hunting licenseOkay, maybe you’re not hunting zombies but if you’re looking for information about getting or renewing a hunting license then this post will give you everything you need.  I’ll explain what a hunting license is, why you need one, how to get a hunting license, and provide links to your state’s website so you can get a hunting license.

What Is A Hunting license?

A hunting license is basically a permit allowing you to hunt animals in the state you’re licensed for.  This permit allows you access to hunt on public land.  Hunting licenses can be purchased over the counter at some of your local stores (i.e. Walmart), from any Game and Fish office, and some states allow you to purchase them online (see map below).  The price of a hunting license depends on things like if you’re a resident or not.  Most of the time non-residents pay a higher fee.

Who Needs A Hunting License?

For the most part, if you plan on hunting any animals plan on buying a hunting license. There are occasions where you don’t need a license to hunt a specific species.  For example, Arizona and Texas don’t require you to have a license to hunt hogs (feral pigs) because they’re nuisance animals.  The best way to know what you need a license for is to check your state’s hunting regulations.

What Can I Hunt With A General Hunting License?

Most of the time a general hunting license alone allows you to hunt animals like squirrels, predators, rabbits, and some birds. Most big game animals require a tag that is usually obtained through a lottery system.  Don’t think that since you have your general hunting license, you can take out that trophy elk standing 40 yards in front of you.  You need to read your states regulations to learn what you need to legally hunt these animals.  Also, there are stamps you need for other animals.  In AZ you need your migratory bird stamp ($5) to hunt dove, quail, ducks and other birds.  Ducks require a federal duck stamp and you can only shoot steel shot, not lead.  Knowing this before you hunt will keep you out of trouble.

How Do I Buy a Hunting License?

Most of the time all you need to do is take your state ID to any store that sells them and you can buy one over the counter, along with all applicable stamps or over the counter big game tags.  There are states that allow you to purchase online.  Make sure you pick the correct licenses when you do it online because all sales are usually final. Just ask me, I screwed this up the first time I bought my hunting license online.

What Happens If I’m Caught Hunting Without A License?

hunting licenseJust don’t do it.  Some years I go out and never see Game and Fish.  This year during Dove season I was stopped two days in a row and asked to show my license. Game and Fish has the power to impose fines and take your guns and equipment if you’re caught poaching.  You’re better off spending the $40 or whatever it is to buy a hunting license to keep yourself out of trouble.

Below is a map that will send you to your state’s game and fish website where you will get all the info you need to purchase a hunting license. Be sure do either download or pick up a copy of your state’s hunting regulations so you know which animals are in season, bag limits, and where you’re allowed to hunt.  As always if you have any questions let me know!