How does hunting in the US work?


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Andrew Leigh
November 19, 2012, 01:52 PM
Hi,

Not being and American native I am a litle confused as to how hunting in the States works. I am not talking about the subtle difference between states but rather the general gist of it.

I would appear as if you buy a "tag" and then get to collect your "tag" on pre-alotted government hunting concessions, that you chose.

What do the tags cost etc.

Here most deer hunting is done on private farms and you pay for what you shoot. If the guide says you wounded it you will pay full price for the unrecovered animal.

An Impala can cost you upards of $ 110, an average Kudu bull about $ 475. If you come across a real monster and fancy your chances you are in trophy territory and you WILL pay accordingly. Friend recently shot a 56" Kudu bull that cost him $ 2 600. How do trophies work on your side.

Look forward to learning more on how you boys do it.

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Robert
November 19, 2012, 02:18 PM
Here in Colorado a state resident can purchase a cow elk tag for under $50. Well, you apply for the draw in the game management area that you want to hunt. If it is a popular area you may not draw the tag you want. Think of it as a lottery.

You may hunt any public land like forest service and blm land that is within your unit. You may also hunt private land, of you have the land owner's permission.

A trophy bull does not cost any extra in so far as the license, tag, is concerned but you may pay more if you choose to use a guide service.

CoRoMo
November 19, 2012, 02:21 PM
You purchase a hunting license ("tag") and it is usually specific to a certain type of game animal and hunting area. It often has a 'bag limit' which limits you to the number of that animal that you can harvest. Some hunting licenses are quite difficult to acquire and are only allotted through a lottery drawing that hunters have to apply to.

There are however a great many subtle differences between states and between game animals.

Robert beat me to some of this, but I'll add something about residents/nonresidents. A resident of one state can hunt in other states, but this often comes at a premium cost (Nonresident license). For example, that bull elk tag that costs me less than $50US will cost a Texas resident around $580US. A Colorado moose license for me will cost $254 while someone out of state would pay $1,920.

22-rimfire
November 19, 2012, 02:29 PM
In the US, typically you buy a hunting license from the state (either resident or non-resident) and frequently there will be "tags" or licenses for additional "big game" hunting. The number of say deer you are allowed to take varies by state based on the state game and fish department (the name varies) research and herd management.

The trend in the US is for more private hunting through leases with land owners for the right to hunt there. Sometimes a day hunt can be purchased or hunting for the season, but the bottom line is you pay for the privalege to hunt. It saddens me to see hunting turning into a money game with all the exclusivity involved with that. But you can often still get permission to hunt from a private land owner for free. It just depends on who you know.

Many clubs in the US mange their own herds inside private lands that they own or lease. They develop food crops and so forth for deer as well as manage access through locked gates and so forth. They do spend money and hence they charge for membership.

The same applies to private leases but done on an individual basis. A private land owner may allow say 5 hunters and the "lease" specifies this.

I believe this all started in Texas where there are sizable ranches and deer herds are managed as a cash crop. You generally do not get any kind of guarantee on success, but there are guide services with guarantees as well. These hunts can be expensive and you often pay for the opportunity to take a deer in a particular antler size range or age. It generally is not just ... shoot a deer.

After a hunt, many states require that you check in the deer at a check station so that sometimes measurements can be taken relative to age, number of points, an so forth. It varies state to state.

Hope this helps.

Chawbaccer
November 19, 2012, 02:34 PM
Go to each state's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and you will find the rules and regulations on line. Except for migratory fowl and certain protected species there isn't much federal regulation on hunting. Most hunting is casual unguided endeavor. Many own their own land, the prey is owned by the state and the owner doesn't have to buy any license to hunt his own property. There is also state and federal lands and forrests open to hunting, you need a state license to hunt and maybe a federal permit. This is pretty much a quick guide, I am sure others will expand on it.

CoRoMo
November 19, 2012, 02:40 PM
Hunting seasons...

Most game animals can only be hunted during a specific time frame. Some hunting seasons -for specific animals- will last four or five days while other animals can be hunted for several months during their 'season'.

My father has often told me of his earlier days when he would go to New Mexico to hunt deer. He'd just drive to that state and stop in at a grocery store or hardware store and buy a hunting license and it cost him no more than it would cost any resident of that state; probably less than $20. He could then hunt for and take a deer anywhere in that state and the season was quite long.

Things have changed drastically since then.

Art Eatman
November 19, 2012, 03:20 PM
US hunting laws, regulations and methods vary enough among the 50 states that you might as well figure 50 different countries.

New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho have more public lands than privately-owned lands. Not as much leasing of private lands such as is the most common style in Texas.

