State Regulations

Game conservation ensures that animal populations remain healthy, so future generations can continue to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors. States establish hunting seasons and bag limits to protect species from overhunting.

Hunters must follow the safety and conservation regulations enforced by governing agencies. Federal and state guidelines keep both hunters and non-hunters safe. You must have the appropriate certification, license, permits, tags or stamps to hunt and fish in an area. Before you go hunting, make sure you obtain the proper licenses and are aware of the state’s regulations.


Click the links below to learn more about Alabama’s hunting regulations.

Drawing Big Game Tags

Many states draw for big game tags. The population of a species influences the number of licenses that are available to hunt that species.

Conservation departments determine how much of a population can be removed without causing any harm to the population. That number affects how many tags the state offers for that species. There are multiple systems states use to distribute these tags.

Preference points are used in states like California, Colorado and Wyoming to distribute tags for big game. Each time hunters apply for a tag but are not drawn, they receive a preference point. Hunters with the most points receive the tags. Points add up over the course of your lifetime.

Arizona and Nevada are examples of states that use a bonus point system. Under this system, hunters receive a bonus point for drawing unsuccessfully. When the hunter applies the following year, they are entered once more for every bonus point they have acquired.

Some states leave it to chance. Alaska and New Mexico use a lottery system to distribute big game tags instead of a point system. All hunters who apply for a tag have the same chances of drawing one.

States may employ different systems for different species. In some instances, systems may be combined to distribute tags fairly. Keep in mind that state residents are often given priority for big game tags over non-residents. Of course, this varies by state.

To check your points or draw results, log into your account on the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, or Department of Fish and Game.

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