In most places, people can’t just make the decision to hunt as and when they feel like it. There are rules and regulations that must be adhered to in order to encourage wildlife conservation. One such example of wildlife conservation effort is the implementation of hunting seasons.
The term “hunting season” refers to the times of the year and specific animals that you’re permitted to hunt in your state. Hunting seasons differ from state to state.
It’s your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the specific hunting rules and regulations in your area of interest. This way you can make an informed decision when planning your hunts and stay on the right side of the law.
In this article, we’ll be providing you with a brief overview of the general state hunting regulations. We’ll also answer a few burning questions you might have regarding hunting rules such as which equipment can you use? And are you allowed to use thermal scopes or artificial lights?
Ready? Let’s get started.
Closed vs Open Seasons
The first thing you need to know when it comes to hunting is that there are closed and open seasons. We’ll briefly define the two below.
As the name suggests, closed seasons are the times during the year that you’re not allowed to hunt down a particular animal. These seasons are usually determined in line with the wildlife conservation programs in your state.
Reasons for closed seasons vary but the main ones include protecting the species that might be:
- Endangered and risk becoming extinct
- Vulnerable because of extreme temperatures
- Currently in their breeding season
- Undergoing reproductive activity
- Experiencing food shortage
It follows that open seasons are the times during the year that you’re permitted to hunt a particular species. Such seasons are usually open when the population of a particular breed of animal is at its peak.
Which States Don’t Allow Night Hunting?
Night hunting is heavily regulated across the United States. You’ll even find that in certain states, night hunting is prohibited altogether! A few examples of states that don’t permit night hunting include:
- New Mexico
Use of Hunting Equipment
Some states require hunters to use specific hunting equipment and prohibit the usage of others. Case in point: certain states such as Arkansas only allow the use of night vision devices for the hunting of feral hogs. Kentucky allows the use of night vision devices only between the 1st of February and the 31st of May.
States that allow the use of thermal scopes include Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, and Louisiana. These states understand the value of using thermal scopes when hunting.
What is the value of thermal scopes? It’s rather simple: a thermal imaging scope help with proper target identification. As such, hunters can better target the correct species as opposed to accidentally shooting endangered animals.
General Hunting State Regulations
As highlighted earlier, different states have different regulations when it comes to hunting. Depending on the state you plan on hunting in, you may be required to:
- Apply for a permit that gives you permission to hunt
- Pay a user fee
- Have a hunting license to hunt in that particular area
- Not to use night vision devices
- Have a specific license to hunt on a private property
- Hunt animals during specific times only: for example, in Missouri coyotes can only be hunted half an hour before sunrise and half an hour after sunset
- Guns should be kept unloaded until the hunter is clear from the road
- Wear specific gear
- Confirm that the land you’re planning to hunt on is actually open to hunting
- Use the right hunting equipment because certain states such as California prohibit the use of flashlights or spotlights for hunting
- You must have the appropriate tags or stamps that allow you to hunt—and under no circumstance may you use someone else’s tag for hunting.
Where Can You Get the Exact Information?
One thing you must know is that hunting regulations change all the time as a result of amendments and continuously changing environmental concerns. Most of these amendments typically occur on a yearly basis. To obtain accurate and updated information, you must contact the state game official in your area.
The Importance of Petitions
While there are rules and regulations regarding hunting seasons, the general public are allowed to sign petitions opposing the existing rules.
A petition makes sense when certain species become a danger to other vulnerable animals. Also, it’s ideal in cases where certain animals are causing extensive crop damage in an area.
It’s no secret that hunting is big business. If the industry is unregulated, things will spiral out of control leaving wildlife extinct—and what will you hunt then?
As such, it’s important that you play your part to conserve wildlife by adhering to the necessary hunting laws in your area.
If you breach the laws, you’re likely to pay fines, end up in lawsuits or you could even face imprisonment. Consequences all depend on the state you hunt in. In other areas, your hunting license may be suspended or revoked. So, educate yourself and tread carefully.
Find out the rules. Learn the rules. Live by the rules.