From small game and upland birds to big game, waterfowl and even the creatures that define the term “top of the food chain," hunting offers a priceless bond with the natural world, food for the table and a welcome respite from the world’s daily grind.Learn More
All About Hunting
From small game and upland birds to big game, waterfowl and even the creatures that define the term “top of the food chain,” hunting offers a priceless bond with the natural world, food for the table and a welcome respite from the world’s daily grind.
GET STARTED IN HUNTING
If just one in three hunters add one new person to our hunting traditions, we’ll secure a strong future for generations to come. Be the one. Ignite the passion that can change the course of someone’s life forever. For all hunting has done to enrich your life, join the +ONE movement and invite someone hunting. Share your experience with posts on social media. #PlusOneMovement.
+ONE Partner Organizations
Working together to encourage responsible mentorship in local communities.
Hear the words “deer hunting” and you’ll likely think of the ubiquitous whitetail—and for good reason. You can find this species in 44 states, usually in plentiful numbers on private and public lands. In five of the six states the whitetail doesn’t call home, you can still deer hunt, but in Alaska and California it will be for the elusive black-tail, Nevada and Utah are home on the range for mule deer, and Coues deer have Arizona for an address. (Trivia: The only state that lacks a native deer population is Hawaii!).
With a helicopter rise at the flush preceding its zippy horizontal flight for yonder, a long tail that’s distracted more than a few hunters to miss and a cackle that mocks when you do, this gaudy bird reigns the world of upland bird hunting. So popular is this bird in the vast plains of the Midwest that opening day is legitimate cause to skip school, work, church and afternoon college football. If you’ve ever been to an opening day in Pierre, South Dakota, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
Considered one of the most majestic animals on the continent, the Rocky Mountain elk is emblematic of western hunting. From the bugling of herd bull monarchs keeping their harems of cows in line to the breathtaking vistas and, oh, those towering tiers of antlers, this is a prized experience for anyone with the patience to hike the miles and put the hours in behind a binocular to plan a stall. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah are always top destinations, but reintroduced populations in states like Kansas, Kentucky,
They’re not just for Thanksgiving anymore! In fact, America’s wild turkeys are as much a sign that spring is here as the Easter bunny. With eyesight that puts an eagle to shame and an all-too-often reluctance to come within range despite the lively “conversation” between bird and a hunter’s slate call, spring turkey seasons are a challenge that see camo-clad, shotgunners head to the woods and fields in droves.
Four flyways, colorful species small and large, the art of the decoy and the thrill of a Labrador retriever leaping over the boat’s bow to make an enthusiastic retrieve of goose or duck make waterfowling one of the most thrilling hunting sports around. It’s also one of the oldest—drawings of waterfowl have been found in Ice Age caves, Egyptian tombs and even the artwork of B.C.-era Peru. America’s earliest settlers from “across the pond” found their new home in the East boasted a nearly unlimited supply of ducks, geese and swans—good eating for starving Colonials.
Find a preserve
WHERE TO HUNT
Hunting preserves—private, regulated properties that stock game animals—are a great resource for hunters. They provide a controlled environment and an increased chance for success. Big-game preserves often include one-on-one guiding, great for novices, while upland bird preserves are a favorite for training young bird dogs.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Hunting Basics And Tips
Hunting safety is the first priority
Read hunting laws and regulations
Wear proper hunting gear
Essential hunting equipment
Go with a friend
Obtaining A Hunting License
Hunting licenses can be purchased at various places, including local firearms retailers and angler supply stores, as well as directly from the local wildlife management departments online. States usually require hunters to take a hunter education course before they take to the woods, but many make exceptions if the hunter will be accompanied by a fully licensed and experienced hunter through an apprenticeship program.
Ensuring a Safe Hunt: Julie McQueen's 7 Essential Hunting Safety Rules
With the fall hunting season upon us, it's an ideal time to reinforce the importance of responsible, ethical, and secure hunting practices.
NSSF® and CarbonTV have announced a cooperative HuntSAFE partnership to promote hunting and firearm safety during the fall hunting season, starting with a new video, “Safety is Always in Season.” We are grateful to be joined by CarbonTV in spreading this critical message.
