Hunting Laws, Regulations and Wildlife Identification

  1. Hunting Regulations
    • Reasons for hunting laws/regulations and who regulates/legislates
    • Resources for locating current hunting regulations
  2. Wildlife Identification

Teaching Tools

  • Why hunting laws and regulations are important
    • Teaching Tip: Have local wildlife enforcement officers and game wardens come to class to talk with students about laws and regulations, share experiences, and field questions.
    • Teaching Tip: Show blown-up shipping barrels, shot-up signs, pictures of poached and wasted deer, and quotes from famous people involved in firearm accidents to stress the need for laws and regulations.
  • Include a current copy of your state's regulations with all student packages or pass it out in each class
    • Teaching Tip: Outline the major parts of your state's hunting regulations. Lead a discussion on the importance of reviewing these each year as you plan your hunt, being alert to any changes in the laws.
  • Develop scenarios where students must use the regulations to determine if a shot is legal or not
    • Teaching Tip: Identify the top ten violations for your state. Then develop a story of a hunt where all 10 violations occur. Ask students to identify what hunters did wrong.
    • Teaching Tip: Develop a scenario with the silhouette of a deer with its head behind a tree. Ask students if this is a legal shot or not? Use local regulations to answer the question, is it a buck or doe, which is a legal shot for a particular area or date.

Each year, a few people embarrass themselves and all hunters by shooting the wrong animals. Statements like, "I just thought that moose was a really big deer" or, "How are you supposed to tell one duck from another?" have caused some people to demand that hunting be abolished. Fortunately, the vast majority of hunters study wildlife identification, so they are competent hunters. Every hunter needs to know how to identify native species and even non-native wildlife that might have escaped.

Even without antlers, do you know the difference between elk and moose, between mule deer and white-tailed deer or between ducks with different bag limits? You must know these differences to hunt legally and follow game laws.

Importance of Wildlife Identification Skills

  • Teaching Tip: Using pictures of different animals, have students identify what the wildlife is and if it can be hunted and when. Also ask if a shot can be taken or not and why.
  • Teaching Tip: Use animal hides, antlers, horns, skulls and other hands-on materials to stress wildlife identification. Scraps of hides can often be obtained from local taxidermists.
  • Teaching Tip: Use shed antlers and horns as a visual aid.

Use Wildlife Pictures and Sound Clips

  • Teaching Tip: Use radio controlled animal and predator call during a walking trail to see if students can identify the animals.
  • Teaching Tip: Develop a field skills trail with silhouettes of big and small game animals for students to identify. Use these in conjunction with shoot/don’t shoot scenarios.
  • Teaching Tip: Use video examples of animals and have students identify each type of animal that is known to be in their local area.. Use these same examples and ask students to identify which animals can be harvested during various hunting seasons.
  • Teaching Tip: Use pictures of local animals and have a discussion on the signs of wildlife management techniques and the success it can have.
  • Teaching Aid: Attach patches of different animal hides to a display board and allow students to feel the different furs and identify what animal they came from.

Additional Resources

HE Tools

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

IHEA Guide to Wildlife Identification