Become NBEF (National Bowhunter Education Foundation) Certified

By Todd KoenigApril 26, 2013

UPDATED ON: May 1st, 2015

Do you have an interest in archery or bowhunting, but you’re not sure where to start?  Have you ever considered an out-of-state bowhunt? How about a special in-state metro hunt?  Did you know that many states require that hunters complete a Bowhunter Education course, as do most of the special metro hunts?  If you have ever thought of going on such adventures, then taking the bowhunter education course is a necessary step toward achieving your bowhunting goals. Here are a few tips to make the process as easy as possible.


The online course is a great option for a busy schedule. Many states have this option. Here is a screen capture of my login page.

Some states require a NBEF (National Bowhunter Education Foundation) certified safety course in order to bowhunt. The bowhunter education class does just this and allows you to bowhunt anywhere educational requirements are in place.  Here is a list of a states and providences that require the NBEF course: Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont. The course itself has two classroom options.  The traditional classroom has a predetermined location, set days, and a certified instructor.  If your schedule is busy or the locations are not convenient, there is also an online option that includes interactive learning modules to increase comprehension. Check out the online course:


These great resources are available to either class or online course participants. I received these, at the field day, after completing the class online.

Both traditional and online courses meet the NBEF standards for training, which many states require prior to purchasing a bow license. The course emphasizes the history of bowhunting, safety, ethics, fundamental skills, techniques, and archery gear. When you have finished the course and passed each unit’s test, you will need to print the certification of completion to bring to the field day. The culmination of both courses is a field day where participants go through 10 interactive learning modules.  When I participated in the field day, the class was broken down into groups of five participates for every instructor. It offered interactive lectures, hands on activities, and proficiency tests. To be honest, it was one of the best days “in class” I have ever spent.

Do not be worried if you are an experienced adult bowhunter. When I showed up at my field day, I was a little apprehensive about the class makeup. I was expecting, at age 39, to be the oldest participant and surrounded by teenage kids. I was pleasantly surprised to find that for my field class, it was just the opposite. There were 4 teenagers; however, the rest of the class was made up of adults and a few participants much older than I. The field day is designed to be a hands-on, constructive, and interactive learning experience. This includes: bow set-up and shooting, judging distances, primary aiming zones of game animals, identifying game trails, local laws, field dressing, blood trail exercises, erecting and safely ascending and descending from tree stands, and orienteering and survival techniques.


Chasing your bowhunting dreams (such as elk) often requires certain certifications depending on the region you are hunting. Participating in the Bowhunter Education Class will ensure you are legal to do so.

Make sure you dress in your hunting attire! While my field day was warm, there was an on again off again drizzle and the whole day was shrouded in mist.  We walked through fields, the edges of swamps, thick brush, and woods.  Bring a pair of hiking boots, long pants, and plan ahead for the current weather conditions. Be sure to bring your archery gear, as you will be shooting. Your arrows must have field tips; broadheads are not allowed in the targets.

Remember if you are interested in bowhunting or want to fine-tune your skills, this class may be just the course for you. Besides learning and reviewing bowhunting skills, it gives you NBEF certification that many states and metro hunts require.  Once certified, you’ll have the opportunity to bowhunt throughout North America.

Todd Koenig
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