Hunting Licenses

Hunting licenses are required by all hunters regardless of the game they are hunting. Most states issue general hunting licenses that last a full calendar year. Hunters are then required to obtain permits for the specific game they wish to hunt.

Acquiring hunting licenses varies by state, so we?ll take a snapshot look at how to get a hunting license in states where hunting is a time-honored tradition.

How to Get a South Dakota Hunting License

South Dakota hunting licenses are non-refundable and non-transferable after purchase, which is not unusual for a state”s Department of Natural Resources. Licenses are available for purchase in-person in some South Dakota retail stores, as well as several government offices. Online licenses are also available through South Dakota”s governmental Web sites.

Resident licenses are available to residents of South Dakota who can provide a state driver”s license, auto registration within the state, or proof that they do not reside in another state.

Not all licenses are available to any purchaser. For example, big game licenses are issued through lottery. Licenses are also not available to people who owe more than $1,000 in overdue child support payments, except under certain circumstances.

The state requires special licensing for migratory animals, birds and for hunting along border waters. For example, people hunting along border waters may only hunt animals on the state”s side of the border.

Special licensing is also available for disabled hunters, who are issued a free Disabled Hunter Permit. This permit allows them to hunt from a parked motor vehicle. The ?disabled hunter? designation only applies to certain individuals under specific circumstances, so check with the state”s Department of Natural Resources.

How to Get an Alabama Hunting License

Alabama requires hunting licenses for residents ages 16 to 64. Residents may hunt on their own property without a license, but out-of-state residents who also own property in Alabama must apply for and receive a hunting license prior to hunting on their land. So must most out-of-state hunters, even those aged 65 or older. Military personnel are required to get a hunting license, although Alabama”s Department of Natural Resources gives them special status in purchasing a cheaper resident”s license.

How to Get a Wisconsin Hunting License

The woods of Wisconsin have long held appeal for hunters, who revere hunting as a special way to experience nature. All hunters must enroll in the state”s Learn to Hunt Program prior to applying for a hunting license. The program, which began in 1985, offers a variety of skill-based classes, which take place both in the classroom and field. Classes, which are sponsored by local conservation groups, match students with instructors and hunting mentors.

Hunting by children is acceptable, provided that the children meet certain qualifications. For example, children under 12 may only have a long gun while enrolled in hunting classes or while under strict parental supervision.

New applicants need to provide a Social Security number before paying for the hunting license, which can cost around $60, with variances depending on the type of game sought. Licenses can also be purchased online, for a small additional fee.

The American Sportsman Association classifies Wisconsin”s hunting policies as ?very restrictive,? the strictest designation.

How to Get a West Virginia Hunting License

West Virginia has an important hunting history, and the state reports that most families have at least one member who enjoys hunting for sport or hobby.

A Class A license costs around $20, but is available only to people who have completed a certified education course. There is a grandfather clause that waives the requirement for people born before Jan. 1, 1973. The state”s Department of Natural Resources reports that classes run about 12 hours on average.

West Virginia offers a host of exceptions to the requirement that all hunters apply for and receive a hunter”s license. For example, resident owners or tenants may hunt on their property without a hunting license. Certain West Virginia U.S. Armed Forces veterans may be exempted from the license requirement as well. Residents under the age of 15, or 65 or older, are also excluded under certain circumstances.

How to Get a Tennessee Hunting License

Tennessee requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1969, to demonstrate completion of hunter education classes prior to applying for a license. The state runs a reputable program where hunters-to-be learn about ethics, responsibility, safety and first-aid.

Further, the state”s Department of Natural Resources youth restrictions include specific rules for hunting, in addition to age limitations and hunting age limits. For example, children under age 10 may hunt, but they must do so with an adult at least 21 years of age.

Basic licenses for residents are available upon completion of the program, but applicants must provide a Tennessee driver”s license. Military personnel on active duty in the state also qualify, regardless of legal residency. People who can demonstrate ?genuine intent? of calling Tennessee home also qualify. No matter what, be prepared to provide a Social Security number.

Lifetime licenses are available to just about anybody. Lifetime licenses can be purchased for children under three for about $200, but cost between $800 and $1,600 for adults, depending on the age bracket. These lifetime licenses remain valid for the life of the person who owns it, even if that person elects to move out of state.

The American Sportsman Association classifies Tennessee as ?least restrictive,? the most lenient designation.


Division of Natural Resources (2006). West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 11, 2006, from the DNR Web site:

Outdoor Alabama (2006). Hunting in Alabama. Retrieved November 11, 2006, from the Outdoor Alabama Web site:

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (2006). Licenses and Reservations. Retrieved November 11, 2006, from the SDGFP Web site:

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (2006). License Fees. Retrieved November 11, 2006, from the WRA Web site:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (2006). Licenses, Permits and Regulations. Retrieved November 10, 2006, from the DNR Web site: