Hunting licenses are required in the US, with laws varying by state and some federal statutes. Fees and age requirements vary, and additional requirements may apply for specific game. Licenses can be purchased at sporting goods stores, DNR, or online/phone.
Obtaining a hunting license is a requirement for legal hunting by any hunter in the United States, except some property owners. Laws governing hunting are created and maintained primarily by each individual state’s Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife Management, although there are some federal statutes. In general, a hunting license is obtained in the hunter’s home state and is valid for one year.
Each state has different laws and regulations regarding hunting licensing. A hunting license is obtained by paying the regulatory fee assigned to the type of license being purchased. In some states, separate licenses are required for hunting and trapping. Combined licenses can also be purchased, and often fishing licenses can be combined with hunting licenses. Some states allow hunters to purchase a single hunting license for life and may offer discounts to the elderly and disabled. Hunters hunting outside their home state can purchase non-resident hunting licenses in some cases.
The fees for a hunting license will vary as will the age requirements. Some states may require applicants to be 16, and others may require applicants to be 17 or 18. An ID is required to obtain a hunting license regardless of location or age. Each state provides a copy of current hunting regulations each year, and hunters should consult the regulations before purchasing a hunting license to ensure they are legally permitted to hunt their desired game, method, and season.
In addition to a hunting license, some other requirements may apply. Deer hunting requires the purchase of a deer tag in addition to the license. In states where more than one deer is allowed, hunters will need a tag for each kill. Depending on your location, other game-specific laws may also apply.
A hunter can obtain a hunting license from most sporting goods stores, as well as from the DNR or the respective state’s Game Commission. The license year begins in June in most areas. In many cases, states also allow licenses to be purchased online or over the phone. For information about obtaining a nonresident hunting license in a state other than your home, hunters should speak directly with the state Game Commission.