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Help for New Hunters

Take a Hunter Education Course or Buy the Apprentice License

The first step to buying a hunting license is to obtain a Virginia Hunter Education certificate by completing a hunter education course. This is required if you are 12–15 years of age, or you have not previously purchased a regular hunting license.

An apprentice license can be purchased by a new hunter before successfully completing a hunter education course and is an easier way for a new hunter to hunt with a mentor during the season.

Don’t forget to check out the Youth and Apprentice License Hunting Days!

Learn New Skills with Classes and Workshops

Find a class near you on topics such as deer processing, bowhunting, waterfowl and more!

The annual Hunter Skills Weekend is a family-friendly event with a variety of hands-on workshops and classes designed to teach you practical skills to become a more confident hunter.

Online Courses: If you want to learn hunting skills from the comfort of your own home, consider taking an online course. Today’s Hunter is a great option and has online courses on how to hunt deer, turkey and elk. Hunters Connect is a YouTube channel with content built exclusively for new hunters.

Find Hunting Mentors

Search the map below to locate DWR Certified Hunting Mentors in your area. These experienced hunters are available to answer questions and provide advice on a wide-range of hunting topics. Make sure to also download the Powderhook mobile app to access digital resources through our Virginia Camp, an online community of people who are passionate about sharing helpful information on hunting.

Mentored Hunt Programs

DWR coordinates multiple mentored hunt programs each fall and spring that are designed for new hunters with little to no experience.

These structured events typically include a workshop and an opportunity to hunt with an experienced mentor.

Contact Edward.Herndon@dwr.virginia.gov to learn more about these programs.

Want to Get Started in Archery or Bowhunting?

Virginia Bowhunters Association (VBA) clubs from around the state have offered to assist new archers and/or bowhunters with the fundamentals. There is a designated member at each club that will help get you in touch with talented folks in your desired area. Each club can help with advice for learning how to shoot, improving your shooting by competing in indoor and/or 3-D tournaments for all skill levels, and establishing or improving your hunting skills. In addition to getting some basic help, joining a VBA club can offer even more opportunities to meet and shoot with other archery/bowhunting enthusiasts and improve your skills! Please contact the nearest club from this list.

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