How Hunting Licenses Work

Types of Hunting Licenses

Depending on the specific state or are­a you'd like to hunt in, you'll need to check with the local Department of Conservation or Natural Resources to see which types of licenses are available. They should be able to help clarify or direct you to an appropriate contact.

While licenses depend greatly on the local species, here are some common license categories:

  • Small game -- pheasant, quail, dove, squirrel
  • Large game -- deer, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep
  • All game
  • Fishing -- depends on the area
  • Migratory or game birds -- depends on the area
  • Waterfowl -- ducks, geese, etc. [source: Nebraska Games and Parks Commission]

­Within those categories there are different types of licenses. Most states offer licenses to their residents for a discounted price and to nonresidents at full price. Veterans, senior citizens, childr­en and people with disabilities can often get discounted or free licenses as well.

It is crucial to check with your local license vendor about the specifics -- this information changes from state to state. Some states have only a few options that are easy to sort out, but then there are states such as Michigan, which has nearly 150 different hunting licenses [source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources].

So you've done your homework and figured out what license you need to buy. Click to the next page and you'll read about applying for that license.