No matter what type of hunting you prefer (or have access to) a non-transferable hunting permit (or license) will be required. Each state has different standards and paperwork required to obtain licenses, as well as hunting related education and safety courses that may be mandatory. Note that if you are hunting outside the state you live in, you will need to apply for a non-residential license.
Hunting licenses are available at county tax collectors’ offices, and through sub-agents, such as sporting good stores or retailers that sell hunting or fishing equipment. In some states licenses can be purchased on-line. Information about how to obtain hunting licenses and applications can be found through Fish and Game Department websites.
Revenues collected from hunting licensing and educational programs contribute to the sustainability and ensure harvestable surpluses of wildlife resources. Portions of collected fees are dedicated to specific wildlife programs and conservation efforts, such as improving waterfowl nesting, rearing habitat, conducting annual big game population surveys, and land acquisition. These conservation efforts are largely supported by the hunting industry and provide information and programs that protect our wildlife from both extinction and over population.
A hunting license should not be confused with a hunting tag, which is required for big game hunting and must be purchased in addition to a hunting license. Each harvested animal requires a tag. The number of tags issued in any given year by each state is limited by the number of hunters applying and the quotas set by each state’s wildlife commissioners and advisory boards. Application deadlines are different for each state and largely depend on season, as well; regulations for resident and non-resident licenses (and youth age 12-15) will vary from state to state.
Conservation goals for big game hunting, upland hunting, and waterfowl hunting, are shared by both hunting enthusiasts and state wildlife agencies. In most cases State agencies work hand in hand with hunters to protect eco-systems and animal populations so that the sport of hunting can continue for generations to come.
The Federal Duck Stamp Program
One exception to state controlled licensing is the Federal Duck Stamp Program. Deemed the Duck Stamp, it was originally created in 1934 as the federal license required for hunting migratory waterfowl. Over the years the proceeds from the program have funded the purchasing and/or leasing of seven hundred million dollars worth of wetland habitat. If you are a hunter over the age of 16 you must purchase the duck stamp each year if you want to hunt migratory waterfowl. A current Federal Duck Stamp also serves as entrance to any one of the National Wildlife Refugees where admission is charged.
Federal Duck Stamps can be purchased at your local post office, sporting good stores, or through retailers who specialize in fishing and hunting equipment. Note that although these beautifully artistic stamps look just like postal stamps they are not valid postage. If you’d like to learn more about the Federal Duck Stamp Program and its conservation efforts an excellent website to visit is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service & Federal Duck Stamp Program.