The Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) Program is British Columbia's Hunter Education Program. It is also a great program for anyone interested in outdoor recreation.
The CORE Program consists of a practical firearms handling test, and a written examination on all of the following subjects:
• Law and Regulations
• First Aid and Survival
• Firearm Safety
• Animal Identification
• Bird Identification
The CORE Manual and the Hunting and Trapping Regulation Synopsis are the resource manuals used to learn these subjects.
BC Residents who are 18 years of age or older and who wish to obtain a hunting licence are required to complete the CORE Program.
The goal of the CORE Program is to ensure that prospective hunters meet acceptable standards of knowledge and skill for safe and ethical participation in hunting recreation.
The Hunter Safety Training Regulation prescribes the required fees for the CORE Program is $10 for each test and $30 for the graduate certificate.
Individuals who have completed a hunter education program from another province or territory of Canada, or a state of the United States of America are exempt from the requirement to complete the CORE Program. Contact a Service B.C. Centre for more details on program exemption.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) operates the CORE Program on behalf of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.
CORE Examiners are appointed under provincial regulation. They may instruct classes and conduct examinations.
CORE Examiners should be able to inform you of where and when courses and/or examinations sessions are being conducted, and how to obtain the CORE Manual and the Hunting and Trapping Regulation Synopsis in your community.
CORE Examiners names can be obtained by clicking here; by calling or visiting a Service B.C Centre; by contacting the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations; or by calling the BCWF at 1-888-881-2293.
Want to be a CORE Examiner?
Examiner Application Form.pdf
Exam preparation by:
• Enrolling in a CORE Course: or
• Completing a program of self-study.
Independent instructors offer CORE Courses. The student should ensure that the course offered is of the quality, content and length appropriate for their learning requirements. Instructors offering CORE Courses should provide complete examination preparation and may make arrangements for testing by CORE Examiners. Discuss these arrangements with the instructor.
You should ask the independent instructor if the course fee includes all costs: the manual, examination fees and graduate certificate fees. The fees for a CORE Course vary greatly and are not prescribed by regulation.
Individuals may choose the self-study method to prepare for the examinations. It is suggested that you allow approximately 24 hours to study the CORE Manual and use of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis.
The CORE Manual explains the self-study method and has sample questions to prepare you for the written examinations. A combination of reading, previous firearms handling experience and training, or tutoring maybe required to prepare you for the firearms practical examination.
You may also wish to try the Introduction to Hunter Education Internet course as another tool for self-study for the CORE Examinations. Check out the website www.ihea.com for more details.
Once you feel ready to take the examinations contact the CORE Examiner in your area. CORE Examiners operate on their own schedule and should be contacted well in advance of the desired examination date to arrange a mutually agreeable time and location for testing.
The examination process
Prior to starting the examinations, the CORE Examiner will have you complete a registration form. Until both exams have been successfully completed, the registration form may be kept by the student to be shown to an examiner each time an examination is taken, otherwise the record of the successful completion of a test may be lost.
Two tests required
The written examination consists of 75 multiple-choice questions based on the CORE Manual and the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis.
You must obtain at least 56 points overall to pass the written examination. Supplemental information from the CORE Manual is not tested.
There is no time limit for the written examination. Upon completion of the test, the examiner will provide the results to the student. A failed exam must be retaken on a date other than the day the test was failed. Each time an examination is taken, a $10 fee is payable to the examiner.
The practical firearms handling examination requires the safe handling of two of the five types of firearm actions, including the identification and loading/unloading use of dummy ammunition. A minimum score of 21 out of 27 is required for a pass. The examiner will provide the firearms.
Individuals who have satisfactorily completed the Canadian Firearm Safety Course (CFSC) need not complete the CORE practical firearm-handling examination.
You must provide the CORE Examiner with either the completed CFSC report form showing successful test completion or a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) to be exempted the practical firearms handling examination.
A Possession Only Licence (POL) is NOT acceptable for the exemption to the CORE practical firearms handling exam.
When both examinations have been successfully completed, the examiner will give the student a document of completion. The student must send this form, along with a $30 administration fee payable to the BCWF, to obtain a graduation certificate.
You will need to take this graduation certificate to the local Service B.C. office and request a B.C. Resident Hunter Number Card (RHNC). There is no cost for the RHNC. Before a RHNC is issued, you will have to prove that you are a BC resident and that you meet the minimum age requirements.
With your RHNC you may purchase a hunting licence and enter the limited entry-hunting draw.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most hunters use firearms. Provincial and federal law governs how the hunter gets a firearm and uses it during hunting. Here are some of the frequently asked questions on this subject.
Do I need a Federal Firearms Licence in order to go hunting?
Yes in most cases and no if you are being supervised. To hunt you need a hunting licence issued by the province. If you are hunting or just carrying a rifle or shotgun in the bush, you require a Federal Firearms Licence.
If you borrow a firearm you need a federal firearm licence (PAL, or POL) unless you are being supervised by someone who is legally allowed to have that firearm.
If you have passed the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) program, obtained a B.C. Resident Hunter Number Card, and purchased a hunting licence; you can go hunting in accordance with the rules in the Wildlife Act and Regulations. If you do not own a firearm and your hunting partner lends you a firearm, as long as he or she provides direct and immediate supervision, you may hunt with that firearm. If your hunting partner leaves you on a tree stump while he or she goes out to scare the game towards you, are you under their direct and immediate supervision? Most people and the police would say NO, you need a Federal Firearms Licence.
If stopped at a roadblock, the Conservation Officer will ask you for your hunting licence. The Conservation Officer will ensure you are in compliance with the Wildlife Act and Regulations (Provincial Law). If the RCMP officer or municipal police force officer approaches you, he or she may ask for your Federal Firearms Licence. They want to check and see if you are legally in possession of that firearm in accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada and the Firearms Act.
During the hunting season, you must have a hunting licence and a federal firearms licence with you, if you are hunting with a firearm, unless you are being supervised. The person supervising will need a federal firearms licence.
Does my son or daughter under 18 years of age need a Federal Minors Permit in order to go hunting?
No. The Federal Minors Permit is generally issued to youth in British Columbia between the ages of 12 to 17 who need to use a firearm in an unsupervised situation. This occurs for youth that participate in biathlon competition. It is hard for the adult to supervise the youth while the youth is skiing through the woods.
Youth (ages 10 to 17 inclusive) who participate in hunting in British Columbia must be accompanied by, and be under the close supervision of, an adult (18 years or older) who holds a valid hunting licence and meets other prescribed qualifications. "Accompanied" under the Wildlife Act means to remain in the company of the other person, able to see the other person without the aid of any device other than ordinary corrective lenses and able to communicate by unamplified voice with that person.
Close and personal supervision is not defined in the Wildlife Act. Neither is direct and immediate supervision in the Criminal Code. If you give a youth a shotgun and put them in a duck blind 20 feet away from your duck blind, you may have met the requirement to accompany that youth under the Wildlife Act. Do you think you have met either of the supervision requirements? Most people would say no.
I have successfully completed the CORE program; do I need to take the Canadian Firearm Safety Course in order to apply for a Federal Firearms Licence?
If you read the Canadian Firearm Safety Course (CFSC) manual and feel comfortable in challenging the Canadian Firearm Safety Course written and practical exam, you should be able to pass the challenge tests. If you are uncomfortable with challenging the Canadian Firearm Safety Course tests and/or you feel the additional firearm training would be a good refresher, take the course.
You will need to weigh the cost of the challenge tests versus the cost for the course. Other factors such as work and family commitments, personal growth, course availability need to be looked at before you decide to challenge the tests or take the course.