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Once someone decides to take up the adrenaline-fueled sport of hunting, he/she needs to become educated on the different types of hunting licenses and permits available. Each state’s Department of Natural Resources regulates this information, as state rules vary for residents and non-residents.

Below are some helpful tips to send hunters along their merry big game way.

Hunting Licenses – These are typically divided into several categories, including small game, large game, all game, fishing, migratory and/or game birds and waterfowl. Most states require a specific license for each type of hunting. Some states narrow hunting licenses into even more particular categories; for example Michigan has approximately 150 different licenses just related to hunting.

License Application – While many states are streamlining procedures and offer online applications via Internet sites, some states require in-person visits to the Department of Conservation or Natural Resources or that prospective hunters locate a license agent. All states require photo ID and/or a driver’s license when applying for a hunting license and some states require proof of satisfactory completion of a local hunter’s safety course.

Weapons – Many states restrict the use of certain weapons when hunting. Additionally, depending upon if someone uses a rifle, bow or muzzleloader, hunting seasons vary by date. Generally, bow-hunting season opens sooner, followed by rifle and then late-season muzzleloader.

Special Drawings – Many states offer special drawings. These include specific gender, points for big game and special hunting permits. For example, Washington State has special drawings, where hunters can submit their names for black bear, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, sheep and turkey. While Washington State offers a deer hunting season, special permits for deer include antlerless deer, buck deer, deer for seniors (age 65 and over), deer for disabled hunters, deer master hunters, deer youth, multi-season deer, quality deer and second deer.

Raffles – Many states offer this type of program, which allows hunters to enter for a reasonable price and be selected randomly by a computer. In Washington State, raffles include deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and multi-species.

Information – Each state-hunting program is operated by a local chapter of the Department of Natural Resources. This information can easily be located online via the Internet or in local telephone books under the government section.

Hunting programs are strictly regulated by area and hunters should consult with state guidelines and regulations to ensure the area they are hunting in is acceptable, within permitted boundaries and open during the season. If not, a permit is invalid and arrest and seizure of firearms is permissible by police, game wardens and park rangers.

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