Whether you are aiming to put a trophy on the wall, put meat in the freezer, or embark on the bowhunting adventure of a lifetime, this guide is a good first step toward reaching your goals. In this overview of bowhunting opportunities throughout North America, we cover seasons (archery and others popular with bowhunters in the region), basic regulations, and information about the most popular species for each state, province, or territory. Where forecasts were available, we also provide a look at expected bowhunting conditions for 2011 and beyond.
All dates given are 2011 unless otherwise noted. Some seasons and applications dates were not set by press time, so we included 2010-2011 information to show you typical timeframes to help you plan for next year.
Be aware that many management areas and other sectors have area-specific regulations that may differ from general regulations. And, remember that laws, fees, and seasons can change at any time. Be sure to consult state/provincial/territorial websites and land managers for the latest information. As always, know before you go.
A long season, abundant deer populations throughout the state, a generous bag limit, plenty of public land, and reasonable license fees make Alabama an excellent bowhunting destination, especially for out-of-staters, as non-resident hunters can bowhunt over 750,000 acres of public Wildlife Management Areas simply by purchasing a state hunting license and a $16 WMA license. An additional 420,000 acres of USFS land is open for bowhunting and only requires the purchase of a state hunting license.
Alabama’s bow season runs from mid October through the end of January. Hunters are allowed two antlered bucks of choice and one antlered buck with four or more antler points on at least one main beam, for a total of three antlered bucks for the year. Plus significant either-sex opportunities are offered throughout the Bow and Arrow season, with a two-deer-a-day bag in most counties, making it one of the country’s most liberal deer seasons.
Alabama’s northwest, west central, and east central regions remain the premier trophy-producing areas, though good quality deer can be found statewide, says Deer Studies Project Leader Chris Cook. Interest in Quality Deer Management is at an all-time high, and private or leased properties managed for quality bucks are among the best places to hunt. Public hunting lands in Alabama are underutilized by bowhunters. Hunting pressure is low and opportunities are ample in most areas. Some of the better public areas include: Barbour, Blue Spring, William R. Ireland, Sr.-Cahaba River, Choccolocco, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Mulberry Fork, Sam R. Murphy, and Oakmulgee WMAs. Areas that offer a shot at a better-quality buck include: Barbour, Black Warrior, Coosa, Freedom Hills, William R. Ireland, Sr.-Cahaba River, Lauderdale, Lowndes, James D. Martin-Skyline, Mulberry Fork, Oakmulgee, Scotch, and Wolf Creek WMAs. Both crossbows and spears are permitted during the Bow and Arrow season.
Although not as widespread as whitetails, feral pigs also offer opportunities in many areas of Alabama.
There will be special archery-only deer hunts at Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham again this year. Contact the Bowhunters of Alabama for more details (Bowhunters of Alabama, http://alabamabowhunter.com/web/; Barry Estes, president, 334-301-0179; email@example.com).
Bow-attached rangefinding sights or devices are now legal. Please note that the device can’t project a light onto the target, but it can calculate distance.
Season: Mobile Delta (nighttime only), Sunset Aug. 12-Sunrise Aug. 15; Sunset Aug. 19-Sunrise Aug. 22. Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, & Russell Counties (nighttime only) Sunset Aug. 13-Sunrise Aug. 29. Dallas and Wilcox Counties, and Monroe County north of Hwy. 84 (nighttime only), Sunset Aug. 12-Sunrise Aug. 15; Sunset Aug. 19-Sunrise Aug. 22.
Application deadline: Must register on-line at www.outdooralabama.com between 8 a.m. June 1 and 8 a.m. July 12, 2010.
Season: Archery Oct. 15-Jan. 31.
Limit: 2 deer per day, only 1 may be an antlered buck. 2 antlered bucks of choice and 1 antlered buck with four or more points on at least one main beam, for a total of 3 antlered bucks for the year.
Fees: Res. $24. Non-res. $275 (annual), $120 (3-day), $170 (10-day). No license required for residents 65+ and children under age 16.
Season: Fall Nov. 19-Jan. 1, Clarke, Clay, Covington, Monroe, Randolph, and Talladega Counties. Spring Mar. 15-Apr. 30 (varies by county).
Limit: 1 per day, 5 total for fall and spring seasons combined, gobblers only.
Fees: Same as deer.
Season: No closed season during daylight hours.
Limit: No bag limit.
Fees: Same as deer.