Hunting for whitetail deer is the primary effort, nationwide. Some states limit to only a very few; some are around a one-a-day population.

In-state residence licenses are relatively inexpensive; commonly under $100. Non-resident licenses can be well above $300.

jmr40
November 19, 2012, 04:30 PM
Every state is quite a bit different. As a resident of Georgia I can buy a general small game license. To hunt big game, which means whitetail deer, black bear and turkey requires a big game license at additional expense. Hunting with a bow or muzzle loader, requires another stamp. I can hunt on any private property or National Forest land with those. Hunting waterfowl requires both a Federal and State duck stamp. Fishing is another license. To trout fish is an additional expense. The state also runs many Wildlife Management areas. To hunt on those requires another WMA stamp on your license.

It sounds expensive, but as a resident I can buy everything for around $70/year. About 7-8 years ago they brought out a Lifetime License for $500. I bought one of the first and have not paid for anything except the Federal waterfowl stamp since 2005.

If a non-resident comes to GA the cost is far more expensive.

Many states have much shorter seasons and smaller bag limits, but the license is really a bargain here. Small game season runs from Aug.15 through mid March. Deer Archery season is from mid Sept. to mid October. Rifle season is mid October to mid January. Waterfowl seson is late November through the end of January. Turkey season is mid March to mid May. There is an open season on something every month of the year except June and July. Even then feral hogs, coyote and other varmits are not regulated and can be shot year round.

We have a 10 doe, 2 buck deer limit and any game killed on a WMA does not count toward your limit. It is conceivably legal to kill 2 dozen deer here if you hunt the WMA's pretty hard and also hunt private property. If you don't have access to private property we have lots of public land to hunt on. You may not be as successful, but there is plenty land for hunters.

For me to hunt out of state is much more expensive. Going to Colorado will set me back over $300 for a deer tag or over $500 for elk. The season is usually only 8-10 days and I'm limited to a relatively small portion of the state. My GA license is good anywhere in the state for the entire season.

Arkansas Paul
November 19, 2012, 04:59 PM
I am not talking about the subtle difference between states but rather the general gist of it.


Well, that's really how we have to explain it, state by state. They are drastically different at times.

Here in Arkansas, you buy a license for $10.50 and that gets you one deer, modern gun only.
You can pay $25.00 and you get six deer tags, and you can use archery, muzzleloader or modern gun. You can take no more than two legal bucks (3 points on one side) or you can harvest six does.
Now if you want to elk hunt here, it's an entirely different matter. You put your name in a drawing for a tag and they only give out like, 20 or so a year. I don't think they cost anything though.

Some states you have to buy your tags, but I'm not that familiar with them.

ScrapMetalSlug
November 19, 2012, 05:35 PM
Some states require you to have a hunter safety class, which is normally free. License prices vary by state. Say in Ohio you get a small game license for about $20, and then buy an either sex deer tag for large game for another $20. You can buy additional doe tags for $15. Trapping costs another $5 and fishing would be $20. The licenses are good for a year, and you buy licenses for what you want to do. Certain game can only be taken during the specified seasons for that species of game.
If you own land to hunt on, that is all you need to pay. Harvested big game needs to be checked in at a checkstation or over the phone. Tags must be attached to harvested animals you are moving. If you need a place to hunt, there is some public land and a lot of private land. If you have the owners permission, you can hunt on private land. Public land is usually free to hunt on, but at times can be over hunted with a lot of hunting pressure, so normally private land has a lot higher animal populations.

Patocazador
November 19, 2012, 08:23 PM
Andrew,

I hunted South Africa and Namibia back in the early 80s. I imagine the rules have changed since then but the biggest difference between RSA and USA is there are few, if any, trophy fees levied on game killed here. You pay for a license and tags up front and if you score you don't pay any extra fee. There is not near as much game available as far as variety goes but we can hunt a lot of public land (except National Parks) for little, if any, extra fee.

zoom6zoom
November 19, 2012, 08:53 PM
In many states, you can't hunt on Sunday.

jmr40
November 19, 2012, 08:56 PM
Some states require you to have a hunter safety class, which is normally free.

I'd say most, if not all states require it, at least for most hunters. Here in GA anyone born in 1961 or later must have the class. Since I was born in 1958, I'm not required to have the class here. But in many other states the requirement is different. Since I do hunt in other states where the cutoff is much earlier I have taken the class so I'm legal everywhere.

jrdolall
November 19, 2012, 09:13 PM
The differences between the states is anything but subtle. They are often drastically different from county to county and neighboring states can be vastly different. I live in Alabama where most land is privately owned and you need landowner permission to hunt. Our archery season starts on Oct. 15th and the rifle season ends on January 31st so we have about 108 days of whitetail season. The "limit" is two deer per day so you can "legally" harvest 216 deer every year. An in-state license is $22 which comes to $.10 per legal deer. Out of state licenses are considerably higher but we have a lot of hunters that come in because of the density of the deer population.
Georgia is about 3 miles from where I hunt and their seasons/baglimits are completely different.

