November 11, 2021 10 min read
Millions of Americans prepare for hunting season every year, hoping to return home with enough meat to fill the freezer. However, every state has different laws and regulations regarding hunting seasons. There are many critical variables to consider, including who is allowed to hunt, which age groups, which species you can hunt, how long the season lasts and which hunting weapons are allowed. Follow this complete 50-state guide to deer hunting seasons in the United States for the 2021-2022 period and never miss a hunting day.
For most hunters in the U.S., hunting season refers to deer hunting. In most regions, the fall season signals the opening of big game hunting season, as it roughly corresponds with the start of the breeding period (also known as the rut). However, many local environmental factorscan change when the rut starts, and each state adapts its hunting season accordingly. The primary reason behind modern hunting seasons is wildlife conservation. If the deer population within a particular area is too high,they may cause overgrazing, depriving many small animals of nesting habitats.
What is a limiting factor? A limiting factor is a biological term referring to an element that reduces the population of a given species in a specific area. They include natural circumstances like disease, food, water supply fluctuations, predators and human factors like hunting and urban development. By allowing people to hunt within a designated period, the deer population in each surveyed area can be maintained at a healthy level, protecting it from the damages of overpopulation.
If you’reeager to start placing your deer blinds, you’ll need to know about your state’s deer season periods. Here is a complete list of deer hunting seasons for the 2021-2022 period.
Alabama divides the state into five zones for deer hunting. Each zone has its own rules and hunting periods. Refer to theAlabama wildlife conservation website for more details.
Alaska deer season opens on August 1 and closes on December 31. Hunters may not hunt deer or any other big game species with archery weapons and muzzleloaders.
Deer hunting in Arizona is delineated into five categories:
Statewide deer season opening dates depend on your hunting weapon:
Arkansas isdivided into 20 hunting zones, each with its season end dates and restrictions by weapon and age group.
The Golden State’s deer season opens on August 14 and closes on November 7. A second archery-only period begins on July 10 and ends on October 2. Like many other states,California divides its land into hunting zones. Inside each zone, specific localities may impose different start and end dates.
General deer hunting season dates in Colorado are:
Note that specific deer and elkspecies may be subjected to different start and end dates.
Deerhunters looking to place their hunting ground blinds in Connecticut must follow these start and end dates:
Delaware divides its deer season into several categories. Even within a designated deer season, hunting on Sundays is typically illegal:
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission divides the state into four zones, some possessing multiple subzones. Each area is further divided by hunting weapon and species, with dates for each combination.
General deer season dates in the Peach State are:
There are no white-tailed deer in Hawaii. Instead, you will find black-tailed deer on Kauai and axis deer on Maui, Lanai and Molokai. Black-tailed deer may be hunted year-round, while axis deer season runs from February to March. Visit theHawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife website for more details.
Idaho deer season is open to hunters of all categories from October 10 to December 1.
The Prairie State divides its deer season into these categories:
Indiana deer hunting seasons are as follows:
Iowa offers numerous opportunities for deer hunters:
Kansas has two deer seasons: a general deer season divided into subgroups and a whitetail antlerless-only (WAO) season. General deer season dates:
WAO season starts on January 1 statewide and ends on January 9, 16 or 23, depending on the locality.Check your local laws for more details.
The Bluegrass State divides its deer hunting season into six groups:
Although hunting season generally starts on September 18 and ends on February 15, theLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries divides the state into ten hunting areas and five different categories, each with its own dates.
Deer hunting in Maine includes four periods by weapon type, plus two special days:
Deer season in Maryland includes white-tailed and sika deer and is open to hunters with firearms, muzzleloaders, archery weapons and primitive weapons. The state is divided intomultiple management regions, each with its own dates, bag limits and antlered or antlerless restrictions. Specific counties may also impose restrictions on Sunday hunting.
Massachusetts is unique forprohibiting hunters from using rifles and handguns, leaving archery, shotguns and primitive firearms as the only options for local hunters.
Regular deer hunting season in Michigan is divided into six categories:
Deer hunters in the Gopher State have many opportunities:
Although deer season generally opens on October 1 and ends in February,deer hunting in Mississippi is subjected to complex regulations based on the buck’s antler sizes, a hunting region system and your choice of hunting implements.
If you’re looking to hunt deer in Missouri, here are the dates to know:
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks organizationdivides the state into hunting districts (HD). Districts 150, 151, 280 and 316 are considered backcountry districts for deer and elk hunting, subject to their own dates.
Deer hunters in Nebraska, aka the Cornhusker state must know the following dates:
Nevada is one of the rare few states without a significant white-tailed deer population. Instead, you’ll find opportunities to hunt elk and mule deer.
New Hampshire is notable for allowing Sunday hunting. White-tailed deer hunters should know the following dates:
Deer hunting season in New Jersey is divided into two categories, with one day in each devoted to youth hunters:
New Mexico has three deer seasons: a general season for all hunters, two archery-only periods and a muzzleloader-only period.
Deer hunters in New York must follow the hunting laws and regulations applicable to their local Wildlife Management Unit and hunting weapon of choice.Check the table on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website for specific dates.
Hunters looking for deer in North Carolina can look forward to these dates:
Deer season in North Dakota includes both white-tailed and mule deer.
Although deer hunting season dates apply nationwide, individual counties have varying bag limits, ranging from two to four deer. Check your local county’s laws for more details.
With anestimated deer population of approximately 650,000, Oklahoma has no shortage of opportunities for deer hunters.
Depending on the county and hunting weapon, deer hunting in Oregon mayrequire a special permit.
As with many other states, the Pennsylvania Game Commission divides the state territory into multiple wildlife management units (WMU), creating many combinations of areas, species, legal hunting weapons and other circumstances, each with its own season dates. Consult the PGC’sseasons and bag limits page for more information.
Deer hunting on Rhode Island is allowed only by lottery permit, and only muzzleloaders, archery weapons and shotguns loaded with slugs may be used. The state is divided into four zones, andeach combination of zone and legal hunting weapon has its own dates.
If you’re planning to go deer hunting in the Palmetto State,check which Game Zone your county belongs to before consulting this calendar:
South Dakota divides deer hunting season dates by region and hunting weapon, formingeleven different start and end dates.
The Volunteer State offers many opportunities to hunt deer, from late summer until mid-winter.
White-tailed deer hunters in the Lone Star State can look forward to the following dates:
Utah’s deer season dates are:
In addition to bagging no more than four deer per year, including one legal buck, there are strict limits on hunting antlerless deer and hunting within the seasonal dates, which include:
If you plan to go on a deer hunt in Virginia, theapplicable season dates depend on your weapon of choice and the local county or wildlife management area.
Washington state is divided into six Game Management Units, withdates for each combination of weapon, hunter age group and location.
Hunters from the Mountain State may go deer hunting on the following dates:
Hunters in Wisconsin may use the following calendar for deer hunting:
Deer hunters in Wyoming may hunt both white-tailed and mule deer. The state is divided into hunting areas,each possessing different dates depending on hunting weapon, deer type and whether the land is public or private.
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