Oct 6, 2010

Hunting, Part 2: The License

In Part 1, we discussed hunter education.

Now that you've got that slip of paper in your hot little hand, it's time to go get your license. Hunting licenses can be purchased at any number of places. In New York, they can be ordered by mail or phone, bought at Walmart, Dick's, Kmart, most gun shops, archery shops, bait'n'tackles, some gas stations, and most town or county clerks' offices. The price is the same regardless of where you buy the license.

Here in New York, the options for a license are bewildering. Here's the current list. In Weer'd's case, being a Massachusetts resident, he'd have to purchase a non-resident license in NY. If he wanted to hunt only small game, that'd run him $85 for the hunting year (October 1 - September 30). Small and big game is $140. Entering the lottery for a Deer Management Permit (commonly called a "doe tag") is another $10. A turkey permit (two spring and two fall birds) is $50. A bear tag would be another $50.

If you're a resident, the option that makes the most sense is the "Sportsman" license. It includes small and big game and fishing for $47. Resident turkey tags are $10, the DMP lottery is $10, and so forth.

If hunting is something you expect to be a long-term sport (as it is for me), it does make sense to spend the money for a lifetime license. They raised the price of these last year, from $650ish to $765. A lifetime bow or lifetime muzzleloader license is another $235. MrsZ gifted me with all three over the last couple years; they will more than pay for themselves over the course of my life.

Assuming you did purchase a "Resident Sportsman" license and added turkey tags and DMP lottery, what are you getting for your $67? A good deal, actually. You'll get a long strip of tags, including:
- a "regular season" deer tag, which allows you to take an antlered deer almost anywhere in the state
- a bear tag
- four turkey tags; two each for spring and fall season
- a small game license, which includes furbearers and waterfowl
- a freshwater fishing license
- a chance at up to two doe tags, which are valid in specific regions you select at the time you purchase your license
- a back tag for your jacket

Sign your license on the back and put it in your wallet.

If you intend to hunt waterfowl (ducks or geese), stop by your post office on the way home and purchase a "duck stamp" for $15. Sign it and stick it on the back of your license, then register for the federal "Harvest Information Program". Write that number on the FRONT of your hunting license. Not having proof of registration is a Bad Thing if the DEC Police stop you.

That's it! You're now legal to hunt!

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