What is a Hunting Tag?

What is a Hunting Tag?

In the United States, hunting is an activity governed by many government regulations. The state manages wildlife and this is funded through the sale of hunting tags and hunting licenses. Their state game agencies decide who can hunt, where they can hunt, when they can hunt, and what they can hunt.

These regulations and requirements very often change on an annual basis, and they are published both in print and online. Each state has different rules and the hunter must review the regulations until they are fully familiar with the relevant and most up-to-date laws.

A hunting license, in general, allows a hunter to participate in the sport of hunting in a specific state. A small-game hunting license is usually all that is required for small game. However, to hunt big game, you usually need to have a big game hunting license as well as licenses or tags for the particular species that you choose to hunt. A relevant analogy would be having to pay for an entry fee to a fairground, and then having to pay for each ride you wanted to go on. 

Sometimes, hunting tags or licenses are attached to the carcass of an animal after it has been killed. A tag may come with a slew of legal provisions, such as being valid only for a particular sex of an animal, having particular dates for which it is legal, firearms limitations, and being unavailable for purchase until the hunting season begins. This stops hunters from shooting animals for the sake of ease and then trying to buy a tag afterwards. It is, therefore, important that you look at the hunting regulations of your state before planning to go out on a hunt, so that you are completely prepared.  Ignorance is no excuse!

Residents vs. Non Residents hunting licenses and tags

When it comes to the selling of hunting licenses and hunting tags, all states separate hunters into two groups: residents and non-residents. Non-resident hunters are usually charged significantly higher license fees than residents, and have fewer hunting opportunities. For example, in Oregon, an annual hunting license for a resident of the state is $34.50 and for a non-resident, it is $172. A tag for a rocky mountain goat for a resident is $142 for residents, but a massive $1513,50 [source].

The different types of tags

There are different types of hunting tags; which one you will need depends on what you want to hunt.

Over the counter tags

Over-the-counter tags are the most common and readily available form of hunting tag. These tags are authorized for animals that are prevalent enough in a given state to cope with extensive hunting. Over-the-counter licenses are available almost everywhere, including sporting goods shops, online retailers, fish and wildlife offices, and some gas stations. They are simple enough to purchase, as long as you meet the requirements.

Electronic tags

Many states, now including Oregon, issue electronic tags. The hunter is now required to supply their own tags to attach the proper information to all big game harvests to stay within legal requirements and use these in conjunction with a cellphone app. Hunt-Tag has tag kits to help to simplify this process for you.

Draw tags or limited availability tags

These are for hunts where the state wishes to limit the total number of people who can enter into a hunt. A state may restrict the number of tags available for a particular hunt for a myriad of reasons, but it is usually for one of the following:

  1. They want hunts to be of the best quality with fewer hunters in the competition. This means that animals will survive longer and are more likely to reach trophy-class proportions.
  1. The demand for tags far exceeds the availability of the hunted animal.

State game agencies will use a lottery or draw and distribute these tags. Very simply, the names of all interested hunters are placed into the draw, from which a few names are picked at random and a tag is awarded to those individuals. However, some states reward loyal and returning customers by increasing their chances of being chosen, using points or a preference system. 
In a standard preference system, the applicants with the most points, referred to as maximum point holders, would draw their tags first, followed by the people with the second highest numbers of points and so on. As a result, higher point holders are given priority.

Bonus points are also accumulated annually. This works in a way that means that your name is drawn an additional number of times each time you apply. If you have been applying for eight years, for example, you would have eight hands in the draw.

One thing to remember is that every state differs. Some states, such as Alaska, do not have any sort of points or preference system, so every applicant, regardless of how long they have been entering into the draw, has the same chance of ‘winning’ a hunting tag.

Landowner tags

Landowner tags are another form of big game tag. They are usually reserved for hunters with large budgets. A landowner tag essentially allows you to purchase a big game tag that would usually only be available via a draw.
The idea behind this form of hunting tag is that they encourage landowners to be especially mindful of the land that they own. In return for the landowner providing an important area for wildlife to live, the state grants them a number of big game tags proportional to the size and the quality of the land that they own. The landowner then has the choice to sell the tags as they deem appropriate.

Governor’s tags

A governor's tag comes with extra benefits, such as extended seasons or hunting areas, and are normally granted to the highest bidder in an auction. 

As mentioned above, it is crucial that before you think about going out to hunt that you check up on the state’s requirements for a hunting license and tags, and ensure that you have the correct information to avoid any nasty surprises.

About Hunt-Tag

Hunt-Tag is a small Oregon based company that started as a result of hunting regulation changes in the state of Oregon in 2019. Oregon is in the process of moving to an electronic tagging process (e-tagging) with the use of an app on your smartphone. This change required hunters to supply their own tags to attach the proper information to all big game harvests in order to stay legal. Hunt-Tag designed a kit to aid hunters in this change. Now, Hunt-Tag is offering tagging kits for other states that use an electronic tagging system. Each tagging kit is designed with the specific information required by each state. The purpose of our Hunt-Tag kits is to simplify the process, so hunters can enjoy the success of their hunt without worrying about how to properly tag their harvests. 

Hunt-Tag System: E-Tag Kit

Customer Success Program

We love to share in the success of our friends and customers because we know it does not always come easy. As a way to give back to everyone that shares their harvest pictures and stories with us we will be offering 1 FREE Hunt-Tag Single. Send us your success stories and harvest pics through email at info@hunt-tag.com, Instagram, or Facebook. We will also be having a yearly Hunt-Tag Best Photo Contest so if you get some good angles you could WIN some free gear too!

We have been getting pictures and stories sent in from all over the country of some hard earned harvests. Everything from spring bear and turkey seasons, antelope and early archery, to rifle deer and elk seasons our customers have been putting some miles on their boots, food in their freezers, and Hunt-Tags on some horns. Congratulations to all those hunters that have been successful.

Thank you for trusting Hunt-Tag on your adventure. We love getting pictures like these and are thankful for the chance to be a small part of a story that will be told in many hunting camps for years to come.

Hunt-Tag Customer Success Program photo contest winner from the 2020 hunting season