As it is an exciting time of the year, hunters are known for anxiously anticipating the start of a new hunting season. And while some might like to hunt to their hearts’ desire — for all game, at any time of the year — there are state regulations which prevent it.
The Need for Licensing
Regulations are put on hunting to eliminate the risk of species endangerment due to over harvesting. States enforce this by breaking down various hunted species into categories and putting a cap on how many can be hunted per season, as well as how long that season will last. Licenses are then sold based on these categories and are only available in a limited amount.
The Different Types
Licenses are then broken down into categories based on animal types. Generally, these include Small Game (meaning pheasant, quail, dove and squirrel), Large Game (deer, elk, and antelope), All Game, Waterfowl (ducks and geese), Fishing and Migratory.
Within these general categories there are often more specific types of licenses based on state and local animal population, as well as the type of weapon used to hunt (i.e. bow or gun).
Who Can Hunt and When
Different prices and stipulations also exist for different types of hunters. Veterans, senior citizens, minors and those with disabilities often receive discounts or need special licensing.
Also different are the seasons for various game per state regulations. Deer season begins in mid-November; while in South Carolina, wild turkey season takes place in May; and in New Hampshire, moose season lasts only a week in October.
The laws for hunting are very different across the country. Some states have as little as 10 licenses, whereas others such as Michigan offer nearly 150 different licenses. Most regulation information can be found at state Departments of Conservation or Natural Resources.
Where and How to Apply
The most common place licenses can be purchased at is your state’s local Department of Conservation or Natural Resources. They can also be acquired at commercial stores or organizations that have been approved as a licensing agent. In certain states, Dunham’s is considered one of these agents. So you may be able to “kill two birds with one stone” (if you’ll excuse the pun) and get your license at participating locations while gearing up for the season.
Most licensing agents require a driver’s license or photo ID; others cite the completion of a hunter’s safety course as a necessary step.
Hunting licensing is a very specific process; however it is important to find out individual state regulations to avoid costly poaching fees, not to mention a huge damper on your hunting season. Make it a good one by doing the research and getting licensed.
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