Minimum draw weight: 35 pounds within user’s normal draw length for compound bows, recurves, and longbows; 90 percent maximum letoff at full draw. Bow draw locks illegal.
Arrows: Minimum length 20 inches from nock end to end of shaft. Crossbow bolts or arrows must be at least 14 inches in length from nock slot to end of shaft.
Sights: Sights with magnification or light projection (laser type) features are prohibited.
Broadheads: 100-grain minimum weight, 7/8-inch minimum cutting diameter (all broadheads), .015-inch minimum blade thickness on fixed-blade broadheads, and .025-inch minimum blade thickness on expandable broadheads.
Crossbows: Legal for all hunters with open season dates Oct. 15-Jan. 31. Minimum peak tension of 100 pounds at normal draw length. Must be equipped with a working safety.
Baiting/Mineral Use: Baiting is illegal.
Treestands/Blinds: Hunters using elevated stands or platforms must attach themselves to the tree or platform with a full body safety harness capable of supporting their weight. Permanent treestands or scaffolding is illegal on WMAs or without written permission from landowners. No portable stands may be used within 50 yards of the boundary line on Barbour WMA. Hunter orange does not have to be visible when hunting from an enclosed blind.
Decoys/Game Calls: Electrically amplified bird calls or sound, real or imitation, is illegal. Live decoys are illegal, except when hunting unprotected birds or animals. Turkey decoys that have mechanical or electronic parts that make the decoy move or produce sounds are illegal. Turkey decoys allowed during spring turkey seasons only.
Bowhunter education permit: Not required, but all hunters born after 9/1/77 must complete a state-certified hunter education course before buying a license.
Special permits: A $16 license is required to hunt WMAs.
Est. bowhunters in ’10: 66,500 (source: 2008-09 hunter mail survey).
Information/licenses: Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, 64 N. Union St., Ste. 567, Montgomery, AL 36730; (800) 848-6887; www.outdooralabama.com. Licenses are sold at 950 locations, including all county Probate Officer/License Commissioner offices, marinas, sporting goods retailers, by phone at (888) 848-6887, and at www.outdooralabama.com/licenses.
Alaska has 12 species of big game animals spread across 365,000,000 acres, an area one-fifth the size of the entire United States. Big game densities are generally much lower than in the Lower 48. Many big game species in Alaska make long movements between seasonal ranges. The key to successful big game hunting in Alaska is in doing your homework to determine both the best areas and times to hunt the species you are seeking.
Because Alaska is such a big state, the best advice to bowhunters is to visit the state’s website (www.adfg.alaska.gov), select a GMU to hunt, and then contact the local biologist and state trooper in those areas. Hunting opportunities can vary depending on residency, so confirm your status before choosing units or setting dates.
Moose are the most sought-after big game animal in Alaska. Hunters report harvesting over 7,000 of Alaska’s estimated 175,000 moose each year. Going out to “get a moose” is a fall ritual for tens of thousands of Alaskans. Moose may be found throughout most of Alaska except on the Aleutian Islands, but they are most commonly found in South Central and Interior Alaska. The Anchorage/Fairbanks areas generally are best Sept. 1-20. Fly-in hunts to more remote areas of the Alaska Peninsula provide some of the best trophy opportunities. Widely distributed in Alaska. Greatest population densities occur in south-central Alaska, but good populations are found in the interior, western, and Arctic Alaska as well. Limited moose hunting opportunities are found in southeast Alaska.
Caribou hunters traditionally experience feast or famine depending upon whether they are hunting where caribou are moving through, or in an area away from the herd's location. Again, doing your homework with local area biologists and air taxi operators can make the difference between success and failure.
Black-tailed deer are a largely underutilized resource in Alaska and represent a tremendous hunting opportunity. Bag limits are often liberal, including up to five antlered deer in some areas, and same-day-airborne hunting of deer is allowed. Best bets lie in southeast regions and Kodiak and Afognak Islands.
An estimated 100,000 black bears inhabit Alaska. Statewide, the annual harvest increased steadily between 2003 and 2007, from about 2,500 to 3,250 bears. Black bear hunting over bait is becoming more popular with bowhunters, with big bruins taken on Prince of Wales and the Quiu Island areas in the southeast. The best times are normally the first two weeks in May. An IBEP Card is required, and a department-approved bear baiting course is required for certain areas of the state.
