A “hunting season” is the time when it is legal to hunt and kill a particular kind of animal.
Because of the large role hunting has in wildlife management, hunting seasons are dependent on the type of animal, the environment, and animal characteristics like mating season. Hunting seasons are determined on a state-by-state basis by wildlife biologists who study animal populations. Local laws also can have an effect on the season (for example, some states don’t allow hunting on Sundays).
In general, though, archery season for deer begins in late September through early October, with firearms season following in late October and November. Deer season can continue through February in some states. Turkey is frequently hunted in the spring, in April or May, but may also be hunted in the fall in some areas. Migratory waterfowl hunting tends to open in late September and early October. Upland birds, such as grouse, are frequently hunted through the fall.
Pest animals—such as wild hogs or some species of squirrel—can often be hunted year-round.
Some terms to know are “open season” and “closed season.” An “open season” is the time when a species may be legally hunted. It is typically when the population is at its highest and avoids peak breeding season. A “closed season” is when hunters are not legally able to hunt that species. A season may be closed for several reasons, including food shortages, extreme temperatures, and low population numbers.
It is illegal to hunt during a closed season and is known as “poaching.”
In order to find out the dates of your desired hunting season, consult your state’s fish and wildlife agency or check out www.wheretohunt.org.
Tree stands are a great way to take your hunt to the next level, but they also come with new dangers. Watch the video below for a refresher on how to stay safe in your tree stand.
Tree Stand Hunting Safety
Here’s a recap:
Unload your rifle and use a haul line to get your equipment safely into the stand. Always keep the firearm pointed away from you.
Wear your fall-arrest system from the time you leave the ground until you are back on the ground. This can include:
If you do fall, use your suspension relief strap and keep your legs moving.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions every time you use your tree stand.
A great recipe when your hunt doesn’t take you too far from home.
Makes 4 to 6 servings; approximately 385 calories.
Prep time: 1 ½ hours. Cook time: 1 ½ hours.
4 dressed squirrels, cut into pieces
2 quarts water
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. salt (divided)
2 tsp. vinegar
⅓ c. all-purpose flour
⅛ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. whole fresh mushrooms
1 c. chicken broth
¼ c. sherry
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. seasoned salt
2-3 drops red pepper hot sauce
In a large bowl, combine squirrel meat, water, 1 tablespoon salt, and vinegar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for an hour. Drain, discarding the liquid. Pat meat dry and set aside.
Heat oven to 350℉. In a large plastic bag, combine flour, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper. Shake to mix. Add meat, shaking to coat evenly.
Heat a large skillet to medium-low. Add butter and oil and allow butter to melt. Turn heat to medium-high and add seasoned meat, browning each piece evenly. Transfer browned meat and pan drippings to a 3-quart casserole dish. Add mushrooms. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, and red pepper hot sauce. Pour liquid mixture over mushrooms and meat. Cover casserole dish with foil and bake until meat is tender, approximately 1½ hours.
Before you have a successful hunt, you have to get to your hunting spot safely. Do you know what to do when you’re loading your firearm into your truck?
How To Safely Transport Firearms
Always remember the primary rules of firearm safety: Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Make sure the safety is on and unload your firearm, remembering to check the action. Then put your firearm in its case. Remember to store your rifle or shotgun in the back seat or trunk of the vehicle. It’s a bad idea to display your firearm in a window gun rack—you’re just telling thieves what great gear you have! Be sure to know your state’s regulations for transporting firearms.
On the topic of gear, put some thought into the kind of case you will use. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type: Gun socks are lightweight but offer minimal protection; padded, soft-sided cases are light, but only offer a moderate amount of protection; and hard cases are sturdy but heavy. Buy the right gear to match your needs and your firearm.