Imagine buying one hunting license for the rest of your life. Sound too good be true? Think again. Lifetime hunting licenses aren’t available in every state, but there are many reasons to consider the investment if they’re offered where you live.
Rules and regulations pertaining to lifetime hunting licenses vary by state. Since they’re not offered everywhere, it’s best to start by contacting your state fish and wildlife agency to understand your options for purchasing a hunting license. Iowa, for example, offers a lifetime hunting and fishing license that’s only available for resident, disabled veterans. The disability must be connected to service. Former prisoners of war can also qualify. Minnesota, on the other hand, allows lifetime hunting licenses for nearly anyone, and they can even be purchased for others as a gift. Texas offers an application for resident lifetime licenses that range from the super combination hunting and all-water fishing license to pursuit-specific options, such as a resident hunting license that includes archery, upland game birds, and migratory game birds. Regulations can change at any time; the Indiana Department of Natural Resources discontinued its lifetime hunting license in 2005.
You should always relay questions about licenses to your state agency to see what’s possible under the current regulations. All states staff a team of customer service representatives who are happy to help advise the most sensible way for you to get started hunting.
A lifetime hunting license has many benefits. Most obvious, holders don’t need to worry about renewing their hunting license on an annual basis. Simply pay the one-time fee for the lifetime hunting license, and after you purchase any additional stamps that might not be included (the federal duck stamp or state-specific habitat stamps, for example), you’re ready to hunt.
The up-front cost is expensive, from $1,000 to more than $1,800 depending on what state you’re in. However, you can more than make up for the cost over time. Assuming a resident archery tag costs about $25, that means in 40 years you would’ve spent $1,000 on your hunting license. This makes a lifetime hunting license a great gift for a young hunter.
Lifetime hunting licenses carry unique rules and regulations. Specifically, a handful of states allow lifetime hunting license holders resident access even if you move out of state. This is especially beneficial for folks who live in states where nonresident hunting licenses aren’t available over the counter. Don’t confuse this with a landowner tag, which is a specific license available to nonresident deer hunters who meet criteria of acreage ownership and which provides special preference to allow them to hunt their property, as opposed to nonresidents who don’t own land.
As long as you follow the proper requirements to enjoy your favorite pastime, there isn’t a right or wrong way to go about getting your hunting license. However, where available, the lifetime hunting license is a great choice for those hunters who want to invest more in their passion. When you’re a lifetime hunting license holder, you’re among a small group of ardent hunters and conservationists. The norm is to buy your license on an annual basis, but the dedicated minority who hold these special tags are cut from a different cloth. If that sounds like you, and your state offers the opportunity to buy the magical ticket to open the gateway to a lifetime of hunting opportunities, then don’t wait — buy your lifetime hunting license today.