North American hunting pre-dates the United States by thousands of years and was an important part of many pre-Columbian Native American cultures. Native Americans retain some hunting rights and are exempt from some laws as part of Indian treaties and otherwise under federal law—examples include eagle feather laws and exemptions in the Mammal Protection Act. This is considered particularly important in Alaskan native communities.
Hunting is primarily regulated by state law; additional regulations are imposed through United States environmental law in the case of migratory birds and endangered species. Regulations vary widely from state to state and govern the areas, time periods, techniques and methods by which specific game animals may be hunted. Some states make a distinction between protected species and unprotected species (often vermin or varmints for which there are no hunting regulations). Hunters of protected species require a hunting license in all states, for which completion of a hunting safety course is sometimes a prerequisite.
Typically, game animals are divided into several categories for regulatory purposes. Typical categories, along with example species, are as follows.