foreign nations.

A person who is 11 years old or older may enroll in a course, but those who are 11 and successfully complete the course shall be issued a certificate which becomes valid on that person’s 12th birthday. Iowa residents under the age of 12 can be issued a deer or turkey license; however, a licensed adult hunter must accompany each youth hunter. If the certificate is lost, a replacement certificate may be obtained from any ELSI vendor during regular business hours for $4.50.

Classes are typically held from March 1 - November 15 each year. Our courses are taught by volunteer instructors who are hunters so there are very few classes that take place after November 15.

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