Andrew Leigh
November 19, 2012, 11:32 PM
OK so I was a little niave in the fact that I thought hunting regulations state to state would be similar.

I suppose the general over riding fact is that hunting in the US is cheap, even if you go to another state.

So when you get to your hunting area you are free to hunt alone without any form of guide?

What happens when you wound an animal and cannot find it, do you surrender your tag or shoot another?

In terms of "deer" available to shoot. You would have the Whitetail and Coue's Deer and the Mule and Columbian Black Tail Deer. Are the two subspecies common to shoot or are they difficult to find?

Then you would get the Pronghorn, Elk, Moose.

Which of the species is best tasting?

Which is the hardest to hunt?

R.W.Dale
November 19, 2012, 11:40 PM
The tagging and checking of game by in large is an honor system that's absolutely up to the hunter to comply with. No guides required.

Here in Arkansas we can check game in via phone or the internet (there's even an app) and unless stopped at a random checkpoint a ranger may never set eyes on the kill.

There's been a push where many states are amending their constitutions to turn hunting and fishing privelages into a Right wich may help you grasp the difference in culture involved.




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NWwoodsman
November 19, 2012, 11:58 PM
OK so I was a little niave in the fact that I thought hunting regulations state to state would be similar.

I suppose the general over riding fact is that hunting in the US is cheap, even if you go to another state.

So when you get to your hunting area you are free to hunt alone without any form of guide?

What happens when you wound an animal and cannot find it, do you surrender your tag or shoot another?

In terms of "deer" available to shoot. You would have the Whitetail and Coue's Deer and the Mule and Columbian Black Tail Deer. Are the two subspecies common to shoot or are they difficult to find?

Then you would get the Pronghorn, Elk, Moose.

Which of the species is best tasting?

Which is the hardest to hunt?
Blacktail in this part of the country are, in imho,about the biggest pain in the a$$ to hunt. They like the thickest worst brush to hide in and like to hide 23 out of 24 hours of the day. Chasing elk up and down hills through timber will either make you or break you but is about the best tasting meat on the planet.

elkdomBC
November 20, 2012, 01:05 AM
here in BC big game hunting for residents is fairly inexpensive(licenses)
1, Resident hunting license ($32)1 year(allows hunting of small game ;IE coyote wolf,rabbit,varmints,upland birds
2, deer tag $15. , up to (15)a combination of deer species, Whitetail, Muley and Columbia black tail
3, Black bear tag $20, 2 Black bears per year
4, Elk(Wapiti) $25 tag, 1 elk per year
5, Moose $25 tag, 1 moose per year
6,Caribou $20 tag, 1 caribou per year
7,Mountain Goat tag $40, 1 per year
8,Mountain Sheep tag $60 , 1 ( 3 species, only 1 tag usable per year, your choice)
9,Cougar(Mountain Lion) tag $30, 1 per year
10, Grizzly Bear tag $80, 1 per year by lottery draw
11, Bison (Wood Buffalo) tag $70, 1 per year by lottery draw

a Hunting guide is not required for any resident hunter, but if one chooses to spend hi$ money ?, it is his choice,

Tag/Licenses price for NON-Resident is higher and also require a licensed
Guide during the hunt

RhinoDefense
November 20, 2012, 01:21 AM
OK so I was a little niave in the fact that I thought hunting regulations state to state would be similar.
They are similar in principle to the fact that you must buy a license or kill tag for the specific species you intend to kill, but in general small game like fur bearers, squirrel, rabbits, etc is just a general small game license with bag limits on the amount you can kill per day.

I suppose the general over riding fact is that hunting in the US is cheap, even if you go to another state.
It's pretty cheap. Here in Michigan, I buy a small game, fur bearer (also allows trapping), archery deer and firearm deer license. Small game is for food, fur is for money, and deer is for food. The deer license is one deer per season here, so if I buy one for each season I can kill two deer in that season with that weapon (bow & arrow or rifle). The above licenses for a Michigan resident are $15 each, so $60 covers my annual hunting license expenses.

So when you get to your hunting area you are free to hunt alone without any form of guide?
Yes. Using a guide is either for a "special" hunt like elk if you draw a lottery tag in the state or if you're an out of state hunter and have a limited time to hunt, say 3 days. Me personally, my inlaws' farm is where I hunt and it's 140 acres for 3-5 hunters that are family.

