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Safety Courses

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources offers free gun safety and hunting classes. The Basic Hunter Education classes are mandatory in Illinois for hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1980, and are required for most out-of-state hunting licenses. The primary objective of the Safety Education Program is to teach user responsibility, respect and safety.

The Department also offers White-Tailed Deer hunting classes. This program includes biology and behavior, safety and ethics, preparation and scouting, laws and proper game care.

Those interested in learning about classes scheduled in their area can call 1-800-832-2599. The Ameritech relay number for the hearing impaired is 1-800-526-0844. Or you can visit the Department's website by clicking here.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Hunter Education Program consists of a minimum 10 hours of instruction. These courses cover the basics of hunter responsibility, wildlife conservation and identification, firearms and ammunition, field safety, wildlife management, first aid, archery, muzzleloading and state regulations. The instruction may be supplemented with the use of films, flip charts and firearm displays.

Persons completing the minimum 10 hours of instruction and successfully completing the final examination will receive a State of Illinois Certificate of Competency and a graduate patch.


On January 1, 1996, a State law was passed that anyone born on or after January 1, 1980 may not be issued a hunting license unless:


Courses are sponsored by various conservation clubs, public service organizations, park districts, schools and other interest groups in the state.


Many states are now requiring adult hunters to furnish evidence of having completed a Hunter Education Course prior to issuance of a non-resident license.

The shooting sports, both hunting and target, are lifetime recreational activities enjoyed by millions of Americans. The Illinois Hunter Education Program was designed to improve safety and to develop an attitude of respect for wildlife and the environment.

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