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How does hunting in the US work?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Andrew Leigh, Nov 19, 2012.

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  1. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    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.
     
  2. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  3. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  4. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    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.
     
  5. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Member

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    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.
     
  6. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    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.
     
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    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.
     
  9. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    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.
     
  10. ScrapMetalSlug

    ScrapMetalSlug Member

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    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.
     
  11. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    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.
     
  12. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    In many states, you can't hunt on Sunday.
     
  13. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    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.
     
  14. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    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.
     
  15. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    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?
     
  16. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    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.




    posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complaints about
     
  17. NWwoodsman

    NWwoodsman Member

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    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.
     
  18. elkdomBC

    elkdomBC Member

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    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
     
  19. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
     
  20. WayBeau

    WayBeau Member

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    $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).
     
  21. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    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.
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  23. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    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.
     
  24. AJMBLAZER

    AJMBLAZER Member

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    In many places they're easy to find.

    Usually on or near roads milling about looking slightly spooked.
     
  25. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    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.
     
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