Hunting is a managed activity. Land and animals are managed all over the world so that means that you’re going to need permission to hunt. In the USA, you’ll need to know about two different things, a tag and a license. Most of my experience and information is in Texas, so I’ll do my best to cover what I know for other places.
Parts of a hunting license package
A license is permission to engage in hunting activities.
A tag is a ticket to be used for one specific animal.
An endorsement is permission to hunt a certain way.
Education requirements may be necessary, such as completing a hunter safety course.
Most of the time, these items are combined, but not always. Almost everything can be taken care of when you buy your license. Tags not included are typically for large animals or exotic animals. Some endorsements might need an educational course.
Where to buy a hunting license
In Texas, licenses can be bought from most outdoor stores, outdoor sections in large retail stores, fishing shops, and some convenience stores in popular hunting areas. You normally only need a driver’s license and possibly a proof of completing a hunter safety education course.
The hunting license is issued by the Department of Fishing and Wildlife in your state. You can google “hunting license in <your state>” to find the governing body. This is important because they produce the regulations for all the animals that can be hunted and at what times of the year. Each county in the state will have different regulations on what animal and how many can be taken.
Tags for specific animals not included in the hunting license are normally issued separately and directly from the Dept. of Fishing and Wildlife. They either use a lottery system or a first come first serve system. These lotteries can be drawn several months before a season starts so you have to apply early.
Types of licenses
There are several different types of hunting licenses to choose from. They are broken down into length of time, age, and residence. Fishing licenses are the same way and can be combined with a hunting license.
Here are some example hunting licenses.
- A season hunting license
- A weekend hunting license – with an archery endorsement
- An out-of-state combination hunting and fishing license
You can normally pick up the hunting regulation booklet when you get your license.
Using a tag
After you have killed and retrieved your animal, a tag must physically be attached to it. This has to be present when you take the animal to a processor. A processor is a butcher shop for wild game. They will cut it into different cuts of meat and some have taxidermy services as well.