What happens when you wound an animal and cannot find it, do you surrender your tag or shoot another?
State specific. In Michigan, let the coyotes eat it if it dies and go hunt another one. Some states like Alaska consider your tag filled the moment a bullet or arrow strikes the animal, whether you wound it or kill it.

In terms of "deer" available to shoot. You would have the Whitetail and Coue's Deer and the Mule and Columbian Black Tail Deer. Are the two subspecies common to shoot or are they difficult to find?
Deer have their own areas. The most abundant and popular is the whitetail deer. Out west toward the Rocky Mountains there are mule deer and southwest there are Coues deer. Blacktails are a Pacific coast thing.

We have elk in Michigan but it's a very small population. We also have moose in the Upper Peninsula but they're a non-game animal and it's illegal to hunt moose.

WayBeau
November 20, 2012, 08:52 AM
$46 allows me to shoot 6 deer, 1 bear, and 3 turkeys (2 in the fall and one in the Spring, or 3 in the spring).

jmr40
November 20, 2012, 10:52 AM
So when you get to your hunting area you are free to hunt alone without any form of guide?



For the most part this is true. But in a few states they require a guide for out or state hunters who are hunting certain game. In some Western states I think they require it for game such as sheep, mt. goats and I think Alaska requires non-residents hire a guide for coastal grizzly.

Common animals such as elk, deer, black bear are no problem. But less common animals require a drawing. Some states may only draw 15-20 hunters/ year for bighorn sheep or mt. goats. It can be hard to get a moose tag in some places.

MCgunner
November 20, 2012, 11:19 AM
Well, I get in my truck, drive to my place, sit on my stand, and hope I see somethin'. Pretty much it. :D I prefer ducks. We have GOOD public lands for ducks and, lesser extent, geese. But, I hunt deer and hogs mainly to fill the freezer.

Art is spot on, every state might as well be considered a country as it has sold control over the legalities. Texas has mosly private land hunting requiring payment for the privileged. Yes, it's not a right, it's a privileged. You don't need to year round lease, you can day lease or book a hunted of whatever length. You'll pay out the nose here for a "book deer", minimum and then a price by the inch over that. It can run five grand just for the kill fee on a managed (not necessarily high fenced) ranch.

I'm po folk, so I just shoot for the freezer. Can't eat the horns.

I haven't hunted in New Mexico for 20 years, the out of state license has gone up. But, most of the hunting THERE is for Rocky Mountain mule deer or the slightly smaller desert variety. They don't have a lot of whitetail there. The hunting is either high country public land (federal national forests) or low country deserts (Bureau of Land Management (federal aka BLM) properties). I had the SE mountains, Lincoln National Forest, Guadeloupe mountains pretty well scoped out 20 years ago, know where I'd go if I were young enough and in good shape enough to go back, but it's hard hunting much of that country, lots of up and down. I doubt I'll ever get back up there at this point. It was lotsa fun, though, spot and stalk the high country. I'd recommend a guide to ANYone that doesn't live within a day's drive that can't spend some time up there scouting. It'll greatly improve your chances.

Andrew Leigh
November 20, 2012, 11:36 AM
$46 allows me to shoot 6 deer, 1 bear, and 3 turkeys (2 in the fall and one in the Spring, or 3 in the spring).
That is mind boggling.

Where I live you can buy venison cheaper than you can hunt it. Looks like you boys have access to some real cheap venision ........... that is if you can find the buggers.

AJMBLAZER
November 20, 2012, 11:58 AM
In many places they're easy to find.

Usually on or near roads milling about looking slightly spooked.

Patocazador
November 20, 2012, 12:02 PM
Unless it's farm-raised, game meat (venison, elk, etc.) is illegal to sell here. Trying to do so will land you in jail or a potentially huge fine.

If your hunting was like most eastern states here, you would be limited to hunting the equivalent of warthog (absolutely delicious) and impala or bushbuck. You would have to travel 1000+ miles to hunt the equivalent of a kudu or gemsbok and eland would be a once in a lifetime situation. Forget about hunting anything equivalent to a lion, rhino, or hippo.

JERRY
November 20, 2012, 12:08 PM
In many states, you can't hunt on Sunday.


oddly enough, in the rust belt (Ohio) where Im from you couldnt hunt on Sunday, but in the bible belt (Alabama) where I am now you can....go figure. i lived in Va for a while but cant remember if i hunted on Sunday or not.....

oneounceload
November 20, 2012, 12:19 PM
Which of the species is best tasting?

Which is the hardest to hunt?