In the realm of firearm ownership and hunting safety, HuntSAFE stands as a beacon of guidance and responsibility. It's a vital component of the NSSF's Project ChildSafe® initiative, dedicated to promoting safe firearm handling, secure storage, and preventing unauthorized access. The acronym S.A.F.E. succinctly sums up the principles: Store your firearms responsibly when not in use; Always practice firearm safety; Focus on your responsibilities as a firearm owner; and Education is key to preventing accidents.
https://youtu.be/X8z9H_cKNJ0This video, "Safety is Always in Season," features Julie McQueen, President of CarbonTV and host of "Outdoor Weekly." She shares seven "rules to live by" when using or handling firearms at home, on the range, and especially in the field.
7 Hunting Safety RulesBy Julie McQueen, President of Carbon TV and host of "Outdoor Weekly." For everyone who enjoys our hunting heritage, wants to share it with friends and family and wants to see participation in hunting grow, I'll be blunt: we've got to model every aspect of hunting safety. The fact is, whether in the field, at the range or in your house, firearm accidents are preventable. I want you, your friends and your kids to always be safe and responsible Hunters so Carbon TV has partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation's project ChildSafe program to provide these hunting safety tips. I know you and your hunting partners will keep them top of mind before, during and after the hunt. The rules of hunting safety are pretty simple, but because of that, some people can get too casual and that's when accidents can happen my advice is don't just think of these as tips but as actual rules to live by.
Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe DirectionKeeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction is the foundation for preventing gun accidents. This means always being aware of where the muzzle is pointed and never grabbing, moving or passing a gun by the barrel.
Always Assume a Gun is LoadedAlways assume a gun is loaded even if it looks like the magazine is out there may still be around in the chamber, so don't take any chances. Always check before handling a gun and keep your fingers off of the trigger.
"Safety On" is Not EnoughHaving the Safety on is not enough. Of course, you should always keep the safety on until you're ready to shoot, but don't rely on it as the only way to prevent a gun from going off. The safety is a mechanical device and it can fail, so remember rule number one and two and watch the muzzle and keep your finger off the trigger until it's time to take the shot.
Be Certain of Your TargetBe certain of your target two things here: Firstly you want to be absolutely certain that what's in your sights is legal game, it is no fun telling a game warden that you accidentally shot a doe if you're only allowed to shoot a buck you also don't want to accidentally shoot another hunter; Secondly, you want to be certain of your target and what's behind it, centerfire bullets can travel well over a mile so make sure the area behind the target is clear of other animals other hunters, structures and vehicles.
Identify YourselfYou don't want to be mistaken for game by other hunters, so wear blaze orange in the field, avoid colors or patterns that can be confused for game, use a flashlight if you need to and make sure you're easily identifiable. This is especially important if you're packing out a deer or other animal where the antlers on your pack could become a target.
Unload Your Firearm at ObstaclesA trigger can get caught on just about anything, so clear the chamber or unload the gun completely before you have to climb across a stream or over a log over a fence legally, of course, or when you're passing a gun back and forth to a companion and again never pull a gun towards yourself by the muzzle.
Tell Someone Where You Will beMake sure someone knows where you're going to be and when you're supposed to be back, especially if you'll be hunting alone. Emergencies do happen and time is of the essence if you need to be rescued, make sure searchers know where to start and it can absolutely save your life.
How Archery Helps Fund Conservation Through Excise Taxes
New “Partner with a Payer” Video Highlights Important Collaboration with Archery Manufacturers and Wildlife AgenciesNSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, in partnership with TenPoint Archery, Archery Trade Association, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has released another film in the “Partner with a Payer®” series—a collection of videos highlighting the importance of wildlife conservation and management. The Partner with a Payer Program connects the dots from how excise tax dollars are generated to how they are used to sustain healthy wildlife populations.
https://youtu.be/4Y1mCr8KcooThe latest video, “Conservation Success at the Crossroads of Collaboration,” highlights the work being done to continue providing public access to target ranges, hunting opportunities and other outdoor experiences within the United States.
Funding Conservation: A Collective EffortIn the heart of collaborative efforts between firearm industry leaders, archery manufacturers, and wildlife conservation agencies lies an important component for hunters and target shooters alike – the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. This act mandates excise taxes, a financial contribution by firearm and ammunition manufacturers on their products, as well as archery equipment manufacturers, to fund wildlife conservation and management programs across the United States. Representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Archery Trade Association and USFWS came together to tour the TenPoint Archery Facility, where they learned what it takes to generate the excise tax revenues supporting wildlife populations across the country. Throughout the tour, state and federal agency staff discussed specific projects and key instances where funds provided opportunities for the public to hunt, target shoot and enjoy the diverse wildlife in the United States. [caption id="attachment_53686" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Excise taxes fund wildlife research for the sustainable maintenance of healthy wildlife populations.[/caption] The excise taxes established under the Pittman-Robertson Act have been a driving force, contributing over $16.4 billion (over $25 billion adjusted for inflation) to individual states. In this video, Peter Novotny, Deputy Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, highlights how these funds, combined with hunting and fishing license dollars, fund essential wildlife research. This research enables a deeper understanding of how wildlife populations adapt to a changing environment, ultimately leading to the maintenance of healthy and sustainable populations.
