Alaska Bowhunter Education Course

Bowhunter training with sheep model

The bowhunter education course provides training in bowhunting techniques and safety, wildlife conservation, and outdoor preparedness. Graduates receive a lifetime certification recognized by all states, Canadian provinces, and Mexico.

If you were born on or after January 1, 1986 you must have successfully completed a department approved bowhunter education certification course to hunt big game with archery equipment and the certification card must be carried in the field when hunting.

All hunters participating in archery-only hunts for big game must obtain bowhunter education certification.

The following chart illustrates the current regulations:

Type of Hunt Birthdate Bowhunter Education
Draw, Registration, and General Season Before January 1, 1986 Not Required
Draw, Registration, and General Season On or after January 1, 1986 Required
Restricted weapons hunts for big game (archery-only) All Required

The Alaska bowhunter education program meets the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) and International Bowhunter Education Program (IBEP) certification requirements. Bowhunter education classes are taught by dedicated volunteer instructors who commit valuable time and offer years of experience. The next time you have a safe and enjoyable bowhunting experience be sure to thank a volunteer.

Non-Resident Hunters

Alaska accepts the NBEF or IBEP certification cards from any State/Province sponsored bowhunter education course. Other state's bowhunting licenses, tags, stamps, age exemptions, etc. are not adequate to fulfill Alaska's requirements.

If you need a bowhunter education course before coming to Alaska to hunt big game with a bow, visit the National Bowhunter Education Foundation website for more information. For more information for each states' bowhunter education course, here is a document with their course options and website (PDF 81 kB).

Please feel free to contact us if you need more assistance or have questions about the bowhunter education requirement to hunt big game with a bow in Alaska.

Alaska Bowhunter Education Course

The course is composed of two parts, the online course and an in-person field day. You will study the course material and take practice tests on the internet. You can take multiple chapter review tests online until the material is adequately covered. After successfully passing the online test, you must attend a Field Day where will complete a blood trailing exercise and proficiency shoot. It is only after successfully completing both parts of the course that you will receive your bowhunter education certification.

  1. There is a $30.00 charge for the online course. This fee is collected after you pass. A score of 80% is required for passing the test.
  2. Upon passing the online written test, you will receive your official Bowhunter Education Field Day Qualifier Certificate, which includes your Field Day Qualifier Number. You will be required to present a printed copy or an electronic copy of this when you attend your class. After a 1-3 day waiting period, you will receive an email informing you that you can sign up to attend a Field Day. You must wait to receive this notification email before you can sign up. You will need your Field Day Qualifier Number to sign up for the Field Day. The Field Day will be administered by certified volunteer instructors and will include a short review of key safety issues and Alaska specific regulations, a blood trailing exercise, and a shooting proficiency.
  3. The student must successfully complete the online test, attend the field day, and complete the shooting proficiency to be certified. Students who fail the proficiency shoot and the reshoots must re-register online to attend a field day on another date. Students completing the online course do not need to re-take the online course and repay as their field day qualifier certificate is valid for 365 days after their initial online course completion date.

Proficiency Shoot & Blood Trailing Exercise

All bowhunter education students must successfully complete a standardized proficiency shoot and blood trailing exercise. All students must provide their own archery equipment. It is recommended the student use the bow they intend to hunt with during the proficiency shoot. There is no minimum draw weight required to take the proficiency shoot, however, students must be knowledgeable about the current minimum draw weight regulations to hunt big game in Alaska.

During the required proficiency shoot, a course will be set up with eight different shooting stations (two stations at each of four 3-D targets). Students will use field tips only, NO BROADHEADS. The student will be asked to shoot from both kneeling and standing positions. The shooting proficiency will also require a student to estimate range and identify the vital zones of various big game animals. Students will be allowed to use a rangefinder during the proficiency shoot as it's a legal piece of equipment and can be a valuable aid to any hunter. Archery shooting proficiency shall be demonstrated by the student taking eight shots at four 3-D targets. The student must make five out of the eight shots in the vitals (heart, lung, liver). The student must make at least one vital shot on each of the four target animals and a double kill shot on one. Students with disabilities will not be required to kneel. Students shooting traditional and compound bows will be held to the same minimum standards (10-30 yards). These requirements are based on realistic distances that all archers would encounter in the field.

The blood trailing exercise is designed to emphasize the importance for bowhunters of understanding how to blood trail. Volunteer instructors will lead the class on a simulated blood trail, and this exercise will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.

Click here to enroll in the Online Bowhunter Education course
View the Online Bowhunter Education Course Field Day schedule

For more information, contact HIT Program staff.