| North American hunting predates the United States by thousands of years, and was an important part of many pre-Columbian Native American cultures. Today, Native Americans retain some hunting rights and are exempt from some laws as part of Indian treaties and federal law. Hunting in the United States is not associated with any particular class or culture. In fact, 78% of Americans support legal hunting. Current regulation of hunting within the United States goes back to the 19th century.|
United States Hunting, Economics:
Hunting is also a major industry in the United States, with many companies specializing in hunting equipment or specialty tourism. Today's hunters come from a broad range of economic, social, and cultural backgrounds, including a significant luxury segment. In 2001, over 13 million hunters averaged eighteen days hunting and spent over $20.5 billion on their sport.
United States Hunting, Regulations:
Regulation of hunting is primarily performed by the state law; additional regulations are imposed through United States environmental law in the case of migratory birds (such as ducks and geese) and endangered species.
Regulations vary widely from state to state, and govern the areas, time periods, techniques and methods by which specific game animals may be harvested.
Some states make a distinction between protected species and unprotected species (often vermin or varmints) for which there are no hunting regulations.
Hunters of protected species require a hunting license in all states, for which completion of a hunting safety course is sometimes a prerequisite.
United States Hunting, Species Categories:
Typically wild game animals are divided into several categories for regulatory purposes. Typical categories, along with example species, are as follows:
Big Game: Antelope, Bear, Hogs, Javelina, Sheep, Deer, Caribou, Black-Tail Deer, Mule Deer, White-Tail Deer, Elk, Moose.
Small Game: Rabbits, Squirrels.
Furbearers: Fox, Mink.
Predator: Bobcat, Cougar, Coyote.
Upland Birds: Dove, Grouse, Pheasant, Quail, Turkey, Woodcock.
Waterfowl: Ducks, Geese.
Hunting big game typically requires a "tag" for each animal harvested. Tags must be purchased in addition to the hunting license, and the number of tags issued to an individual is typically limited.
Harvest of smaller wild game is restricted by "bag limit" and "possession limit".
A bag limit is a maximum number of a specific animal species that an individual can harvest in a single day.
A possession limit is a maximum number of a specific animal species that can be in an individual's possession at any time.
United States Hunting, Wild Game Pursuit And Retrieval:
Hunting Dogs: A hunting dog refers to any dog who assists human hunters in the hunting of wild game.
United States Hunting Regulations, Weapons:
Weapons used in hunting are also typically regulated by game category, area within the state, and time period. Regulations for big game hunting often specify a minimum caliber or muzzle energy for firearms. The use of rifles is often banned for safety reasons in areas with high population density or limited topographic relief. Specific seasons for bow hunting or muzzle-loading black powder weapons are often established to limit competition with hunters using more effective weapons.
Typical Weapons Used For Hunting:
United States Hunting Regulations, Law Enforcement:
A key task of Federal and state park rangers and game wardens is to enforce laws and regulations related to hunting, including species protection, hunting seasons, and hunting bans.
United States Hunting, Wildlife Management:
Hunting is an important tool for managing wildlife resources. Hunting gives resource managers a valuable tool to control populations of some species that might otherwise exceed the carrying capacity of their habitat and threaten the well-being of other wildlife species, and in some instances, that of human health and safety. Hunting reduces the annual crop of new animals and birds to allow the remaining animals sufficient food and shelter to survive.