The Ripple Effect for Hunters and ShootersFor hunters and target shooters, the implications of excise taxes are far-reaching. The funds derived from these taxes play an important role in maintaining shooting ranges, archery facilities, and wildlife habitats, ensuring a rich and diverse outdoor experience. The collaborative efforts between industry leaders, state agencies, and federal organizations exemplify the commitment to sustaining the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. [caption id="attachment_53687" align="aligncenter" width="550"] “We feel comfortable and confident that the excise tax dollars are helping keep healthy deer herds out there across the United States,” said Phil Bednar, President and CEO of TenPoint Crossbows.[/caption] As hunters and target shooters, your passion and participation directly contribute to the preservation of the outdoor experiences you cherish. These excise taxes not only support wildlife conservation but also create a legacy of responsible and sustainable outdoor recreation for generations to come. Understanding and appreciating this cycle of giving back ensures that the great outdoors remains accessible for all. More info and resources at https://www.nssf.org/partner-with-payer/ See other Partner with a Payer Videos: https://www.letsgohunting.org/resources/articles/game-birds/osprey-restoration-understanding-excise-taxes-wildlife-conservation/ https://www.letsgohunting.org/resources/articles/explore-hunting/how-do-excise-taxes-benefit-hunter-education-clark-county-shooting-complex/
How to Pattern Your Shotgun for Turkey Hunting
Pattern Your Shotgun for TurkeysPatterning your shotgun for turkey hunting is simply a matter of shooting your shotgun with various shot sizes at different ranges to determine the most effective combination. To pattern your shotgun, you will need two loads of each shot size and six targets that show the full-size head and neck of a gobbler. Start by taking one shot at each target at 15, 25, and 40 yards.' With each load and choke combination, count the number of pellets in the vital area of the gobbler’s head. Opinions vary on the number of pellets you will need in a vital area to put a turkey down, but you will need at least six to harvest a turkey. Some experienced hunters, however, claim that a turkey hunter will need up to 30 pellets in a vital area to harvest a gobbler quickly and cleanly. After you have tried all the different loads at 15, 25, and 40 yards, analyze your targets and count the pellets in the vital area. Determine which load gives you the densest pattern in the gobbler’s head and neck. That’s the load to use.
Check out this Turkey Chokes Tip From NWTF
Wild turkeys are tough animals to harvest and a tight-patterning shot to the head and neck area is required to seal the deal.
Turkey Hunting Safety RemindersThere was a time when duck hunting was considered the most dangerous form of hunting. That’s no longer true. Turkey hunting now accounts for most accidents. There are some good rules for turkey hunters to keep in mind:
- Never wear red, white, black, or light-blue clothing that could be visible to other hunters. These are the colors of a spring gobbler. Wear full camouflage, but avoid white socks or T-shirts, which might look like the white part of a gobbler.
- Use your turkey call in terrain where you can see at least 50 yards in every direction.
- Keep your back against a tree trunk, stump, or boulder that is higher than your head.
- If you see another turkey hunter approaching, stay still and whistle or shout loudly.
- Never sneak in on a turkey that is gobbling, and avoid using a call when hunters are nearby.
- If you use a decoy, position it so that you are not in any possible line of fire with it. Position the decoy so it can be seen from the sides, not from in front of or behind you. Use only hen decoys, never a fake gobbler.
- If you plan to hunt from a ground blind, read these safety considerations.
Check out these delicious Turkey Recipeshttps://www.letsgohunting.org/resources/articles/recipes/wild-turkey-buffalo-cheese-dip/ https://www.letsgohunting.org/resources/articles/recipes/wild-turkey-schnitzel-recipe/
Celebrate National Hunting & Fishing Day
Celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day!On the fourth Saturday of every September, NHF Day recognizes generations of sportsmen and women for their contributions to the conservation of our nation’s rich sporting heritage and natural resources. One of the main goals of National Hunting and Fishing Day is to recruit new hunters and anglers by encouraging participation and increasing public awareness of the connection between hunting, angling, and conservation. Through self-imposed fees and excise taxes, sportsmen and women have raised more than $57 billion--that’s more than $100,000 every 30 minutes being raised for conservation. Now on its 51st year, NHF Day is the largest, most effective grassroots movement ever undertaken to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Launched by Congress in 1971 and heavily promoted by NSSF for decades, NHF Day is now administered by Wonders of Wildlife Museum and has consistently recognized hunters and anglers for their leadership in wildlife and conservation. Find national, state, regional and local organizations hosting related events.
