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Alaska Bowhunter Education Course

Beginning July 1, 2016, if you were born 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 must obtain bowhunter education certification.

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, Candian provinces, and Mexico.

In 2014, the board passed a regulation requiring all big-game hunters (resident and nonresident) using archery equipment to have successfully completed a department-approved bowhunter education certification course, effective July 1, 2016. That regulation was since refined at the board's statewide meeting in March 2016 by adding an exemption for older, presumably experienced, archery hunters participating in general-season hunts only. Now, to participate in general-season hunts, "a person born after January 1, 1986, using a longbow, recurve bow, or compound bow to hunt big game must have successfully completed a department-approved bowhunter education course."

That exemption does not apply to participants in archery-only hunts. In archery-only hunts, all bowhunters must have successfully completed a department-approved bowhunter education course to participate.

The following chart illustrates the current regulations simply:

Type of Hunt Birthdate Bowhunter Education
General Season Before January 1, 1986 Not Required
General Season After January 1, 1986 Required
Restricted weapons hunts (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 92 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.

Bowhunter Education Course Options

There are two ways to take an Alaska bowhunter education course:

  1. Instructor-led course: 2 parts — workbook home study, 8 hour field day (includes shooting proficiency)
  2. Online course + field day: 2 parts — online study and test, 4 hour field day (includes shooting proficiency)