May 26, 2020

California: CDFW Authorizes Online Hunter Education Courses

Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator

There has never been a better time to get into hunting in California. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is temporarily allowing new hunters to complete their education requirements entirely online. COVID-19 has restricted in-person gatherings, and an in-person class is part of the normal requirements for hunter education in California.

Hunter education is a critical component of raising safety, ethical hunting standards and conservation awareness. Prospective hunters who successfully complete and pass the online course will be able to immediately print a paper hunter education completion certificate, which will qualify them to purchase a hunting license. The hunter’s CDFW online license profile will automatically be updated with their hunter education certification within two days.

Hunting license sales provide essential funding for wildlife conservation and habitat restoration. Offering online hunter education eliminates the barrier to entry of not being able to complete the in-person class requirements and will be instrumental in recruiting new hunters, which is a key goal of CDFW’s Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) program. Increasing the number of new hunters increases licenses sales that provide essential funding for CDFW’s wildlife conservation and habitat restoration efforts. 

Hunting provides an opportunity to sustainably harvest healthy, hormone free, lean-protein meats, which is becoming increasingly important to all Americans, especially over concerns of meat shortages in grocery stores during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prospective hunters will be able to earn their hunter education certification online at a cost of $24.95 per enrollee, effective immediately. More information is available at

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commends CDFW’s decision to authorize completion of hunter education courses online and their dedication to sportsmen and women in the Golden State.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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