IMO, moose is the tastiest, pronghorn in 2nd - but a lot depends on where they have been feeding - and the mountain goat and various sheep are the toughest to hunt - very physically challenging climbing up the shale slopes in places like NV to high elevations

RhinoDefense
November 20, 2012, 04:13 PM
Unless it's farm-raised, game meat (venison, elk, etc.) is illegal to sell here. Trying to do so will land you in jail or a potentially huge fine.
Market hunting in the US ended around 1900 due to the need to conserve animals and not lead them to extinction.

Cosmoline
November 20, 2012, 08:00 PM
Not only are state laws very different, but state TRADITIONS are very different. These are sometimes reflected in the laws, and sometimes not. So while a guide isn't always required, it's often a very good idea to team up with locals so you don't break the unspoken rules and customs. This is esp. important if you're crossing through private property or hunting on someone's private land. And there are a lot of obscure rules about what constitutes waste or a fair shot.

The complexity of the laws vary. Alaska has hunting regs so extensive they cover 26 game management units, some bigger than whole states. Each GMU has its own seasons and bag limits. Sometimes each river drainage within the GMU has its own rules. The state makes things easy when they want a species culled (like black bear) and difficult when there's a lot of demand for a favorite (like moose). If you study the rules beforehand and time the trip right, you can really clean up. Same thing for fishing. Go to Alaska and hunt BLACK bear and you're going to be looking at very high success rates and lots of bears with few headaches. Or come up and fish for our stocked trout or other "B list" species. I've found small game hunting up here to be a load of fun and the bag limits are just absurd. Nobody else is bothering in most cases because they're fixated on moose and caribou. What they don't tell you about moose is the dead ones weigh a ton and will invariably fall into the worst bug-infested devils club thicket they can.

And then you have overlaying FEDERAL law for things like migratory birds (some of which are not and have never been migratory), marine mammals (some of which are on land) and various protected species.

Federal land plays a huge role out west. Generally the National Park Service openly hates hunters and does not allow hunting, while the Forest Service, wildlife service and BLM are usually much more open to hunting and in some cases encourage it.

dragon813gt
November 20, 2012, 08:34 PM
The trend in the US is for more private hunting through leases with land owners for the right to hunt there. Sometimes a day hunt can be purchased or hunting for the season, but the bottom line is you pay for the privalege to hunt.

This is not the case at all where I live. And I suspect it's the same way in most states. I know in Texas you pretty much have to pay to hunt. But it's still extremely easy to get permission to hunt private land in PA. This does depend on where you live and who you know. But the herds of white tail do so much damage that the land owners want you to get rid of them for them. And out west there is a lot of public BLM land that's open for all to hunt.

One thing that I didn't see mentioned yet is firearms restrictions. This varies by state and game being hunted. It even varies by county in PA. Like all the other regulations you have to check them for where you're hunting. Semi-auto rifles and handguns are not allowed for hunting in PA. But semi-auto shotguns are allowed for some species. Then there is ammo capacity limits.

It's easy and fairly cheap to hunt in the US. But the regulations and seasons vary greatly from state to state. I have to read the digest every year just so I know when I can hunt in the WMUs that I frequent. Some have different seasons.




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Andrew Leigh
November 20, 2012, 11:57 PM
The ballot system is a very novel way to limit numbers.

Over here a game farmer would control his own stock through natural breeding while being mindful to purchase new stock especially males to bring genetic variation to his herds. As we are blessed with an abundance of species many farmers will also have the same variety on their farms, depending on the area.

You can go upmarket and go to hunting farms with all the bells and whistles but most I know prefer the farms having more spartan and rustic accomodation which are self catering. I suppose you guys are not different but hunters here love to cook, especially cuts from a recent kill like the liver or the backstraps.

In terms of the "local customs etc" we too have our own hunting ethics, not to enter any debate on the validity (that is a different thread which can get the hackles up on most) here are some. They are all aimed at making a hunt into a "fair chase";

- We would not shoot an animal when at an man made feedlot or over water.
- We could shoot off the back of a vehicle, that would be culling not hunting and is frowned upon by hunters.
- Hunting at night for most would be taboo.
- The use of suppressors while frowned upon by some, find favour with other farmers as they tend to make the game less skittish towards the end on the season.
- Generally the smallest calibre for small deer is a .243, many a farmer will not let you hunt with anything less.
- A farmer will also generally insist that you "sight" your rifle in on arrival, this has more to do with the fact that they want to see if you can shoot. If you can't you may be refused permission to hunt.
- We have for the most part strict rules on the readiness of the rifle for shooting. When on a vehicle you will generally not have a round up the spout. On two occasions have had farmers ask to see my weapon under the guise of pretending to like it. They will then open the bolt slightly and peer inside the chamber, it is all very subtle.
- You wound it you pay for it, the guides word is gospel.
- You take out of the bush whatever you took in leaving only foorprints.

