Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Hunter Education Courses, led by trained and certified volunteer instructors, are offered throughout the year and throughout the state. Enroll—find a course at a place and time to fit your schedule!
Clicking the link, above, opens the CPW's Events Calendar, showing all available hunter education courses. Page through the calendar for one that's offered nearby, then click on it to learn the details—class dates and times, registration and contact information, fees, and any special instructions. (Remember, it's always a good idea to pre-register early for the course of your choice—it can fill up quickly!)
Courses are offered in several formats. Depending upon your requirements, you can choose a course given in a format other than the traditional classroom setting:
- CRASH course (CRASH courses are intended for, primarily, non-residents.) And, some are offered especially for women and youth.
To learn more about each of these alternatives, see the links to the left under Helpful Links.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife furnishes hunter education manuals, equipment, and ammunition. Instructors are permitted to collect a small fee to help defray classroom expenses, though free classes are not uncommon. The fee for regular classes may not exceed $10, and the fee for crash courses may not exceed $20.
Note: If you have a valid hunter education card/certificate from another state, and it can be verified, it will be honored in Colorado. Certifications from other countries may also be accepted. For more about this, see the "Proving HE Course Completion" section of the HE Card Replacement Page.
If you need special accommodations as a result of a disability, please contact the Hunter Education Instructor or the Hunter Education Office at (303)291-7233 or (303)291-7470. If you are hearing impaired and need Sign Language Interpretation, please download the Accommodations Form and send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or a fax to (303)-291-7113 to request the Hunter Education Interpreter(s). We request that you contact us with at least 15 days notice prior to the event. To know more about how we provide opportunities to individuals with disabilities see our Disabled Accessibility page.
See the 2011 Hunter Education Annual Report for a complete summary of last year's state-wide program.Course Completion Required
To Apply For Or Buy A License Or Preference Point And To Hunt
By Colorado statute
, everyone born on or after January 1, 1949 who applies for a Colorado hunting license or preference point must have successfully completed an approved hunter education course
Why? To make hunting safer.
Colorado hunters experienced an average of nine fatal and 24 non-fatal hunting accidents each year during the 1960s. Noting this, the Colorado legislature took action and passed the hunter education course completion requirement in 1970. The effect? In the '90s, the averages went down to 1.3 fatal and 11 non-fatal hunting accidents. The latest five years, through 2004, averaged 1.6 fatal and 10 non-fatal hunting accidents.
Hunting is safer in Colorado. Since 1970, over 600,000 students have taken and passed Colorado's hunter education course. And hunting is now safer across the United States, too, as all states have hunter education programs similar to Colorado's. (Canada does, also.)
Safe Hunting Is No Accident
The most basic purpose of a hunter education course is to teach safe, responsible firearm handling in the field, in the vehicle, and in the home after hunting. Through lectures, hands-on activities, and videos, students learn about firearms and ammunition, firearm safety, shooting fundamentals, and firearm and wildlife laws.
While hunter education courses enable safer hunting, they also help hunters be more successful in their hunts—and emphasize ethical hunting behavior. Subjects covered include hunter responsibility, wildlife identification and management, game care, outdoor survival, and more. Students also receive introductions to hunting with bows and black powder firearms.
Hunter education courses are recommended for anyone who spends time in the outdoors, whether or not they intend to hunt. Basic outdoor skills acquired in a hunter education course can be invaluable during any outdoor activities. For example, survival basics can help you prepare for and deal with emergencies. And wildlife management lessons provide insight into how and why wildlife agencies manage the resource, particularly by using hunting as a management tool.
To cover these topics adequately, courses consist of at least ten hours of instruction (as mandated by the law). A Hunter Education Card (or sometimes called a 'certificate') is awarded to students who have attended all classes and who pass the final exam and 'live fire' exercise.
Volunteer Instructors Make It Happen
Become an Important Part of the Program
Skilled, highly trained and certified volunteer Hunter Education instructors—about 500—teach approximately 700 classes each year, with support from CPW personnel and other professionals. Potential volunteer instructors are rigorously screened, interviewed, and investigated through background checks before being accepted for training. After successful completion of training and testing, instructor candidates are required to do 'student teaching' with certified instructors; they may then, themselves, be certified as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education Instructor.
Taking periodic training refreshers and skills improvement seminars and workshops is also required of all certified instructors to maintain their classification. But, through these advanced training opportunities, a certified instructor can become a Senior Hunter Education Instructor—and even advance to the Master level!
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is always interested in recruiting new instructors. If you are enthusiastic, want to share your knowledge, like teaching, and are committed to making hunting safer, read the Applicant Information Sheet, then complete the Certification Application to start the process of becoming an Instructor.
If you have any questions, contact the CPW Hunter Education Office** or any Colorado Parks and Wildlife office. We thank you, in advance, for your interest in the program! (Please know that August-November and January-April are very busy times for the Hunter Education office. Processing of applications received during these periods may take longer than usual.)
** This mailbox may not be checked daily. If you need immediate assistance, please call your closest CPW office or 303/291-7470 or 303/291-7233.