Get StartedHunting, Fishing, and Shooting Sports are not just great American pastimes – they are the very foundation that supports the model of wildlife conservation created more than a century ago in this country. By introducing new audiences to these activities, we ensure that wildlife and wild places will be protected for generations to come. Hunting is a useful and beneficial wildlife management tool that ensures and maintains the health and abundance of game species and the balance of our natural resources. There are a number of species, from upland birds to big game animals to hunt. Learn more about these species from game bird and game animal organizations.
Take the PledgeTake the pledge to take someone hunting, fishing, or shooting this year and be entered into the NHF Day Giveaway!
Share Your ImagesUpload an image of you hunting, fishing or target shooting and tag @NHFday on social media using the hashtag #GuideToOutside or Upload an image to be featured here!
Osprey Restoration: Understanding Excise Taxes & Wildlife Conservation
Preserving Wildlife Through Partnership: Osprey Restoration Supported by Firearm and Ammunition Excise TaxesHunters, conservationists, and outdoor enthusiasts alike share a common goal: the preservation of wildlife and their habitats. One of the successful initiatives that demonstrate this commitment is this osprey restoration project, a collaborative effort funded by firearm and ammunition excise taxes. This project, carried out in partnership with the NSSF, Henry Repeating Arms, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish & Wildlife, showcases how excise taxes play a crucial role in supporting wildlife conservation and habitat restoration efforts.
In the latest video in our Partner with a Payer series, representatives from Henry Repeating Arms, New Jersey Fish & Wildlife, and NSSF join to survey and band an osprey population. Read NSSF's press release here.
The Osprey Restoration: A Triumph of ConservationOne remarkable conservation success story is the revival of the osprey population in New Jersey. Four to five decades ago, ospreys were a rare sight in the state. However, through the funding provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, and the partnership of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish & Wildlife, and firearm manufacturers like Henry Repeating Arms, osprey restoration has become a reality. Representatives from Henry Repeating Arms, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish & Wildlife, and USFWS have joined forces to actively engage in osprey population surveys and banding efforts. These initiatives provide a firsthand perspective on the tangible results of the excise tax contributions. The restoration efforts have led to a remarkable increase in osprey nests, from a mere 50 to over 700, showcasing the effectiveness of dedicated funding and collaborative partnerships.
Excise Taxes: Funding the Future of ConservationThe United States has long been a leader in wildlife conservation thanks to The North American Model of Conservation, a system that recognizes the importance of maintaining a balance between natural resources and their sustainable use. This model emphasizes the value of cooperation between various stakeholders, including hunters, firearm manufacturers, and conservation agencies. By paying excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, these manufacturers contribute to a dedicated funding stream that fuels conservation initiatives across the nation. Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, firearm and ammunition manufacturers and importers pay excise taxes, which are then redistributed to individual states for wildlife conservation efforts, hunter-education programs, and target shooting programs. To date, more than $16.4 billion (over $25 billion when adjusted for inflation) has been contributed through these taxes. This consistent funding has allowed for the resurgence of osprey populations, a testament to the impact of sustained financial support.
