Hunting can be an important tool for managing wildlife. It can help control animal populations in overcrowded natural habitats, keep them from draining natural resources and/or threatening the well-being of other wildlife. Hunting also can help prevent an animal population from encroaching on human health and safety.
What to hunt. Hunters have a variety of wildlife available for hunting. The National Wildlife Refuge System lists eight categories of huntable wildlife. These include deer, big game, small game, waterfowl, migratory birds, upland birds, turkey and exotics. Waterfowl include ducks and geese, while upland birds include pheasant, grouse, quail, chukar and gray partridge. Mourning doves, woodcocks, snipe and rail fall into the migratory bird category. Exotics are sika elk, sambar deer, feral hog, nilgai and oryx.
Big and small game. Deer fall into their own category and include white tail deer as well as mule deer, black tail deer and the Coues white tail deer. Big game is a large group featuring bear, elk, moose, caribou, mountain lion, mountain goat, mountain sheep, musk ox and the javeliina. Small game includes raccoon, squirrel, rabbit and hare.
When to hunt. Hunting seasons, restrictions and regulations vary between each state in the country. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not issue hunting and fishing licenses. Hunters need to obtain their licenses from their state natural resource agency. Each state will list its hunting season and the rules and regulations that govern it. For example, Utah provides a web page with an interactive monthly calendar. It lists when the various seasons begin and end and provides essential information for the hunter regarding those seasons.
Where to hunt. There are many wildlife refuge and public land areas open for licensed hunters. The National Rifle Association (NRA) provides a webpage with links to various hunting spots, listed by state. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a page as well. Individual states provide detailed information regarding legal hunting areas in their region. For example, Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources provides an interactive map. Simply click on a location dot and it will tell you the name of the hunting spot, how big it is, what wildlife is available, who runs the area and a contact number.
Please remember that illegal hunting is a crime and punishable in a court of law.