What is the Wilderness Act and how does it affect my hunting privileges?

The Wilderness Act of 1964 gave the U.S. Congress the power to both designate and manage official wildernesses throughout the country. Areas that have been designated wildernesses are under the protection of the National Wilderness Preservation System, which manages the types and frequency of hunting that takes place on public wilderness areas. With this in mind, you should contact the local wildlife department in any designated wilderness area you plan to hunt in. This way you can make sure you are following all rules regarding hunting on those particular grounds.

Am I allowed to take my child with me on hunting trips?

Though each state has its own rules and regulations regarding children accompanying adults on hunting trips, the practice is generally allowed, provided the supervising adult is a licensed hunter. Many states even encourage taking children on hunting trips as apprentices to start teaching them safe hunting practices at an early age.

Do I have to get a recreational hunting license?

Yes, every state in the U.S. has some sort of licensing requirement for hunting on public grounds. License classes are typically distinguished by the age of the applicant, the applicant’s residency status, the length of validity of the hunting license and what type of animal the applicant plans on hunting.

At what age must I have a hunting license?

Age requirements for hunting vary by state. However, in general, states require children to be no younger than 12 years old to get a hunting license. Many states also offer apprentice hunter licenses for children to accompany licensed hunters in an observational capacity from the age of 10.

Do I need to take a hunter education course?

All states have a hunter education certificate requirement. Specifics of hunter education requirements vary by state but typically include six to eight hours of classroom instruction on topics ranging from firearm safety to wildlife conservation to proper hunting techniques. Once the course is completed, you will receive a hunter education certificate, which you can then use to obtain your hunting license.

Can I take the Hunter Education Course online?

Most states offer an alternative option for obtaining a hunter education certificate by allowing students to complete the required hunter education course online as opposed to in a classroom. Online hunter education options can be accessed for a fee that ranges from $10 to $20, depending on the location.

Is hunting a safe outdoor activity for hunters and nonhunters?

Though the statistics may be surprising, hunting is a relatively safe practice. For example, in Georgia where hunting is practiced by over 481,000 individuals each year, there is an average of only 66 hunting accidents per year, with an average of six fatalities in the same time period. U.S. National Safety Council data even states that the probability of an individual dying in a car accident is 20 times higher than that same individual dying in a hunting incident. As such, hunting ranks fairly low in regards to risk level when compared to many other outdoor activities (even golf).

I found a dead deer on the highway near my hunting site.  What do I do?

In the event that you find any dead or injured animals that you yourself have not hunted, you should immediately call your local game warden to inquire about the steps to take. Each state wildlife department has its own policies regarding handling dead animals.

Where are the best places to go hunting in the U.S.?

There are hundreds of prime locations throughout the country for hunters of all skill levels. To find the best hunting spots near you, research hunting areas online or contact your local Fish and Wildlife Service.

What are the rules for loaded hunting firearms?

All developed recreational areas in the country have rules prohibiting loaded rifles and shotguns in hunting camps. In other words, weapons must only be loaded when out on an actual hunt. Otherwise, you should make sure all your weapons (aside from properly licensed, concealed handguns) are unloaded.

Are there any restrictions on using game cameras?

Most areas in the U.S. allow game cameras and do not consider this to be illegal baiting. However, national forest and wildlife agencies do not take responsibility for lost or stolen game cameras.

How far off the lakeshore/road do I have to be to hunt?

Regulations regarding the legal hunting area limits vary by state. However, the standard requirement is that hunters be at least 150 yards away from all roads, boundaries and official trails. Likewise, you must also be at least 150 yards away from any lakeshores in the area.

Is there a policy on alcohol consumption during hunting trips?

While there are no set laws for consuming alcohol during a hunt, hunters should be mindful of other alcohol-related laws in the area (i.e. DUI, public intoxication, etc.).

Is there anything I should keep in mind when leaving my hunting site?

National forest and wildlife agencies urge all hunters to pick up all litter after a hunting trip. Dumping trash in the forest is a punishable offense and can damage local wildlife.

What are the policies on campfires during a hunting trip?

Before you leave your camp site, you should make sure all campfires have been put out completely and are cold to the touch. Likewise, once a campfire has been started, it should not be left unattended until it has been put out cold.

Am I required to wear an orange hunting jacket?

All hunters are required to wear a 400 square foot daylight fluorescent orange hunting jacket and daylight fluorescent head gear at all times during both day and night hunts. Some states may vary in the specifics of hunting jacket requirements. Contact your local fish and wildlife department for more information.

Where are the best areas to hunt small game in the U.S.?

According to many veterans of the industry, the best small game hunting takes place in the Southeast and Midwest portions of the country. Here, there is a large population of hunters who frequently catch small game such as squirrels, raccoons and rabbits. Additionally, there are many designated hunting reserves that local hunters can take advantage of.

Where are the best areas to hunt big game in the U.S.?

The best places to hunt big game in the country are generally thought to be in the Southwest, where you will frequently find populations of antelope, elk and deer. Though big game hunting tends to come at a larger price than small game, the rewards in the Southwest can be well worth the cost.

How much meat can I get from a big game catch?

The amount of meat you get from a big game catch depends on the size of the animal that you have caught. Typical adult deer have a weight between 150 and 250 pounds when alive. Once caught and processed, hunters can hope to get a rough maximum of 50 pounds of boned meat. Final meat amounts on antelope are slightly less at 30 to 35 pounds. In each situation, the final amount of meat varies widely based on the original size of the animal and where on the animal’s body the point of impact occurred.

What are National Conservation Areas and their hunting policies?

National Conservation Areas are land areas in the United States designated as protected by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Managed through the National Landscape Conservation System, National Conservation Areas are known for their many recreational, educational and cultural opportunities. Additionally, most National Conservation Areas allow both hunting and fishing on the grounds, though hunters must still follow both state and federal hunting laws. To hunt on National Conservation Areas, you must still be properly licensed with the state.