Hunters who plan to bait for black bears in Units 1-5 must provide a global positioning system (GPS) format of latitude and longitude for each baiting station on a form provided by the Department of Fish and Game before a baiting permit will be issued. Brown/grizzly bears may not be hunted over bait or scent lures at any time.
Brown bear (grizzly) populations are holding stable at about 30,000. Non-resident brown bear hunters are required to have a guide or be accompanied by an Alaska resident who is a relative.
Once extirpated from the state, muskox now range over the western and arctic coastal wilderness. Alaska's present day muskox populations are found on the wind-swept western and arctic coasts of Alaska from Nunivak Island to the Canadian border.
Alaska doesn't lend itself well to day hunts or short weekend hunts for most big game species. Many hunters find it best to plan and save up money and vacation time for one or two good 5-day or week long hunts a year. Given the uncertainty of weather and animal movement patterns, any additional days you are able to spend in a particular hunting area can really increase your odds of success.
Beginning in November 2012, drawing applications will be online only in an effort to make the drawing application process more efficient and to publish results earlier.
Season dates listed below are for general seasons. Additional opportunities on other species may be available. Visit www.adfg.alaska.gov for more information.
Season: Aug. 1-Dec. 31 (earliest and latest dates).
Limit: 1-5 (varies by unit).
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. $85 plus $150 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $200 tag.
Season: Dates vary by unit (year-round in some areas).
Limit: 1 every 1 to 4 years (some areas 1 or 2 every year).
Fees: Res. $25 plus $25 tag. Non-res. $85 plus $500 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $650 tag.
Season: Dates vary by unit (year-round in some areas).
Limit: 1-3 (varies by unit).
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. $85 plus $225 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $300 tag. (Some tags free to residents in registration permit hunts.)
Season: Generally Sept. 1-Mar. 31 (earliest and latest dates, varies by GMU; other times by special authorization).
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. $85 plus $450 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $650 tag.
Season: Dates vary by unit (year-round in some areas).
Limit: 1-10 (varies by unit).
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. $85 plus $325 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $425 tag.
Season: Aug. 1-Dec. 31 (earliest and latest dates).
Limit: 1 (either sex).
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. $85 plus $300 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $400 tag.
Season: Aug. 1-Apr. 15 (earliest and latest dates).
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. $85 plus $400 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $500 tag.
Fees: Res. $25 plus $500 bull tag or $25 cow tag. Non-res. $85 plus $1,100 bull tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $1,500 bull tag.
Season: Aug. 1-Apr. 30 (earliest and latest dates).
Limit: 1 full-curl ram (more in some res.-only areas).
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. $85 plus $425 tag. Non-res. alien $300 plus $550 tag.
Minimum draw weight: The bow is at least 40 pounds peak draw weight when hunting black-tailed deer, wolf, wolverine, black bear, Dall sheep and caribou; 50 pounds peak draw weight when hunting mountain goat, moose, elk, brown/grizzly bear, muskox and bison.
Broadheads: The arrow tipped with a broadhead must be at least 20 inches in overall length and at least 300 grains in total weight—no barbed broadheads. The broadhead will be a fixed, replaceable or mechanical/retractable blade type when taking black-tailed deer, wolf, wolverine, black bear, Dall sheep, and caribou; a fixed or replaceable blade type broadhead for taking mountain goat, moose, elk, brown/grizzly bear, muskox, and bison.
Crossbows: Crossbows are illegal in “archery-only” hunts and areas, but can be used where guns and bows are legal weapons as in any “open season” hunts.
Bait/Mineral Use: Illegal for deer. Bait and scent lures illegal for brown/grizzly bears. Bowhunters wishing to hunt black bears over bait are required to complete an IBEP course and/or a Department-approved bear baiting course if hunting in certain GMUs.
Calls/Decoys: Electronic calls may be used for all game animals except moose.
Bowhunter education permit: Bowhunter certification is required for any big game hunt restricted to “bow and arrow only” or “certified bowhunters only.” Alaska recognizes bowhunter certification cards from any state-authorized program or the NBEF/IBEP card.
Special permits: Alaska offers lifetime hunting licenses to Alaskan residents 60 and older. Alaska youths do not need a license until age 16. Disabled Alaskan Vets (over 50 percent) get a free hunting and fishing license.
Special regulations: Non-residents must hire a registered guide to hunt sheep, goats and brown bear. Some non-residents with relatives in Alaska may be exempt from some guide requirements. Non-res. aliens must have a guide for all big game. Big game taken by hunters under age 10 are counted against the bag limit of the adult supervising the hunt.
