To get right to it - A wildlife agency sets hunting regulations for most states. But you're probably curious about how this process works, and how it began.

Many hunters tend to ignore the fact that they can impact the implementation of hunting regulations in their area. Additionally, by understanding more about this process, hunters soon realize that they are an important part of establishing and driving wildlife conservation throughout the United States. 

How Are Hunting Regulations Passed?

As mentioned above, hunting wildlife agencies set hunting regulations, and they are passed by boards or commissions. These entities hold required public hearings to give hunters an opportunity to hear proposed changes and voice their opinions. They are also given the opportunity to assert changes of their own before statues or rules and regulations are passed. 

Why Are Hunting Regulations Passed?

Hunting regulations were set to conserve and protect the life of all hunted animal species. If these laws were not set, many species would see eventual extension - something that took place during the early 19th century. 

Hunter-ed summarizes some great points below:

  • Ensure the availability of game for future generations.

  • Establish hunting seasons to limit harvesting and avoid hunting during nesting and mating seasons.

  • Limit hunting methods and equipment.

  • Set “bag” limits. Establish check stations and game tag requirements.

  • Define the rules of fair chase.

Which Group First Proposed Hunting Laws?

It's tough to say which group first proposed hunting rules and regulations, as many individual states started creating hunting laws of their own. For example, Wisconsin established their first deer season in the 1850s, and shortly after in 1873 New Jersey instituted their first hunting license

The Progressive Era that began in the 1890s gave way to America's first federal law established for wildlife management - the Lacey Act of 1900. This legislation prohibited interstate transportation of illegally taken wildlife and curbed market hunting. Theodore Roosevelt soon began advocating for the "the outdoor life" and helped establish entities such as the National Forest Service, the National Park System, and many fish and wildlife management regulators. 

For more detailed information about the evolution of America's wildlife management, read this great summary here

Where Can I Find My State's Hunting Regulations?

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services is the one-stop-shop for all state's hunting regulations, and even provides a map to easily navigate to more information

If you're looking for a general summary of each state's hunting laws, check out this great chart by They summarize a large amount of information for each state, with links to a more detailed list of rules and regulations. 

What Is Hunter-Ed?

Hunter-Ed provides safety hunter courses. They partner with over 45 state agencies to teach students important laws and regulations, game identification, and safe, responsible firearm handling.

For an article about the Best Time to Hunt Deer click here!