BIG GAME HUNTING / PUBLIC LAND
HOW TO START HUNTING BIG GAME ON PUBLIC LAND
North America offers some of the best big game hunting in the world. Harvesting all 29 species of big game animals is called the "North American Grand Slam". Many people want to start hunting big game, aren't quite sure where to go to get started? Start hunting big game on public land today, for free with the following information.
TIP: Big game hunting requires excellent physical condition. Getting yourself physically ready for hunting season will ensure the hunter has the stamina it takes to harvest, process and successfully pack out the animal. Physical fitness is key to being a successful big game hunter.
WHAT IS PUBLIC LAND?
Public lands are areas of land and water that today are owned collectively by U.S. citizens and managed by government agencies. Public lands are different from private lands, which are owned by an individual, a business or another type of non-governmental organization. . Although public lands are now considered to be owned collectively by United States citizens, these lands include ancestral homelands, migration routes, ceremonial grounds, and hunting and harvesting places for Indigenous Peoples who have been forcibly removed.
Most public lands are managed by the federal government, by a state or local government, or by a sovereign tribal nation. Other lands open for public use include conservation easements on private land that are managed by nonprofit land trusts and private lands that are accessible via special hunting and fishing permits. Not all federally-managed lands are public; for example, access is tightly restricted on military bases. However, across the country, there are more than 640 million acres of parks, forests, preserves, and historic sites that are open to the public.
Today, there are 76 areas managed by the National Park Service, 336 national wildlife refuges and 36 wetland management districts managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and over 220 million acres of BLM-managed public lands -- in addition to most Bureau of Reclamation lands -- that allow hunting in accordance with federal and state regulations and laws.
WHO CAN HUNT PUBLIC LAND?
Hunting on public land is free and open to anyone with a valid State hunting license. While many public lands are managed by federal agencies, hunting is regulated at the state level, and a valid state hunting license is required.
WHERE DO I FIND AVAILABLE PUBLIC LAND?
Everything you need to know about hunting on public lands
Types of public land available: (Note hunting is not allowed in National Parks, National monuments, and wildlife refuges.)
*no hunting allowed recreation only
National Wildlife Refuges
*certain types of hunting allowed
|National Conservation Lands|
|National Forests and Grasslands||National Scenic and Historic Trails||National Historic Sites and Parks|
National Marine Sanctuaries
*certain types of hunting allowed
|National Monuments||National Recreation Areas|
|Wild and Scenic Rivers||Wilderness||Wilderness Study Area|
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED HUNTING PUBLIC LAND?
Anyone looking to start hunting on public land must first attain a valid State hunting license and any applicable land use permit, sometimes required for access to a specific piece of land. Anyone venturing out on to public land should also be familiar with first aid, CPR and basic hunters safety. Prepare yourself in the event of an emergency by having the three survival basics on hand at all times: FIRE, SHELTER, WATER.
OTHER TYPES OF RECREATION AVAILABLE ON PUBLIC LAND
|Generally allowed on all
public land and waters,
|Generally allowed on
public lands outside
|Generally limited to undesignated
National Forests and
|HUNTING||ALL WILDERNESS ACTIVITIES||CONSTRUCTION|
|CEREMONY AND PRAYER||OFF-ROAD VEHICLES||LOGGING|
|ROCK CLIMBING||RV's||ENERGY DEVELOPMENT|
|WILDLIFE VIEWING||MOTOR BOATS|
CONSERVING PUBLIC LAND FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Hunting conservation is a major part of ensuring our nations public land remains available for use to many future generations. Hunters play an important role in conserving public land by providing funds for wildlife management and conservation. Hunters also work with state wildlife agencies to manage big game herd sizes. There are many hunting conservation organizations out there. One conservation organization we support and recommend you check out for further information on hunting conservation is the RMEF
1. Kevin Neal, What do we mean by public lands?, (https://www.wilderness.org/sites/default/files/media/file/Module%201%20-%20Reading.pdf, 2022)
2. Unknown, Everything you need to know about hunting on public lands, (https://www.doi.gov/blog/everything-you-need-know-about-hunting-public-lands, 9/1/2017)