Hunting Regulations Guide
A little education goes a long way. Think about these questions, then head over to your specific state's hunting page.
Whitetail deer offer new hunters a great place to start and are a favorite of veteran buck stalkers. They are found in almost every state, licenses are typically available, and there's a hunting method to fit anyone's skill level. On top of providing good opportunity for the hunt, Whitetail deer also provide excellent table fare when cared for properly.
Many other big game species offer challenging pursuits. Check out what's available in your neck of the woods.
What Type Weapon?
A firearm will offer efficient preseason preparation along with enough knockdown power for a clean, humane kill and hopefully prevent extensive blood trailing after a shot. Crossbow technology has improved significantly in recent years and offer solutions to deliver the consistent accuracy and lethal power for humane kills of any big game animal, but check your state's regulations carefully. Vertical archery hunting takes plenty of practice before drawing on a big game animal. While becoming a new hunter and new archer as the same time is a great goal, plan 12 months or more to prepare for an inaugural big game archery hunt.
Whatever weapon you choose, check to ensure it meets all the requirements outlined by your state.
Where will you hunt?
Your state's big game hunting planner will provide hunting area maps. The licensing zones or units are vital for wildlife conservation by allowing for specific harvest numbers of each game animal in order to optimize the overall herd health. Our home state of Nebraska is over 95% privately owned land, but in many states public land access is abundant. Apps like Huntwise or OnX are handy tools to explore the area you are interested in hunting, but we find a good ol' fashioned plat map from your county is most accurate and won't go dead in the field. Get a good start on land access and permission in your desired unit before purchasing a license so you don't end up with no place to hunt.
When will you hunt?
Some of the timing for your hunt will be dictated by the seasons available for your chosen unit, species, and weapon type. It's still important to think about the typical weather during those seasons and not only how you will be able to manage yourself against mother nature, but also how you plan to care for your harvest especially if temperatures are warm.
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person"
- Fred Bear
Select Your State
Make sure you understand ALL the hunting requirements for your chosen state. This is not a complete list, but double check for regulations related to: firearm, hunter and/or bow hunter safety, accompanying stamps or tertiary licenses, blaze orange requirements, field dressing stipulations, and check-in procedures.
If you are new to hunting, most states also have programs sponsored or operated by their game, fish, and natural resource departments to help you get started. These will range from formal mentor type events to locations and advice for becoming proficient with your weapon, or just help navigating available public land access. Head back up to your state's hunting resource page to get started.