Migratory birds and endangered species are protected by the United States federal hunting laws, setting the standards for individual state laws (like in Georgia and Virginia) that add further points and procedures. Let's learn more about federal and state laws regarding hunting.

What Is the Background of Hunting Laws?

The natives in the 1500s to 1600s hunted mammals for survival, and that's when the wildlife population began to recoil. A treaty was signed between the U.S. and Great Britain to protect Migratory Birds in the States to overcome the massive decrease in wildlife population.

Hunting wildlife and fish must follow the regulations of owning a hunting permit or license of a particular state. Shooting across water bodies, caves, mines, open shafts, and forest service roads is prohibited. Hunters must carry a map to stay on top of personal property from public land. 

By 1900 it was clear that the state laws alone could not protect the migratory birds. Efforts were made to make it a federal responsibility. It is a federal offense to transport wildlife between states illegally. Thus, Federal and state laws work together to control illegal hunting practices in the United States.

no hunting sign on the tree

What Are Some Federal Laws Governing Hunting in the U.S.?

The federal laws that oversee hunting in the United States include the migratory bird treaty act, endangered species act, lacey act, and marine mammal protection act, which help protect wildlife and their habitat, creating a positive image in the World.

Act of Migratory Birds

It forbids harming the species, including Native American birds, in any way without consulting the authorities first. Many bird species, along with their nests and eggs, are protected by the act. The act is for 1000 bird species.

Protection Act for Endangered Species

The species are under the category of extinction if there are considerable chances of it becoming endangered shortly. A separate land has been allocated to such species to survive, preventing them from becoming targets for hunters. Lastly, it charges penalties to criminals. A criminal violation of ESA may be fined up to $50,000.

Lacey Act

The act was first implemented in 1900 and forbade the illegal exchange of wildlife, fish, and plants. It was amended by the Farm Bill 2008 to extend its protection to a broader range of plants and their products. No third-party certification can be used to testify legality.

Marine Act: Mammal Protection

Marine mammal species like humpback, sea otters, gray whales, and all others are protected by this act to prevent their extinction for a sustainable ecosystem. Implementing the MMPA is the combined responsibility of three federal entities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, and the Marine Mammal Commission.

the hunter hides behind the blinds

How Do State Hunting Laws Play Their Part?

The state laws go hand in hand with the federal regulations. The first and foremost step is to get a hunter education certificate so that the hunters know their hunting area's basic rules and regulations. Most states require residents to apply for a hunting license at 16 years of age.

The state laws abide by federal regulations concerning hunting. The essential requirement is to get a hunter education certificate so that the individual knows the basic dos and don'ts of hunting. The legal age for obtaining a hunter's license is mentioned in the laws.

Every state has a different hunting season; for example, Florida allows deer hunting between August and February, while in Arkansas, it starts in September and lasts till January. Furthermore, the eligibility for a resident hunting license varies between states.

How to Get Georgia Hunting License (GA Hunting License)?

To get a Georgia Hunting license, one must be of age between 16 to 64 to apply for the license, know the type of hunting license they fit into and apply accordingly. It is necessary for people with age between 12 and 15 to acquire a hunter education certificate.


The typical age group permissible for a hunting license in Georgia falls between 16 and 64. One could study for various online courses and pass and get a completion certificate at the end.

Types of Licenses

The fees for a hunting license in Georgia depend on the license type. For instance, an annual hunting and fishing license for the residents of Georgia costs around $30, while for non-residents, it is $150. Similarly, sportsman's licenses are approximately $65 and $400 annually.


It is necessary for hunters between 12 and 15 to have a hunter education certificate unless they are under the supervision of an adult who already has a valid hunting license. Hunters might need to purchase permits or tags, depending on the species and the area they want to hunt.

The Application Process for the License

Details regarding the application process are mentioned on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website. The department can also be visited. You can also see an approved license agent and proceed according to the type of license you want to acquire.

no hunting sign for private land

How to Get Virginia Hunting License Easily?

To get a Virginia hunting license quickly, the candidate must undergo a hunter education course to hunt in the state legally. Landowners and their direct relations do not need a hunting license. Visit the state’s wildlife resources website to apply for the license.


It is necessary to complete a hunter education course if you are 12 to 15 years old. The state approves the system so that they can legally hunt in Virginia. Interestingly, anyone not hunting but aiding a disabled resident in the hunt does not need a hunting license.

Types of Licenses

The resident hunting license, costing $23 per annum, is essential, implying that additional permits are needed. Similarly, a resident sportsman license, costing $100, is for the residents of Virginia and holds the same privileges as a hunting license. There are various options for non-residents, and the fees vary with the type.


Landowners, their spouses, children, and minor grandchildren do not need a hunting license. Similarly, residents of age 65 and above do not need a permit to hunt on private property in their township. Tenants must have written permission from the landowner.

The Application Process for the License

To apply for the license, you must visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website and call on the helpline. You can also see an authorized license agent. Other means of application include mailing your application or downloading the mobile app to apply etc.

the hunter hides himself in the grasslands

Why Are Ethical Hunting Practices Important to Consider? 

Ethical hunting practices are essential to consider as they are according to federal and state regulations that protect wildlife. They allow the hunter to treat the wildlife respectfully and ease their killing to ensure minimum suffering while protecting the surrounding habitat.

Obliging to Federal and State Regulations

Hunters must consider federal and state regulations and obtain the required permits and licenses. They must also refrain from hunting in the prohibited areas. Hunting ethics continue to evolve, and hunters must keep up with the changes.

Responsible Hunting and Wildlife Conservation

Ethical practices allow hunters to hunt the species with minimum suffering. The hunter must also remember not to harm the non-target species or destroy their natural habitats. Pursuing according to the regulations allows the hunters to hunt while portraying a positive image of hunting in society.

Ending Remarks

There has been a major shift in hunting as policies were introduced and regulations were enforced.

· Laws are necessary so the hunters can know where they can hunt and where they cannot.

· States have different hunting laws, but all need the support of federal regulations to be applied on a higher level,

· Different laws have been formulated to clarify the constraints of hunting a specific species.

· The hunter's license application is the same for almost all states; visiting the state's wildlife or natural resource website will solve your queries.

It is necessary to follow the laws so hunting can remain a pleasant experience for everyone.


Paul Barker

Paul Barker

Paul Barker is a ghostwriter for TideWe. With years of experience in hunting, he has unique insights and suggestions for outdoor activity. Sharing his passion for hunting to help those who love hunting makes Paul happy.


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August 24, 2023 — Paul Barker
Tags: Guide

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