Hunting is a national pastime enjoyed by many outdoor enthusiasts throughout the country. However, prior to heading out on your hunting trip, you need to make sure to have the proper licensing through your state’s wildlife department. Hunting licenses and stamps are required throughout the U.S. for all state residents and non-residents who would like to hunt. Hunting licenses are divided into various subcategories, depending on a few factors, such as:
Typically, hunting licenses are available to children and adults ages 16 and older, though there are a few states that offer hunting licenses to children younger than 16. The application process also includes hunter education requirements. To meet the hunter education requirements, you must take a hunter education course, either through a classroom-instructor option or online. Hunter education courses cover topics, such as:
Fees for hunting licenses vary based on the type of license you are purchasing, and whether or not you are a resident of the state you buy the license in. Residents typically get a significant discount on hunting licenses, whereas non-residents must pay the full hunting license price. Discounts also apply for various groups such as disabled persons, active-duty military, military veterans and senior citizens.
When applying for hunting licenses, many states differentiate between the types of animals you can hunt with a single permit. Typical distinctions are made between big game and small game hunting licenses. However, other states get even more specific, offering licenses for hunting animals such as:
For hunting enthusiasts who prefer not to renew their licenses each year, there are also the options of extended hunting licenses (i.e. three-year, five-year) and lifetime licenses. Lifetimes licenses vary in price depending on the age of the applicant, with younger applicants paying more than older applicants. For children who have not completed the hunter education requirements, many states also offer apprentice licenses. Restrictions on youth apprentice hunter licenses require the child to be in the presence of a licensed hunter 21 years of age or older. Apprentice hunter licenses are a great way to learn the craft of hunting before you graduate to a full hunting license.
To apply for a hunting license, contact your state’s wildlife department and complete a hunting license application either online, in person, by mail or over the phone. You will typically need to provide some identification information, as well as proof of your residency status, your Social Security Number and the applicable hunting license fee. Occasionally, some states will also require you to pay an additional stamp fee for each license you purchase (i.e. Wildlife Conservation Stamp) for the purpose of funding wildlife conservation efforts throughout the state.