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!
A “hunting season” is the time when it is legal to hunt and kill a particular kind of animal.
Because of the large role hunting has in wildlife management, hunting seasons are dependent on the type of animal, the environment, and animal characteristics like mating season. Hunting seasons are determined on a state-by-state basis by wildlife biologists who study animal populations. Local laws also can have an effect on the season (for example, some states don’t allow hunting on Sundays).
In general, though, archery season for deer begins in late September through early October, with firearms season following in late October and November. Deer season can continue through February in some states. Turkey is frequently hunted in the spring, in April or May, but may also be hunted in the fall in some areas. Migratory waterfowl hunting tends to open in late September and early October. Upland birds, such as grouse, are frequently hunted through the fall.
Pest animals—such as wild hogs or some species of squirrel—can often be hunted year-round.
Some terms to know are “open season” and “closed season.” An “open season” is the time when a species may be legally hunted. It is typically when the population is at its highest and avoids peak breeding season. A “closed season” is when hunters are not legally able to hunt that species. A season may be closed for several reasons, including food shortages, extreme temperatures, and low population numbers.
It is illegal to hunt during a closed season and is known as “poaching.”
In order to find out the dates of your desired hunting season, consult your state’s fish and wildlife agency or check out www.wheretohunt.org.