A Call to Action for ManufacturersHenry Repeating Arms is a shining example of a company that not only contributes to the excise tax fund but actively participates in conservation projects like the osprey restoration. By supporting initiatives that focus on wildlife conservation, shooting sports traditions, education, and advocacy, firearm and ammunition manufacturers are making a positive impact on the environment and preserving outdoor experiences for generations to come. The Osprey Banding Project serves as a beacon of hope for wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists. By showcasing the positive outcomes of excise tax contributions, collaborative partnerships, and dedicated conservation efforts, this project highlights the power of working together to ensure the survival of endangered species and the protection of their habitats. Through the ongoing support of manufacturers, hunters, and outdoor advocates, the legacy of the North American Model of Conservation continues to thrive, creating a better future for both wildlife and humanity. Partner with a Payer The Partner with a Payer initiative was developed to help generations of employees in the firearm, archery and angling industries, state agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to better understand their, and each other’s, roles in conservation. More info and resources at https://www.nssf.org/partner-with-payer/ See other Partner with a Payer Videos: https://www.letsgohunting.org/resources/articles/explore-hunting/how-do-excise-taxes-benefit-hunter-education-clark-county-shooting-complex/ https://www.letsgohunting.org/resources/articles/explore-hunting/how-excise-taxes-support-fish-restoration-conservation-and-more/ https://www.letsgohunting.org/resources/articles/explore-hunting/understanding-excise-taxes-wildlife-conservation-bighorn-sheep-population-management/
A Guide to Rabbit Hunting: How, Where, and When to Hunt Responsibly
The How-to, Where-to and When-to Rabbit Hunting GuideAs the summer heat starts to give way to the cooler breeze of autumn, outdoor enthusiasts and hunting aficionados eagerly anticipate the start of small game hunting season. Late summer offers the perfect opportunity to engage in exciting and challenging rabbit hunting expeditions. Armed with the right tactics, gear, and knowledge of prime hunting spots, hunters can enjoy an exhilarating experience in the great outdoors. Rabbit hunting is a popular and rewarding outdoor activity that offers both excitement and a connection to nature. Whether you're a seasoned hunter or a beginner looking to embark on your first rabbit hunting adventure, this guide will provide you with essential information on where to go, how to do it, and when to get started. Safety, ethics and responsible hunting will be a top priority throughout the journey, and we'll also cover the necessary small game hunting gear and prime rabbit hunting spots.
How to Rabbit HuntRabbit hunting requires patience, strategy, and skill. Follow these steps to increase your chances of a successful hunt:
- Research and Observe: Study rabbit behavior, habitat preferences, and feeding patterns. Spend time observing rabbits in the wild to understand their movements.
- Choose the Right Gear: Select a shotgun or small-caliber rifle appropriate for small game hunting. Make sure you're comfortable and accurate with your chosen firearm.
- Safety First: Always prioritize safety. Wear hunter orange to remain visible to other hunters, and never point your firearm at anything you don't intend to shoot.
- Quiet Approach: Approach your hunting area quietly to avoid spooking rabbits. Move slowly and be mindful of your footsteps.
- Use a Hunting Dog: Well-trained hunting dogs, especially beagles, can help scent and flush out rabbits from cover. Learn more about hunting rabbits with beagles here.
- Camouflage and Concealment: Wear camouflage clothing that blends with the environment. Use natural cover to hide and stalk your prey.
- Early Morning and Dusk: Hunt during the early hours of the day or as the sun sets, when rabbits are most active.
- Patience and Persistence: Rabbit hunting requires patience. Wait quietly in promising locations, and be prepared for sudden movements.
- Follow Regulations: Adhere to all hunting regulations, including obtaining the necessary licenses and respecting bag limits.
Where to Go Rabbit HuntingFinding the right location is key to a successful rabbit hunting experience. Look for areas with suitable habitats where rabbits thrive:
- Farmland Edges: Fields, farmland borders, and pastures provide ample food sources and cover for rabbits.
- Brushy Areas: Overgrown fields, hedgerows, and abandoned lots are known to attract rabbits seeking shelter.
- Woodland Clearings: Open spaces within forests, especially near thickets and undergrowth, are frequented by rabbits.
When to Rabbit HuntTiming is crucial for a successful rabbit hunt. The best times to embark on your rabbit hunting adventure are:
- Late Summer to Early Fall: As the summer heat subsides and vegetation starts to thin out, rabbits become more active, making late summer and early fall prime hunting seasons.
- Early Morning and Dusk: Rabbits are most active during the cooler parts of the day, especially in the early morning and at dusk.
Rabbit Hunting Gear
- Shotgun or Small-Caliber Rifle: Opt for a firearm suitable for small game hunting, like a 20-gauge shotgun or .22 caliber rifle. Learn more about using the .22 rifle for small game hunting.
- Ammunition: Choose ammunition designed for small game hunting, ensuring an ethical hunt.
- Hunter Orange Clothing: Wear a hunter orange vest or hat to remain visible to other hunters in the area.
- Camouflage Clothing: Blend into your surroundings with camouflage clothing suitable for the hunting environment.
- Boots: Comfortable and durable hunting boots are essential for traversing various terrains.
- Binoculars: High-quality binoculars help you spot rabbits from a distance without alarming them.