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Buying Fishing Licenses at Dunhams: Everything You Need to Know

For many anglers, the excitement of fishing season is dampened by the confusion and hassle of obtaining a fishing license. Where do you buy one? What do you need to bring? How much will it cost? If you’re planning to purchase your fishing license at a Dunham’s Sports store, you’ve come to the right place.

As an avid angler with years of experience navigating the licensing process, I’m here to provide a comprehensive guide on how and where to get your fishing license at Dunham’s. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to get licensed and on the water with minimal fuss. Let’s dive in!

Fishing License Basics

Before we get into the specifics of buying a license at Dunham’s, let’s cover some fishing license fundamentals. In most states, anyone 16 years of age or older needs a valid fishing license to legally fish in public waters. Licenses are required whether you’re fishing in freshwater lakes and rivers or in the ocean.

The main types of fishing licenses are:

  • Annual licenses: Valid for a full year, usually from the date of purchase
  • Short-term licenses: Available in durations like 1-day, 7-day, 15-day, etc. Great for vacations or occasional anglers.
  • Resident vs non-resident: States offer different license types and fees for residents vs visitors
  • Saltwater vs freshwater: Some states have separate licenses for fishing in salt and fresh water

Age requirements and exemptions vary by state. Seniors, children, disabled individuals and military veterans may be eligible for free or discounted licenses. Always check your state’s specific regulations.

Fishing license costs depend on the state and license type, but generally range from $10 to $50 for residents and $30 to $100 for non-residents. Annual licenses are the most cost-effective option for frequent anglers.

Buying Fishing Licenses at Dunham’s Locations

Now that you understand the basics, let’s talk about getting your license at Dunham’s Sports. Dunham’s sells fishing licenses at select store locations in several states:

  • Iowa: Sioux City
  • Kansas: Emporia, Hutchinson, Liberal, Salina
  • Michigan: Over 60 locations across the state
  • Pennsylvania: Over 30 locations (except North Versailles)
  • South Dakota: Aberdeen, Brookings, Watertown, Yankton
  • Wisconsin: Brookfield, Wausau, West Allis

If you live in one of these states, chances are there’s a Dunham’s near you that sells fishing licenses. Use the store locator on the Dunham’s website to find the closest participating location.

When visiting Dunham’s to get your license, be sure to bring:

  • Valid driver’s license or state ID to prove residency if applying for a resident license
  • Social security number may be required
  • Cash, check or credit card for payment

Fishing licenses are typically sold during regular store hours at the customer service desk or hunting/fishing department. For your convenience, try to go at off-peak times to avoid long lines. Call ahead if you have any questions about hours or requirements.

Dunham’s Fishing Departments

In addition to fishing licenses, Dunham’s Sports stores have well-stocked fishing departments to supply all your angling needs. You’ll find a wide selection of rods, reels, lures, live bait, fishing line, nets, tackle storage and more from top brands. They also carry waders, fishing vests, and other fishing apparel.

Dunham’s even sells fishing kayaks and boats if you’re looking to upgrade your watercraft. Check the website and weekly ad for current sales, promotions and coupons to save on gear. Join the free Dunham’s Rewards program for additional discounts.

The knowledgeable associates in the fishing department can help you select the right equipment and accessories for the species and techniques you plan to fish. Don’t hesitate to tap into their local expertise!

State-Specific Fishing Regulations

A fishing license is just the beginning – to stay legal and avoid fines, it’s critical to know and follow the fishing regulations where you wet a line. Each state sets its own rules governing seasons, daily catch limits, size restrictions, approved baits and lures, boating requirements and more.

These regulations are based on scientific research and are designed to protect fish populations and ensure sustainable fisheries for the future. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so be sure to read up before you go fishing.

Some common regulations include:

  • Daily bag limits: How many fish of each species you’re allowed to keep per day
  • Minimum/maximum size limits: The length a fish must be to legally harvest
  • Seasons: Certain species and waters are open to fishing only during specific dates
  • Gear restrictions: Limits on hooks, lines, sinkers, and types of bait or lures

Regulations can vary by water body within a state, so pay attention to any special rules for the specific lake, river or area you plan to fish. Regulations also change periodically, so check for updates each year.

You can find a complete guide to your state’s current fishing regulations on their fish and wildlife agency website. Many states also publish printed regulation booklets available at license vendors and sporting goods stores. When in doubt, err on the side of caution or ask a local game warden for clarification.

Properly Using Your Fishing License

Congratulations, you’ve got your fishing license in hand! Here are a few final tips for using it responsibly:

  • Sign your license and keep it on you at all times while fishing
  • If your license comes as a printable PDF, consider laminating it or putting it in a zip-top bag to protect it from the elements
  • Read the fine print and make note of any special terms and conditions
  • Be prepared to show your license to a game warden or other authority if asked
  • In some states, you may need to register your catch online or at a check station after fishing

Fishing without a license or with an expired/invalid license can result in hefty fines and even arrest. Don’t risk it! If you move or lose your license, contact your state fish and wildlife agency to update your address or request a duplicate license.


Buying a fishing license at Dunham’s Sports is a simple process that will have you fishing legally in no time. Just remember these key points:

  • Check if your local Dunham’s sells licenses using the store locator
  • Bring ID and payment when you go to make your purchase
  • Study up on your state’s fishing regulations and always keep your license with you when fishing
  • Take advantage of the gear and expertise in Dunham’s fishing department while you’re there

By following this guide and supporting retailers like Dunham’s that make licensing more convenient, you’re doing your part as a responsible angler. Your fishing license dollars go right back into conservation, fish stocking, water access and habitat improvement projects that benefit the entire fishing community.

So what are you waiting for? Get licensed, grab your rod and go catch some fish! Visit your nearest Dunham’s Sports store to get started.

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