Bowhunting doesn’t only happen in the fall. It’s a year-round activity, so there’s always a way to get outside with your bow.
How to find hunting opportunities in your state
Hunting seasons vary widely by your location and the species you’re interested in pursuing.
Find out what’s in season where you live by visiting your state wildlife agency’s website. When you reach the website’s home page, look for the hunting section. Website layouts are as unique as game laws, but there should be a page for hunting seasons. When you open that page, you’ll see the seasons that are open for hunting each game animal.
If you have trouble navigating the game laws, don’t feel discouraged. You can always find an experienced bowhunter at your local archery club and of course your archery shop is always happy to help. You can also give your state wildlife agency a call for clarification.
Here are some wild game options you might find in your home state.
Predators, like coyotes, have liberal seasons and bag limits. If you have coyotes where you live, you can likely hunt them throughout the winter and into the spring.
To hunt coyotes, you’ll need a predator call and a portable blind. The basic tactic is to set up your blind near an area that coyotes frequent and then use your predator call to mimic the sound of an injured animal. You’ll have the best luck hunting around dusk because coyotes are mainly nocturnal.
If you live in a state with feral hogs, you’re in luck. These animals offer fun bowhunting with tasty rewards. Because this invasive species wreck crops and harm ground-nesting birds, you can hunt feral hogs and feel good knowing that you’ve helped your local eco-system.
Hunting hogs is a lot like hunting deer. Start by scouting your hunting area for hog signs and trails. Set up your treestand or ground blind in a good location and patiently wait for a shot opportunity. Use scent management techniques like watching the wind direction and wearing rubber boots. Hogs have poor eyesight, but their nose is excellent at sniffing out danger.
Sometimes good things come in small packages. Small-game hunting is a ton of fun because it offers ample shot opportunities and delicious table fare. It’s also excellent practice for hunting big-game animals because it requires many of the same skills such as stalking, butchering, shot placement and reading sign.
Every year antlered animals like elk and deer lose their antlers. It’s a natural process that corresponds to a drop in testosterone levels after the rut. Searching for these antlers is called shed hunting, and it’s a favorite off-season activity for many bowhunters. Even though searching for shed antlers doesn’t produce delicious meat, it’s a lot of fun and is the perfect way to scout for next year.
Spring into Hunting
After a long winter, gobbling turkeys and spawning carp will await us. Bowfishing and spring turkey season make spring one of the best seasons for bowhunters. Even though both are several months away, now is the time to start scouting, asking for private land permission and making sure you have the gear you need.
Gear up for all your off-season adventures at your local archery shop. Find one near you, here.