How Much it Costs to Start Deer Hunting in Every State

Hunting is a great way to experience the outdoors in a new, intimate way. Nothing connects you with landscapes the same way hunting does. Deer hunting is a very accessible activity for most United States residents. Every state in the United States has a deer hunting season, so matter where you live there is a hunting option close to you.

If you are interested in deer hunting but are unsure what the costs are this article will give you a reasonable estimate of how much your first deer season will cost and how much subsequent seasons will cost. You’ll also get an overview of how much it will cost to hunt in 50 states as a resident or a non-resident.

The author with an Idaho whitetail buck.

Deer Hunting Costs

A lot of companies make a lot of money from selling hunting equipment. But if you’re hunting close to home there are probably only two purchases you need to make to hunt deer. First, you need to have a hunting license (and maybe a deer tag, depending on the state you’re hunting). This is your legal pass to hunt deer. Second, you need a legal weapon you can use to harvest a deer.

Let’s briefly discuss deer hunting weapons first. Many articles have been written on this. I’m simply going to sum up the expected range to get a reliable weapon that will serve you well for many years of hunting. I’ll let you do more research on the specific weapon that is suitable for your hunting and legal in your hunting area.

Rifles (and shotguns) and archery equipment are the most popular deer hunting weapons. A reliable rifle or bow is going to cost about $400-$700. For this price, you can get a brand new budget rifle or bow, or a higher-end used product.

You’ll also need to purchase ammunition or arrows. Centerfire rifle ammunition is going to cost about $30-$60 for 20 cartridges. You need at least two boxes. One (minimum) to practice and sight in your rifle and another for hunting. Plan to spend about $100 on ammunition.

A dozen arrows will cost $60-$120. Plus about $50 for broadheads. Plan for about $100. That keeps the costs for ammunition and arrows about the same.

All told, you can get set up with a budget-friendly hunting weapon for about $500.

If you already have a suitable hunting weapon, this is a cost you won’t even have to worry about.

Deer Hunting License and Tag Costs in Each State

In the United States, each state sets its own price for resident and nonresident deer hunting licenses and tags. Deer hunting license and tag costs for resident hunters range from $18 in South Carolina to $95 in Arizona and from $81 in Rhode Island to $615 in Oregon for nonresident hunters.

The table below lists each state’s price for deer hunting licenses and tags for resident and nonresident hunters.

StateLicense Cost
Tag Cost
Bag LimitTotal Cost
(1 Deer)
Alabama$28.50/$329.703 Antlered per season/
1 Antlerless per day
Arkansas$35.00/$350.003-5 Deer per season/
2 Antlered per season
(State land fee)
Delaware$39.50/$199.50$20.00/$50.002 Antlered per season/
Unlimited antlerless
Florida$17.00/$151.50$5.00/$5.005 Deer per season/
2 Antlerless per season
Georgia$45.00/$325.002 Antlered per season/
10 Antlerless per season
Hawaii$20.00/$105.00Varies by Island
and Species
Varies by Island
and Species
Iowa$22.00/$144.00$33.00/$149.50 (Antlerless) $348.50 (Antlered)1+ (depends on zone)$55.00/$293.50+
Kansas$27.50/$97.50$22.50-52.50 /$52.50-$442.501+ (depends on zone and season)$50.00-80.00/$150.00-540.00
Lousiana$20.00/$200.00$15.00/$100.006 (Max 3 Antlered, Max 4 Antlerless)$35.00/$300.00
Mississippi$25.00/$300.00-/$5.003 Antlered,
5 Antlerless
New Hampshire$32.00/$113.001$32.00/$113.00
New Jersey$27.50/$135.501$27.50/$135.50
New Mexico$15.00/$65.00$41.00/$283.001$56.00/$348.00
New York$22.00/$100.001$22.00/$100.00
North Carolina$39.00/$200.006 (Max 2 Antlered$39.00/$200.00
North Dakota$21.00/$22.00$30.00/$255.001$51.00/$277.00
Ohio$19.00/$180.96$31.20/$76.966 (Max 1 Antlered)$50.20/$257.92
Oklahoma$25.00/$280.00$20.00/-6 (Max 2 Antlered)$45.00/$280.00
Pennsylvania$20.97/101.971 (additional permits available)$20.97/101.97
Rhode Island$21.00/$55.00$13.00/$26.502 Antlered,
1+ Antlerless
South Carolina$18.00/$225.00-/$503 Antlered,
2 Antlerless
South Dakota$40.00/$286.001$40.00/$286.00
Tennessee$66.00/$305.002-3 Antlered,
1+ Antlerless
Texas$25.00/$315.001+ Antlered,
1+ Antlerless
Vermont$28.00/$102.004 (Max 1 Antlered)$28.00/$102.00
Virginia$23.00/$111.00$23.00/$86.005 (Max 2 Antlered)$46.00/$197.00
West Virginia$19.00/$119.00$10.00/$27.001-2 Antlered,
1-3 Antlerless

Cost to purchase a hunting license and deer tag in each state. The cost is in US Dollars. Other fees, and exceptions to regular fees, may apply. Information in this table may not be up-to-date as regulations and pricing structures are subject to change. Special regulations may apply in certain areas of each state.

Total Cost to Hunt Deer

We’ve now priced in the two essential items to hunt deer a license (and/or tag) and a weapon. For resident hunters, the total cost to hunt deer will range from $518 – $595, depending on the state you live in. For nonresident hunters, the total cost to hunt deer will range from $581 – $1115 depending on the state you hunt.

As you can see, deer hunting (for residents) can be quite affordable, especially if you already have access to a weapon. There is a lot of other hunting gear you can buy to make you more comfortable and efficient while hunting, but none of it is necessary. Just be sure you have the equipment you need to be safe in the situations you are hunting. I’ll discuss this a little more in the next section.

Other Important Deer Hunting Gear

Safety for yourself and others should be your primary concern when hunting. The elements (weather) are the most dangerous thing you will encounter while hunting. Always be sure you have appropriate clothing to be safe (warm, dry, hydrated, cool – depending on the season and location) while hunting. Also, knowing where you are and how to get to help (or just back to where you started) will keep you out of dangerous situations. There are many free navigation apps you can use to make sure you can find your way and some paid apps that offer more hunting-specific features.

A Final Word

Deer hunting is a great way to experience the outdoors. Hunting gives you a connection to nature that is deeper than simply hiking or exploring because when you hunt you have to understand the patterns of nature. As you can see, getting started with deer hunting is quite affordable. Always be sure to review regulations for your state and hunting unit from your state’s official regulations before huting.

Konrad Hafen

Konrad is a natural resource scientist who spends much of his free time hunting, fishing, hiking and backpacking on America's public lands.

Recent Posts