Est. bowhunters in ’10: 7,000; no separate license for bowhunting.
Information/licenses, contact: Alaska Department of Fish & Game, P.O. Box 115526, 1255 W. 8th Street, Juneau, AK 99811-5526; (907) 465-4190; www.adfg.alaska.gov.
For information on where you can hunt, contact: U.S. Bureau of Land Management, (907) 271-5960; U.S. Forest Service, (907) 586-8806; Alaska State Parks, (907) 257-2649; National Wildlife Refuges, (800) 478-1456. Military and Regional Native Corps land also is available for hunting.
Again, there are no significant changes to archery hunting or archery seasons in Arizona tfor 2011-2012. For deer, Arizona continues to offer most of its archery deer seasons as over-the-counter; however, permit-tags for a few units (12A, 12B, 13A, and 13B) are issued through the Big Game Draw (deadline was June 14, 2011).
Hunters are also advised that some season structures (dates) may have changed, which includes the lengthening of seasons in some units. All harvest data and population survey data can be found on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website in the Hunt Arizona–2011 Edition document.
Mule deer, the state’s most abundant big-game animal and found throughout the state, has an estimated population of 90,000. Rocky Mountain mule deer occur primarily in northern Arizona above the Mogollon Rim in GMUs 1 through 13, while the desert mule deer is found in all of the more southern units (15 through 46). All hunters took 6,253 muleys in 2010 (771 of these by archers). In recent years, bowhunters have been most successful in units 1, 12A, 27, 29, 30A, 30B, 35A, and 45.
The statewide population of pronghorn is estimated at 8,000 to10,000 post-hunt adults. Hunters took 577 bucks; 101 of these were taken by archers. Arizona does not offer any doe hunts.
Arizona’s elk population is approximately 28,000 to 32,000 post-hunt adults. In 2010, hunters took 7,941 elk. Archers took 1,313 in 2010, down from 1,410 in 2009.
Detailed hunting information written by Arizona’s wildlife managers, covering hunt forecasts, areas to hunt, access information, and tips to improve hunt success for 80 game management units statewide, is available at www.azgfd.gov. Click on the “Hunting & Fishing” link, then follow the hunting options. The Hunt Arizona–2011 Edition as well as draw and bonus points information can also be found on the website.
Hunters should be aware that, due to unusually high fire danger in 2011, some hunting lands may be closed until significant moisture arrives. Be sure to consult local officials for the latest updates.
Season: Archery (units vary, check regs) Aug. 19-Sept. 8; Dec. 9-Jan. 31, 2012 (inclusive); Aug. 19, 2011-Jan. 31, 2012 (Fort Huachuca). Archers are required call (866) 903-DEER to report their archery deer harvest.
Limit: 1 per calendar year (whether taken by archery or firearm).
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus $34.75 archery deer non-permit-tag. Non-res. $151.25 plus $225.25 archery deer nonpermit-tag. Unit 12A requires a Unit 12A (Kaibab North) Habitat Management Stamp ($15).
Application deadline: June 14, 2011.
Season: Archery Aug. 19-Sept. 1 (most units).
Limit: 1 buck per calendar year.
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus $85 pronghorn hunt permit-tag. Non-res. $151.25 plus $485 pronghorn hunt permit-tag.
Application deadline: Feb. 8, 2011.
Season: Archery Sept. 9-22 and Nov. 11-24 (earliest and latest dates). Over-the-counter opportunities are also available in specific areas Jan. 1-Mar. 31 and Aug. 1-Dec. 31 (inclusive).
Limit: 1 elk per calendar year.
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus $121.50 elk hunt permit-tag. Non-res. $151.25 plus $595 elk hunt permit-tag.
Application deadline: Feb. 8, 2011.
Season: Archery Aug. 19-Sept. 8, Aug. 26-Sept. 8 Camp Navajo; Spring Apr. 21-May 18, 2012 (proposed; inclusive); Archery Spring May 5-18, 2012 (proposed spring dates).
Limit: 1 turkey per calendar year.
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus $18 turkey non-permit-tag. Non-res. $151.25 plus $70.25 turkey non-permit-tag.
Application deadline:None for fall, tags are sold over-the-counter for archery. Spring deadline is Oct. 11, 2011.
Season: Archery Jan. 1-26, 2012 (proposed). Fall is juniors only, Oct. 7-16 or Nov. 18-24 depending on unit.
