Successful bowhunting course moves online

Posted on: September 1, 2016 | Bob Frye | Comments

Archery1Archers getting ready for the upcoming bow season may also want to take the online bowhunter education course.

Pennsylvania hunters can now take “successful bowhunting” education classes online.

The course isn’t required to be an archer here. Pennsylvania hunters who travel out of state to bowhunt elsewhere sometimes need proof of certification, though.

New York, for example, is one of 11 states that require that.

The class covers a variety of topics. They range from shot placement and estimating distances to big game recovery and tree stand safety. There’s information on ethics, too.

One complaint the Pennsylvania Game Commission has heard in years past is that the course just isn’t offered very often, Andy Hueser, hunter education specialist for the agency. And even then, hunters sometimes have to travel hours to reach one.

There are only four classes scheduled across the entire state in September, for example, none closer to Pittsburgh than Harrisburg.

The online course is the agency’s answer to that.

It went live on Aug. 17. The commission hasn’t really advertised it yet, but students can still take the course in the meantime.

The online version satisfies all the requirements for certification. There’s no need to later do any portion in person.

That’s not to say it’s replacing in-person courses entirely, Hueser said. Those will continue to be offered for those who prefer them.

But the online version – Pennsylvania is now the eighth state to offer it — gives hunters options, he said.

Students must be at least 16 and have to spend a minimum amount of time on each page of the course book. They also have to pass chapter quizzes with a minimum score of 70 percent and the final exam with an 80 percent, Hueser said.

There’s a $30 cost, too, payable to the company that runs the website.

That fee applies only if a student actually finishes the test and applies for a certificate, though, said Steve Smith, chief of the commission’s bureau of information and education. Hunters who have passed the course before and want to take it again as a refresher can do so for free, so long as they don’t seek a duplicate certificate.

Smith said he’s even having his son – who will be afield as a junior hunter for the first time this year –take it without applying for a certificate just to learn.

It may not be for everyone, Hueser said, but it could solve the problems some have encountered.

“We designed this as a way to answer those people,” he said.

The class can be found here.

Next up, the commission is developing an online cable restraint certification class for trappers. Certification is required by law for trappers using cable restraints, so the commission wants to make it easier to achieve.

“That’s the big one. There’s big demand for that course,” Hueser said.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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