There’s Only One Place In The World Where You Can Legally Hunt Dinosaurs

Get in loser, we're going dinosaur hunting.


Rachael Funnell


Rachael Funnell

Writer & Senior Digital Producer

Rachael is a writer and digital content producer at IFLScience with a Zoology degree from the University of Southampton, UK, and a nose for novelty animal stories.

Writer & Senior Digital Producer

Edited by Laura Simmons
Laura Simmons - Editor and Staff Writer

Laura Simmons

Editor and Staff Writer

Laura is an editor and staff writer at IFLScience. She obtained her Master's in Experimental Neuroscience from Imperial College London.

vernal utah dinosaur statue

Utah is the only place you can get a license, but it doesn’t guarantee you any success.

Image credit: Ken Lund via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

If you want to hunt dinosaurs, Vernal in Utah is the only place in the world where you can do it legally. That’s because they offer official dinosaur hunting licenses, but if you get one, we still can’t guarantee you any success.

Vernal began issuing dinosaur hunting licenses back in 1951, reports The Museum of Hoaxes, after Tenney T Johnson’s idea got picked up by the Vernal Chamber of Commerce who started handing them out to around 60,000 tourists a year.


Hunting is a controversial pastime and as director of Jurassic Park Steven Spielberg can attest, people can get very passionate about it even when the slain animal is *checks notes* a prop triceratops. If you like the sound of a dinosaur hunt, it’s important to note that there still are some rules:

  • This license entitles the holder to hunt, pursue, shoot, kill and remove from that area known as Dinosaur Control Area of Uintah County [...] the following types of reptilian wild game.
  • A. TYRANNOSAURUS REX – 1 only (adult male).
  • B. DIPLODOCUS GIGANTICUS – 1 only (either sex) and not less than 5,000 pounds live weight.
  • C. STEGOSAURS – 2 only (males) any size.
  • D. PTERODACTYLI – 4 only (without young).

While the license grants the holder a green light to hunt in Vernal, to date, no dinosaurs have died. But you never know… 

Vernal is a special place palaeontologically speaking, home to the Dinosaur National Monument. At over 80,940 hectares (200,000 acres) it extends from Utah into Colorado, and has been nicknamed "Dinosaurland".

The first dinosaur bones discovered here were found by Earl Douglass in 1909. Since then, thousands of fossils have been found belonging to Stegosaurus, Diplodocus, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Camarasaurus. You can see some embedded in the Wall Of Bones, and even touch some fossils dating back 150 million years.


And if you happen to spot a dinosaur while you’re exploring Utah’s ancient natural history? Just make sure you have your license handy…


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