The good news is there are lots of places you can quickly and easily get your hunting license. But first, it’s important to know why you need a license. Watch the short video below to find out.

Buying a license directly supports the wildlife and outdoors areas in your state, including habitat restoration, fish stocking, wildlife management, and more. By following the law and purchasing a hunting license, you ensure a legacy of hunting for the future.

The first place to look for a license is your state hunting agency website. If you’re not sure what that is, start by searching for “hunting license” with your state name. If you meet all the legal requirements, such as age and completion of a hunter safety course, you’ll be able to pay the fee. In most states, you can now buy your license online and have it mailed to you!

 If you’d rather go in person, visit the regional offices for your state wildlife agency. You can find the address through their website or with a quick search. You can also buy a license from agency vendors, such as gun stores, sporting good shops, and even some supermarkets or small businesses.

You’ll pick the type of license you want—including the type of animal you’re interested in hunting—and then you’ll be ready! Your license will have limits on when you can hunt (the “season”) and may have limits on where. If you have any questions, a representative from your state agency is the best person to ask. They’re happy to help you begin your hunt safely!

Happy hunting!

It’s almost deer season, and you’re getting excited about your upcoming hunt. You dust off your rifle and head over to your local range for some warm-up target practice. You sight the target down-range, confident in your bull’s-eye, pull the trigger and…

Your shot is off. What’s up?

You need to sight-in your rifle. Bullets don’t travel in a straight line; they arc. Because of gravity’s effects, you have to “sight-in,” or adjust your sights to hit a target at a specific range.

As a deer hunter, you might consider sighting-in your rifle to a target about 100 yards away. That’s a good rule of thumb, though you may need to sight-in your rifle for a different range, depending on where you hunt.
To sight-in your rifle, follow these steps:

  • Set up on a solid bench rest with the forestock resting on something padded, such as a sandbag. (Don’t rest the gun on its barrel, or it will shoot higher than normal!)
  • Use a sight-in target, available from retail outlets or manufacturers.
  • Set up a target 25 yards away; fire at least three shots, then check the results. If the holes are grouped  relatively close together, but not where you were aiming, your sights need to be adjusted.
  • Adjust the sights. Read your sight’s  instruction manual to find out how much a certain number of minutes-of-angle or “clicks” in a certain direction will change the rear sight (peep or telescopic) on your firearm. Consult a ballistics chart or an experienced shooter if you need additional help.
  • Repeat at 100 yards (or whatever your target range is).

Now that you know how to sight-in your rifle, you can get these added benefits:

  • Extra practice. Because you have to shoot your target several times while sighting-in, you get more hands-on time with your rifle, making you a better shot.

  • Added accuracy. When you’re on the hunt, you want to hit your deer exactly right. Being out of alignment may mean the difference between a perfect hit in the heart and a meat-ruining hit in the stomach. If you want to enjoy venison stew and remain an ethical hunter, you need your rifle to be as accurate as possible.

  • Identifying weak points. If you have a little trouble with your grip or stance, extra time at the local range with experts can help you identify and correct these problems, making your next hunt that much better.

  • Clear range. After the practice and repetition of sighting-in your rifle, you will know your range like the back of your hand. And that’s great, because it means you’ll know exactly when a deer has crossed into your firing range.

  • Improved safety. Because it is more accurate, you now know exactly where your bullet will travel, which means you can reduce the chances of an accident.

  • Bonus confidence. You have a perfectly sighted-in rifle and a ton of practice: Your hunt is going to be outstanding!

When you’re preparing for a hunt, you have a lot to remember: your gear, your gun, your field care kit, extra ammo, blaze orange hat… But did you get everything? In most states, you have to complete hunter education before you can get your hunting license and head out!

Watch the video below for a glimpse at what you’ll learn in a course from Hunter Ed.

Do you need your hunter education before you get a license? Check the list below.

Who Needs Hunter Education?

