what are the hunting seasons?

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.