Limit: 1 per calendar year (whether taken during spring or fall).
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus $28.75 javelina hunt permit-tag. Non-res. $151.25 plus $105 javelina hunt permit-tag.
Application deadline: Fall June 14, 2011. Spring Oct. 11, 2011.
Season: Most seasons run Dec. 1-31 desert; a few units open in October or November, or are only a 2-week season.
Limit: 1 desert per lifetime and 1 Rocky Mountain per lifetime.
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus $272.50 bighorn hunt permit-tag. Non-res. $151.25 plus $1,407.50 bighorn hunt permit-tag.
Application deadline: June 14, 2011.
Season: Fall Sept. 23-Oct. 30 (inclusive). Spring Jan. 1-June 13 (inclusive, earliest and latest dates).
Limit: 1 per lifetime.
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus buffalo hunt permit-tag—$1,095 (bull), $659.50 (cow or cow/yearling), $362.75 (yearling). Non-res. $151.25 plus buffalo hunt permit-tag—$5,452.25 (bull), $3,262.75 (cow or cow/yearling), $1,754.75 (yearling).
Application deadline: June 14, 2011. Spring Oct. 11, 2011.
Season: Fall Archery Aug. 19-Sept. 29 (varies by unit). Fall General Aug. 5-Dec. 31 (earliest opening and latest closing). Spring Archery Mar. 17-July 31 (proposed). Hunters must call (800) 970-BEAR before hunting to determine if desired hunt is still open and to report their bear harvest. All hunters must present their bear to the AZ Game and Fish Department for physical inspection.
Limit: 1 per calendar year.
Fees: Res. $32.25 plus $22.25 bear nonpermit-tag or $29.75 for a spring permit-tag. Non-res. $151.25 plus $237.50 bear nonpermit-tag or $245 for a spring permit-tag.
Application deadline: Spring is Oct. 11, 2011.
Season: Aug. 19, 2911-May 24, 2012, statewide; dates vary in some units. Units 11M, 25M, 26M, 38M, and 47M archery-only. Hunters must call (877) 438-0447 before hunting to determine if desired hunt is still open and to report their mountain lion harvest. All hunters must present their lion to the AZ Game and Fish Department for physical inspection.
Limit: 1. Some units have multiple-lion harvest objectives.
Fees: Res $32.25 plus $14.50 lion nonpermit-tag. Non-res $151.25 plus $225 lion nonpermit-tag.
Minimum draw weight: 40 pounds. 50 pounds for buffalo.
Broadheads: Must have minimum cutting diameter 7/8 inch in width with metal cutting edges.
Crossbows: Allowed during some general firearms seasons, during H.A.M. (Handgun, Archery, Muzzleloader) and during archery-only seasons with special disability crossbow permit. Minimum draw weight 125 pounds, bolts minimum length 16 inches.
Bait/Mineral Use: Legal except for bear.
Treestands/Blinds: It may be unlawful to cut any trees or branches while hanging treestands or setting blinds, to leave stands or blinds unattended, to construct permanent stands or blinds, or to pound climbing spikes or attach anything that penetrates the surface of a tree causing permanent injury or scarring. Check regulations governing the land you hunt.
Calls/Decoys: Decoys must be taken down at the end of each hunting day on public lands.
Bowhunter education permit: Not required.
Est. bowhunters in ’10: Approx. 25,000 (based on archery deer tag purchasers and hunters who chose archery as their first hunt choice for elk).
Bowhunting organization(s): Arizona Bowhunters Association, Box 67084, Phoenix, AZ 85084-7084; www.arizonabowhunters.org.
Information/licenses: Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Hwy., Phoenix, AZ 85086; (602) 942-3000; www.azgfd.gov.
A five-month season, liberal bag limits, and a deer population estimated at 1 million animals make Arkansas an attractive deer hunting destination. For the third consecutive year, Arkansas deer hunters harvested almost record numbers of deer in The Natural State, reports AGFC Deer Program Coordinator Dick Baxter. Last year, hunters checked about 187,000 deer. For the 2010-11 season, the preliminary harvest total decreased slightly to 186,000 deer. The record deer harvest in Arkansas was 195,000 deer checked in 1999, the most in a single year since the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began keeping records in 1938.
More liberal bag limits and season frameworks allowed the state’s doe harvest to increase 6 percent, and Arkansas’ hunters took over 88,000 female deer. The buck harvest was down about 6 percent, and this is likely attributed to an improved mast crop during the fall of 2010. (Mast production was poor in many areas of the state during the fall of 2009, and bucks may have been more susceptible to baiting on private lands.)
