U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

Hunter Education - Overview

The Hunter Education Program provides grant funds to the states and insular areas fish and wildlife agencies for projects to provide instruction in firearm operations and safety, wildlife management, nature conservation, ethics, game laws, outdoor survival and wilderness first aid. Funds may also be used for the development and operations of archery and shooting range facilities.

The goal is to teach students to be safe, responsible, conservation-minded hunters. Most States require completion of a hunter education course prior to purchasing a hunting license.

The Hunter Education Program is part of the Wildlife Restoration Program. Spending for the Hunter Education Program is authorized in the Wildlife Restoration Act.

Learn more about Wildlife Restoration Program accomplishments.

Source of Funds
States and insular areas are apportioned funds for Hunter Education - Section 4 (c) (traditional funds) and Hunter Education - Section 10 (enhanced funds). Each state receives an annual apportionment for Section 4 (c) and Section 10 funds based their population compared to the total U. S. population with no state receiving more than 3 percent or less than 1 percent. Insular areas receive 1/6 of 1 percent.

Revenues from manufacturers' excise taxes collected on pistols, revolvers, bows, arrows, archer accessories and arms and ammunition are deposited to the Wildlife Restoration Account. 1/2 of the excise taxes collected on pistols, revolvers, bows, arrows and archer accessories are used to fund Section 4 (c). After funding Section 4 (c), $8 million is deducted from the Wildlife Restoration Account to fund Section 10.

The funds remaining in the Wildlife Restoration Account fund WSFR administration, the Multistate Conservation Grant Program and the Wildlife Restoration Program.

Section 4 (c) funds may be used for hunter education projects or wildlife restoration projects. If all Section 4 (c) funds apportioned in a fiscal year are obligated for hunter education projects, the Section 10 funds apportioned in the same fiscal year may be used for either hunter education or wildlife restoration projects. However, if all Section 4 (c) funds apportioned in the fiscal year are not obligated for hunter education projects, Section 10 funds must be used for hunter education.

States and the U.S. Insular Areas fish & wildlife agencies may apply for grants by contacting the specific WSFR Office or apply online at grants.gov.

Grant funds are disbursed to states for approved grants up to 75% of the project costs and insular areas up to 100% of the project costs.