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Hunting Licenses In The U.S. |

Learn How to Apply for A Fishing License Today

FIshing Without a license can carry a significant fine. Our comprehensive guide will you all about the licenses process, help you get licensed in your state and educate you on other rules and regulations pertaining to you cath, such as seasons, haul limits, residency restrictions and more.

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Hunting Licenses in the U.S.

The United States of America offers countless hunting opportunities to both amateur and professional hunters with its abundance of diverse landscapes and animal life. However, before venturing out on a hunting trip, by law, hunters are required to obtain valid hunting licenses and hunting stamps through the state wildlife departments. Licenses to hunt vary across the country based on several criteria, such as: the type of game, the hunter's residency status, the purpose of the hunt (sport or business) and the longevity of the license. In addition, states also offer special types of hunting permits at more cost-effective rates to the following groups of hunters: disabled individuals, active and retired military members and senior or junior hunters. In general, before obtaining licenses to hunt, interested applicants are required to take hunting courses, which provide instruction on hunting techniques and the rules, regulations and ethics of the sport.

Read the below sections to learn more about the following types of hunting licenses and how to obtain them:

Resident and Non-Resident Hunting Licenses

Each U.S. state offers a variety of hunting licenses to its residents. However, before applying for a residential hunting license, interested applicants have to provide proof of residency. Typically, to be considered residents, applicants must have resided in the state where they are applying for a residential hunting permit for a specific amount of time. In South Dakota, for example, an individual must live in the state for at least 90 consecutive days prior to his or her hunting permit application.

Hunters who plan to cross state borders and hunt for game in a non-native state can obtain non-resident hunting licenses. In general, non-residential hunting permits are offered at less cost-effective rates and with less variety than residential hunting permits. Depending on the duration of the hunting trip, visiting hunters can obtain non resident permits that last between one day and seven days.

Sport and Commercial Hunting Permits

Depending on the hunter's motivation, states offer two general types of hunting licenses: sport hunting licenses and commercial hunting licenses. Hunters who hunt for recreational purposes can obtain their regular or sport hunting permit from their state's wildlife department. Recreational hunting permits vary based on the type of game that is available to hunt in the specific state.

Commercial hunting licenses, on the other hand, are available to hunters who intend to profit from the sport. In general, commercial licenses to hunt are issued to game bird breeders, to trappers who intend to sell game meat or fur, and to dog trainers who provide hounds for hunting purposes. Certain commercial hunting permits are state specific, such as the Texas alligator farmer license.

Big Game and Small Game Licenses to Hunt

Based on the type of hunted animal, two general types of hunting licenses are offered throughout the U.S.: big game hunting licenses and small game hunting licenses. Generally, hunters are permitted to hunt the following animals with the corresponding big game hunting license:

Hunters who plan to hunt small game mammals and birds must acquire a small game hunting permit for species such as: rabbit, quail, snipe, pheasant, partridge and squirrel.

Note:Certain states do not offer standalone big game hunting licenses, only big game hunting tags as additions to already existing licenses to hunt.

Special Types of Hunting Licenses

Wildlife departments across the country offer a variety of special hunting licenses, which are generally available at reduced rates. The following groups of hunters are eligible for these special hunting permits:

To obtain the aforementioned licenses, applicants must submit the necessary documentation which explains their special circumstances. For example, disabled individuals have to provide proof of their disability to be able to apply for a hunting license at a reduced rate.

Hunting permits for members of the military, on the other hand, are issued to both residents and nonresidents who plan to hunt for sport in the state in which they are based. Members of the military are even exempt from paying the license fees in states such as Texas and Alabama.

Junior and senior hunters can obtain licenses to hunt at reduced rates as well. The junior and senior age limits vary from state to state. In general, states offer junior hunting licenses to hunters younger than 16 years of age and senior hunting licenses to hunters older than 65 years of age.

Another category of special hunting permits are the lifetime hunting licenses available to resident hunters of any age. Certain states even offer lifetime licenses to infants 0 to 2 years of age.

How to Obtain Hunting Licenses

To buy hunting licenses, hunters are encouraged to contact their state's wildlife agency and explore the available purchasing methods. Ordinarily, both resident and non-resident hunters can buy a hunting license via the following methods: online, by phone, by mail and in person.

The most practical method of purchasing licenses to hunt is submitting an application via the state's online purchasing service on the department's website. After providing the necessary information and payment, hunters will receive their hunting permits via email to print them out or present them on their smartphones.

Hunters who decide to obtain their hunting licenses with another method can visit their respective department's website to learn where to submit their hunting license application.

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