A Resource About All Things Hunting
Hunting can be done for food, recreation, or trade. The sport of hunting adheres to strict governmental oversight, which regulates and restricts the killing, trapping, and capturing of all species according to applicable law in each jurisdiction. There is much that goes in to being a hunter. Many steps should be taken long before someone sets foot in the woods. Any perspective hunter should: ensure they have the proper permits and registrations, be aware of what season it is and what game they are allowed to hunt, and have taken all necessary safety precautions. Hunters should remain up-to-date on the ever-changing status of the rules and regulations imposed in each jurisdiction. In addition, hunters should follow their own natural instinct and utilize their own judgment while scouting the field for a potential target. Hunting is a privilege that can be revoked if abused.
Hunting License and Regulations
Every hunter must possess a license and obey state-regulated laws. A hunting license permits certain individuals to engage in recreational and sports hunting. Each state has different standards and registration requirements in order to obtain a hunting license, which may include various time periods, harvesting methods, species identification, and a safety course. In addition, each state enforces different regulations than others. For instance, some jurisdictions may limit the privileges to hunters based on age-limit restrictions. Adolescent and teenage hunters may have restrictions imposed on them in contrast to adults who may be permitted to hunt big game. Violation of these regulations will result in legal consequences, including fines and in some cases imprisonment.
Hunting licenses are generally non-transferable, and restricts residents of the state to hunting in designated areas. Each prospective hunter must enroll in a hunting safety course before they are allowed to legally hunt game. These classes ensure that all hunters are aware of what precautions and safety procedures should be taken while hunting. Big game hunters must tag each animal harvested. Tags are purchased along with a hunting license from each region. Tags are generally restricted to designated areas or a wildlife management unit. States that require mandated tags include: Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
- General Hunting Regulations
- § 408k. Hunting and Fishing; General Rules and Regulations
- Laws that Protect Florida's Wildlife
- General Information & Hunting Regulations
- Deer Hunting Regulations
- 2011-2012 Hunting Regulations
- Nevada Hunting Licenses & Laws
- Arkansas Hunting Regulations
- Article 1, Hunting Regulations, General (PDF)
Hunting Season Time Windows
Each state and jurisdiction imposes a time frame where hunting season opens and closes for small and big game. Only within this time frame can hunters pursue certain animals. Each state and jurisdiction will impose different restrictions on what animals can be trapped, captured, and killed. If a hunter breaches the imposed restrictions, they are subject to any number of punishments. Some provinces and territories will demand that the violator pay a fee, or suspend their privileges altogether for a specific period of time. If the infraction is serious enough, some violators may face imprisonment, especially if they target and kill an endangered species. There are usually warning signs posted within the designated area that will list the punishable offenses in advance. Failing to acknowledge these restrictions classifies the hunter as a poacher.
- New Hampshire Fish and Game: Hunting Dates and Seasons
- Upcoming Texas Hunting Season Dates by Animal
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Hunting & Trapping Seasons 2011 – 2012
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: 2011-2012 Florida Hunting Season Dates
- North Carolina: Hunting Regulations and Seasonal Information (PDF)
- 2011-12 Big Game, Turkey, and Furbearer Seasons Summary (PDF)
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: 2011 Elk Hunt Forecast
- Vermont Hunting Guides, Services and Information
- Treaty Big and Small Game Hunting Regulation Summary (PDF)
- National Conference of State Legistatures: Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Minimum Hunting Age Statutes
Hunting Safety Tips
Safety is of paramount concern while hunting. Most safety tips employ the use of common sense. However, more advanced strategies are learned in hunting safety courses. Some basic suggestions for safety include: avoiding over-the-hill shots, focusing on one target per shooter, resting the muzzle when crossing barriers, refraining from carrying firearms in vehicles, pointing the firearm in a safe direction, identifying the proper safety zones before firing, tracking and locating game, and preparing the field according to applicable laws. Using tree stands, wearing clothing which helps you stand out, never hunt alone, and frequently cleaning all firearms are just a few steps to take to make sure you stay safe while hunting. As with any situation, exercising sound judgment in a given situation will decrease the chances of anything going wrong.