Just a couple of our quirks. We have many hunting fraternities and each have their own code of ethics which are basically the same. They will generally follow the Rowland Ward code.

On the hard to hunt, talking only popular species now - the Kudu is called the grey ghost and for good reason, the Bushbuck can be very illusive as can big Warthog.

On the good to eat - many here hunt only to make jerky and a dried venison sausage which is also a form of jerky. For me the Eland tastes the best as it seems to have a compromise between beef and venision, that very wild venision taste is absent. Most will say that a Springbuck is the best eating.

Patocazador
November 21, 2012, 03:07 PM
We didn't eat eland when I was there but I thought that both warthog and gemsbuck were better than springbuck or kudu.

As it was told to me by our Namibian guide, the farmers/ranchers in southern Africa spent decades trying to exterminate the game animals on their land so the livestock (mostly cattle) would have more grazing. The government finally threw up their hands and turned the ownership of game over to the landowners. This changed their outlook as it changed the game animals into "livestock". The farmers then purchased and farmed game animals and the resource was saved.
I imagine that this happened in the 1970s as it was rather new when I was there in 1982.

Kevin Rohrer
November 21, 2012, 07:13 PM
Here in Ohio, most game animals and birds have definite open and closed hunting seasons, daily bag limits, and require a low-priced, good-for-everything license. However, no license is needed if you are hunting on your own property. There are weapons restrictions depending on the animal (e.g. no rifles for deer due to the state being somewhat built-up).

There is no closed season or bag limits on wild pigs, coyotes, and ground hogs.

Daveboone
November 22, 2012, 07:23 AM
Generally a hunter safety course (or proof of equivalent from another country, like a license) mandatory everywhere. In NY, a state wide big game license entitles you to one antlered whitetail, and one bear. The state (like most others) is broken into separate management zones, allowing the taking of doe deer. Muzzleloading rifles and archery tags are available for a separate fee, each allowing another deer of either sex. License holding does not entitle one to free access though. Generally land owner permission is obtained (smart to do even if the land isnt posted private property). There are millions of acres of publicly accessible land in NY, most of which is huntable by individuals. Many hunters belong to private clubs with their own or leased lands. These also must follow state game laws. There is a very limited number of pay to shoot game farms. These are not to be confused with the type of hunting you can do in africa. These are very limited in size (sometimes only a few acres!) where one can go without a license or irregardless of season...because the animals are raised and privately owned) to shoot an animal. Most true hunters have a low opinion of such enterprises.

Elkins45
November 22, 2012, 07:52 AM
Here in Kentucky hunting is a relatively inexpensive pursuit, especially if you own land. I became a landowner three years ago and as a result I no longer need to purchase a hunting license because I now hunt only on my own land. The only additional tag or permit I might need is one for some species that is federally regulated such as geese or ducks. I still have to buy a fishing license and the state makes me buy a hunting license if I want to participate in the elk tag lottery.

I still have to follow all the state regulations about bag limits, and in the case of deer I still have to report my kills to the state using their telephone check system. I'm exempt from the requirement that I have a hunter safety certification card because I was born before 1975, but I understand that I would need to take the hunter safety course if I ever wanted to hunt in another state.

Prior to 2010 when I hunted on private land owned by a friend I was required to buy a hunting license and also a deer permit that was good for two deer. The two were about $50 combined. Because I'm fortunate enough to live in an area with a large population surplus there was the option of buying an additional set of deer tags to take two additional females only, and those tags were only $10 for the pair.

MachIVshooter
November 22, 2012, 02:54 PM
So when you get to your hunting area you are free to hunt alone without any form of guide?

On any public lands, yes. However, there are plenty of outfitters for people who lack the experience to hunt on their own, who have finite time and want an animal badly, or are after true trophies.

Of course, a lot of the guides could take you directly to the animals, but may have you hiking around for a couple of days first so that you actually experience the hunt. Make it too easy, and it isn't memorable. Being a guide isn't just about getting your client their animal.

What happens when you wound an animal and cannot find it, do you surrender your tag or shoot another?

You make every reasonable effort to find it.

If you can't find any blood, you kinda have to assume a miss.

If you track for hours and the blood trail stops with no animal to be found, assume a flesh wound. The animal will probably survive.

If you're confident you scored a good hit, you track until you determine it's hopeless.

Basically, it's an ethics thing in most places. There is no hard and fast rule about how long or how far you must track a wounded animal, but if a DWM/game warden sees you shoot something and not pursue it, he certainly can take action.

you can buy venison cheaper than you can hunt it. Looks like you boys have access to some real cheap venision

For many of us, the license is the cheap part. Supplies, food, fuel and time off work get expensive quick. Then there's game processing costs once you get the animal.