Alabama: Anyone born after July 31, 1977
Alaska: Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1986, unless they under 16 years old and supervised by a licensed hunter
Arizona: Hunters 10 to 13 years old who hunt big game
Arkansas: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1968
California: Any first-time hunter
Colorado: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1948
Connecticut: All first-time hunters or those who have not held a license within the past five years
Delaware: Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1967
Florida: Anyone at least 16 years old and born after May 31,1975
Georgia: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1960
Hawaii: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1971, or before January 1, 1972, who cannot show proof of a Hawaii hunting license issued before July 1, 1990
Idaho: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1974, unless they can show proof they held a license previously
Illinois: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979
Indiana: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986
Iowa: Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1972
Kansas: Anyone born on or after July 1, 1957, unless they are 15 years old or younger and hunting under the direct supervision of an adult who is at least 18 years old
Kentucky: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1974
Louisiana: Anyone born after Aug. 31, 1969
Maine: Anyone, unless you can show proof of having previously held an adult license or having completed a hunter safety course
Maryland: Junior licensees who buy a hunting license; other hunters, unless they show proof they held a license issued before July 1, 1977
Massachusetts: All first-time hunters
Michigan: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1959
Minnesota: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979
Mississippi: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1971
Missouri: Anyone 11 to 15 years old who hunts alone with a firearm; anyone at least 16 years old who was born after Dec. 31, 1966, who buys a firearms season hunting permit
Montana: Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1985
Nebraska: Hunters 12 to 29 years old who hunts with a firearm or airgun
Nevada: Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1960
New Hampshire: Any first-time hunter
New Jersey: Anyone who has never had a hunting license
New Mexico: Hunters under 18 years old who apply for/buy a firearms hunting license
New York: Hunters at least 12 years old, unless they can show proof they held a license previously
North Carolina: Any first-time hunter and anyone under 16 years old who plans to hunt without an adult
North Dakota: Anyone born after 1961
Ohio: All first-time hunters, except those using an apprentice license and hunting with an adult
Oklahoma: Anyone 10 to 30 years old, except those under 30 who are using an apprentice license and hunting with a licensed hunter who is at least 18 years old and has completed hunter education
Oregon: Hunters under 18 years old
Pennsylvania: All first-time hunters and trappers
Rhode Island: All hunters
South Carolina: Anyone born after June 30, 1979
South Dakota: Hunters under 16 years old
Tennessee: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1968
Texas: Anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971
Utah: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1965
Vermont: Anyone, unless they can show proof of having a hunting license from another state or province
Virginia: Hunters 12 to 15 years old and all first-time hunters
Washington: Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1972
West Virginia: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1974
Wisconsin: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1972
Wyoming: Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1965, unless they are enrolled in the Hunter Mentor Program

What Should Be in My Essential Hunting Kit?
The type of hunt you plan on should dictate exactly what you bring with you, but there are, generally speaking, some essentials every hunter should have.

  • Licenses (and possibly permits, depending on your state’s laws)
  • Required animal tags
  • First aid kit
  • Maps of the area and/or a GPS
  • Compass
  • Communication device
  • Sharp knife
  • Calls for your target animal
  • Backpack to hold your gear

You’ll need to bring along your preferred method of take (aka gun or bow), as well as any accessories and ammunition. (Remember, it is essential that your ammunition match your firearm, and that you inspect your arrows for any damage.)
Dress for the weather and the terrain. This typically will mean camouflage, sturdy boots, gloves, rugged pants, and under-layers. Waterproof or water-resistant clothing is useful in every environment, and moisture-wicking clothing will also help keep you comfortable. For warmth, seek wool or synthetic fibers; cotton will retain moisture and make you colder.
Be sure to wear the correct amount of blaze orange for your season and your area—it will keep you safe from other hunters, who may mistake you for game. It’s proven to be effective, and most game animals can’t even see it!
All of this equipment can be found online, in sporting goods stores, or perhaps as hand-me-downs from a family member or friend.
Here are some specifics you may need, depending on your hunting needs.

Game Care Kit for Field Dressing

  • Black pepper to repel insects
  • Cheesecloth bags for organs you plan to use as meat
  • Cooler and ice
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Fluorescent orange flagging
  • Foil
  • Gambrel and pulley system
  • Hand towels
  • Large bag for caped or trophy head
  • Plastic bags for cleanup
  • Plastic or cotton gloves
  • Salt (noniodized) for hide care

Survival Kit and Equipment

  • Base plate compass with signal mirror
  • Candle
  • Emergency high-energy food
  • Extra boot laces
  • Extra pair of glasses
  • Extra two-day supply of prescription medicine
  • Fire starters—waterproof matches, butane lighter, etc.
  • First-aid kit
  • Fishing line and hooks
  • Flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs
  • Folding saw
  • Iodide tablets for water purification
  • Knives
  • Map
  • Metal, waterproof carrying case that can double as a cooking pot
  • Nylon rope
  • One-sided razor blade
  • Plastic sheet or large garbage bag
  • Poncho
  • Signal flares
  • Small can of lighter fluid
  • Snare wire or twine
  • Thermal foil blanket
  • Tissues
  • Water
  • Whistle (plastic)

Equipment for Firearm Hunters

  • Ear protection
  • Eye protection
  • A cleaning rod
  • Swab
  • Gun case for transport

Equipment for Archery Hunters

  • Three-fingered gloves or finger tabs
  • Mechanical release
  • Armguard
  • Quiver
  • Broadhead wrench, if appropriate

If You Use an Elevated Stand

  • Safety harness
  • Climbing line
  • Haul line
  • Whistle

Hunters Using a Boat

  • A personal flotation device

Having the right gear can be the difference between a difficult situation and a perfect hunt, so always plan accordingly!