DNR Hunter Education During a Pandemic

An article from WWA’s Words From The Wardens.

This article originally appeared in Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s August, 2021 eNewsletter

By Jon King, DNR Hunter Education Administrator Warden

COVID-19 still hasn’t gone away, but we do see welcomed improvements every day.

The good news is hunting seasons, opportunities and the fun associated with these activities has not been held back by the virus.

Each year, more than 20,000 new people take hunter education courses and want to give hunting a try. Wisconsin’s Hunter Education Program has been operating under a few changes, and I want you to know about them. All class options for Wisconsin are currently available.

How Can I Complete My Wisconsin Hunter Education Class?

Students learn in the classroom during WWA’s 2019 Learn to Hunt

HANDS-ON TRAINING: (We use the standard safety precautions for your protection in our classes.)

  1. Internet Field Day: This training allows you to complete some of your training online and then attend one day of training with a certified instructor. This class is a good fit for a person that has handled firearms or is going to be hunting with someone who has more experience to help them out. During this class there are four to six hours of gun handling opportunities. All age groups are welcome.
  2. Traditional Class: This training offers a more hands-on approach to working with a certified instructor over a few days. Most students and families enjoy this option because they can do it in their home/neighboring community. This option provides more time for the students to handle hunting equipment, and to learn about safe hunting practices, shooting and many other topics. All age groups are welcome.


  1. Hunter Education Online Program: We allow any person of any age to complete hunter education all online. The student can spend four to six hours online studying, pass the test and pay $34.95 to be certified. This option does not provide hands-on opportunities for students. Until September 1 2021, people of any age can complete the training online. Go to hunter-ed.com.

What class is right for me?

I get this question all the time. I wish there was a simple answer for this because everyone is different in their learning styles. The entire goal of hunter education, or any education system for that matter, is to provide information in a way that allows for that information to be retained – and, in our case, to remember the most about acting in a safe and ethical manner while hunting.

Many decades ago, we deployed an educational philosophy that, when used, gives the student the ability to retain more information from our hands-on training. This philosophy compliments everyone’s learning style.

In summary:

  1. Choose the class style based upon what will help you remember the most. Make your decision based upon your learning style.
  2. If you learn best by opening the owner’s manual or textbook and reading everything, the online program may be right for you.
  3. If you learn best by watching and doing it, the hands-on class is best for you.
  4. Youth generally learn better when they get to try things out.

You can learn more about hunter education here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/Education/OutdoorSkills/safetyEducation.