I make about $300 net per working day, but I'm self employed (no vacation time). So a 5 day hunting trip that includes two weekend (non-working) days costs me close to $1,000 in lost wages. Figure about $100 worth of food stuffs, another $100-$150 in fuel for semi-local hunting. I seem to spend a bit every season on new or replacement gear.

So if I don't get an animal, the trip wil usually cost me about $1,500. If I do get one, the processing fees are usually about $2/lb. So if I bag a cow elk that yeilds 150 lbs of meat, I'll have paid about $12/lb for that animal.

I had a friend trying to work out how much money he could save hunting versus buying beef. He quickly realized that it is not about saving money in most places. Generally speaking, hunting is anything but cheap, whether in Africa or the USA.

jrdolall
November 22, 2012, 07:53 PM
I suppose the general over riding fact is that hunting in the US is cheap, even if you go to another state.

Hunting is most definitely NOT cheap unless you hunt on public land that is near where you live. Licenses are relatively cheap but the expenses add up after you buy the license. I do most of my hunting on land that I own or a friend owns so I don't have any lease payments. Of course the purchase price of the ranch FAR exceeds any lease payments I might make to another owner but I don't use the land just for hunting. Around here an acre of land can lease for $8-$20 per acre so most people wind up in clubs with multiple members that they don't really know well. Strangers equipped with 4 wheelers, 4x4s and high powered rifles are not my favorite things. Most of the people I know who are members of hunting clubs will pay between $800-$2,000 per year in dues PLUS any camp/land upkeep like food plots and firewood etc. For this money and about 100 hours of work they usually kill 3-5 deer per year.

If you own land or hunt on land where you do not have to pay then hunting is definitely fairly cheap. Otherwise it is pretty expensive for most of us. My wife once figured that my venison cost me about $265 per pound.

helotaxi
November 23, 2012, 10:53 AM
OK so I was a little niave in the fact that I thought hunting regulations state to state would be similar.

I suppose the general over riding fact is that hunting in the US is cheap, even if you go to another state.Cost is relative. Some states only charge for the hunting license, such as Alabama, but they charge a great deal more for an out-of-stater. My dad lives in North Florida and hunts in Alabama because he has a place to hunt there on private land with a lot of quality deer, so for him, the extra cost is worth it. Your license buys the opportunity of two deer per day with no tags required as well as hunting whatever else is legal.

Out West, things change a bit. I'll talk specifics for New Mexico. First you have to buy your license. That is the entry fee to apply for the lottery. From there you apply for everything that you want to hunt, paying the tag fee (refundable if you do not draw) and an additional application fee. The state is divided up into numerous Game Management Units. For each species, there are specific hunt dates and numbers of tags available in each GMU where hunting that species is allowed. You can apply for up to 3 hunts per species specifying the GMU and hunt dates for each hunt. For deer and elk there are "fourth choice" applications as well where you don't specify anything more than the species and quadrant of the state and you can get any "leftovers" after the regular draws are done.

The types of hunts available are pretty varied and some have very specific application requirements. There are youth only hunts where the hunter must be younger than 16. There are muzzleloader and archery specific hunts where you may only hunt with the prescribed weapon type. There are mobility impaired hunts for those with disabilities. There are restricted area and veterans hunts where you have to be a member of the US military, a government employee with an access badge for the restricted area out here or a veteran of the Iraq or Afghan wars to apply.

Species that can be hunted in New Mexico are also widely varied and include wild populations of some African species. We have elk and deer (whitetail and mule deer, both desert and Rocky Mountain), pronghorn antelope, Barbary sheep and javelina that you can apply for and potentially draw a tag for every year. In addition, there are once-in-a-lifetime trophy hunts for several species like oryx, ibex, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and desert bighorn sheep. You can apply every year for these until you draw. Once you draw, whether you actually are successful in your hunt or not, you can not apply again for the rest of your life. In the case of oryx, there are also broken horn, and "at large" hunts which are not once in a lifetime but aren't going to yield a trophy mount but they will put some excellent meat in the freezer.

So when you get to your hunting area you are free to hunt alone without any form of guide?Most hunts are public land, on your own. You can increase your chances of drawing a particular species by signing on with an outfitter (guide) ahead of time and including that contract with your tag application. A certain number of tags for each hunt are reserved for guided hunts in order to support their business.

What happens when you wound an animal and cannot find it, do you surrender your tag or shoot another?Unfortunately, you may shoot another.

In terms of "deer" available to shoot. You would have the Whitetail and Coue's Deer and the Mule and Columbian Black Tail Deer. Are the two subspecies common to shoot or are they difficult to find? It varies widely depending on area of the country. In Alabama, for example, the state is overrun with whitetails to the point that you can shoot two a day. In the GMU here in New Mexico where I shot my mule deer this year, they issued a total of 2400 tags for the two rifle seasons this year. Of all my friends that drew a tag, I was the only one that even saw a deer. Success rates for that particular GMU for deer is the lowest in the state and there has been a serious push from the locals here to get the state to limit, or even eliminate, deer tags for a few years and increase the cougar harvests to help the deer population recover. I lived in Montana for a few years and large mule deer were plentiful in some parts of the state and large whitetail in others.

Then you would get the Pronghorn, Elk, Moose.

Which of the species is best tasting?

Which is the hardest to hunt?Taste? Elk. The buffalo hunters in the 1800's hunted the plains elks species to extinction because they tasted so much better than anything else available. Elk is probably the best tasting meat I have ever eaten, but I've yet to try oryx.

Hardest to hunt? Have to be some of the high mountain exotic/rare species of sheep or goat. Of those you listed, though, trophy elk and moose can be very physically taxing, depending on the region. There are several regions here in New Mexico and one I know of in particular in Montana where there is no vehicular access for dozens of miles in any direction to the hunt areas for elk. Because of the remoteness of the region, the hunter density is low, the trophy elk density is high and the hunts are very demanding of the hunter. You have to either walk or travel by horse or pack mule into the hunting area, hunt and then pack out whatever you kill. The terrain is very steep and the forestation can be very thick as well. The weather may or may not cooperate. In that wilderness area of Montana, grizzly bears are drawn to the sound of rifle shots and have mauled several elk hunters who were dressing out their trophies in the last few years.

Now that is all public land hunting in the West. The private land rules are a bit different here in New Mexico. If you have land owner permission, you can forgo the tag lottery and simply buy a tag for deer, elk or pronghorn "over the counter" for a 5-day period and go hunt. Many outfitters will lease hunting rights on cattle ranches and charge clients to use that access. The fee usually gets you a guide who knows the land and the habits of the animals that live there. They can charge pretty much whatever someone is willing to pay and some charge additional fees for trophy grade animals. The law here is that you can only get one tag for any species in a given year, so if you drew a public land hunt, you can't buy a private land tag and vice versa.

There is one other special hunt in the state, and that is the Valles Caldera Wildlife Management area. Valles Caldera is an extinct volcano crater just west of Santa Fe and is one of the primary breeding grounds for Rocky Mountain elk. The area is a public land trust and is managed by a board of trustees. To raise funds, every year they essentially raffle off all the elk hunting tags in the WMA. Each person can buy up to 20 tickets for the hunts and divide their tickets between the various hunts as they see fit. The specific hunts are drawn such that each hunter is assigned a parcel of several thousand acres of the WMA that they have either sole hunting rights on or share with 1-2 other hunters for the 5-day hunt. Many huge trophy elk are taken out of there every year and the success rate is nearly 100%. It is a remote region and it is a physically demanding hunt, but because of the odds and the very high chance of shooting a massive trophy, I'll probably buy in every year until I'm just too old to hunt. Figure I've got at least 25 more years in me.

Andrew Leigh
November 23, 2012, 11:49 AM
Thanks for all the contributions, this has been both most informative and most interesting.

Thanks guys.

splattergun
November 23, 2012, 01:17 PM
Native wild game animals are the property of We the People. In some states, where game farms are allowed to raise native and non-native species as a cash crop, hunting seasons and licenses may not be required. Hunting on public property, seasons are always set by regulation, there are no trophy fees, only the cost of hunting license and/or tag. State residents always pay a more reasonable price for licensing than non-residednts. Gaining permission to hunt on private land often requires payment of a trespass fee, or even an exclusive hunting lease.

There are some commercial game farms where you pay to play. Trophy fees can run into thousands of dollars. Guided hunts can occur on private or public land. Private land hunts are often the most expensive, but usually have the highest success rates.

helotaxi
November 23, 2012, 06:36 PM
I forgot to add that bighorn sheep tags are limited to a dozen total for all hunts and regions for Rocky Mountain bighorn and 16 for desert bighorn and the tags are once in a lifetime. The state has two special tags each year, one auctioned and one raffled. The auctioned tag sold for north of $100,000 this year.

Tag fees range from $42 for deer to $161 for bighorn and oryx for state residents. Out of state tags run from $290 for deer to $555-780 for elk to $1630 for oryx and ibex to $3180 for bighorn. So like I said, cheap is relative.

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