Best prospects for 2011-2012 include the Delta and Crowley’s Ridge areas for quality, and the Gulf Coastal Plain for quantity. Over 280,000 acres of state-owned Natural Areas and Wildlife Management Areas, 350,000 acres within the National Wildlife Refuges and two National Forests are available for public hunting. Maps of these areas as well as Arkansas Game and Fish Commission lakes and U.S. Corps of Engineers lakes are available online.
The 2011-2012 Arkansas Hunting Guidebook was not yet issued at press time. Be sure to check it for the latest changes and season adjustments.
Season: Oct. 1-Feb. 29.
Limit: 6 (specific doe and buck limits/mixes vary depending on zones and WMAs).
Fees: Res. Sportsman’s License $25. Non-res. annual all-game hunting license $300, 5-day all-game $150, 3-day all-game $100, 1-day all-game $50.
Season:/Crossbow Oct. 1-Nov. 30 Bear Zone 1, Sept. 15-Nov. 30 Bear Zone 2. Closed in Bear Zones 3, 4, 5, 5A, 6 and 7.
Fees: Same as deer.
Season: Sept. 20-24, Dec. 6-10.
Fees: Same as deer.
Application deadline: End of May.
Minimum draw weight: 40 pounds.
Broadheads: Must have minimum cutting diameter of 7⁄8 inch.
Crossbows: Legal during archery seasons, except for elk. Must have minimum draw weight of 125 pounds and mechanical safety.
Bait/Mineral Use: Legal for deer throughout the season on private land. Legal for bear on private land only; dates vary by zone.
Treestands/Blinds: Permanent treestands on public land are prohibited. Portable treestands are allowed but must be removed by season’s end.
Calls/Decoys: Mechanical or electronic turkey calls illegal.
Bowhunter education permit: If born after 1968, you must carry proof of hunter education training. Hunters under 16 do not need to have a card if they are under the direct supervision of a holder of a valid hunting license at least 21 years of age.
Special hunts: Youth-only deer on some WMAs. Call (501) 223-6300 for more information. Licenses sold in ’10: N/A.
Bowhunting organization(s): Arkansas Bowhunters Association, P.O. Box 22832, Little Rock, AR 72221-2832; www.arkansasbowhunters.org.
Information/licenses: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 2 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205; (501) 223-6300; www.agfc.com.
Warning: “California experienced above average precipitation last year, resulting in improved habitat conditions which should benefit deer populations for the next few years. However, all the new growth could also result in extreme fire conditions during standard fall hunting seasons. We recommend that hunters planning on hunting public lands (USFS/BLM), especially in Southern California, regularly monitor the individual forest and/or resource area websites for updates on these potential closures.” (California Department of Fish and Game)
Bowhunters in the Golden State can expect much of the same as in previous years, says Deer Program Coordinator Craig Stowers. “Big game populations are relatively stable as are habitat conditions and areas available to hunt,” he says. With numerous archery-only tags throughout California, bowhunters have many choices of excellent hunting opportunities.
California is the only state in which hunters can harvest a tule elk, making it a highly sought after elk hunters destination. Some of the most sought-after are the archery-only tule elk tags in the Owens Valley. The Owens Valley multi-zone early season archery only tule elk hunt had 100 percent success in 2010.
Two Nelson Bighorn Sheep Hunts have been added to the 2011-2012 hunt season. The South Bristol and Cady Mountains will be open to archery and general method tag-holders beginning December 3, 2011.
In 2010, hunters took 27,368deer (647 does and 26,721 bucks). The overall statewide hunter success was estimated to be 15.2 percent (PLMs excluded). The estimated archery kill was 2,829 deer (PLMs excluded). The north and north central regions saw the greatest harvests.
California’s black bear population has increased over the past 25 years. In 1984, the statewide bear population was estimated to be less than 10,000. The current estimate is between 25,000 and 35,000. Last year the bear season closed on December 26 after a total of 1,503 bears were killed. This was the first time the bear season did not close early since 2006.
Season: July 9-Dec. 31 (earliest opening and latest closing date; varies by zone or hunt).
Fees: Res. Hunting $43.46, First Deer Tag Application $29.16, Second-Deer Tag Application $36.21. Non-res. Hunting $151.20, First or
Second-Deer Tag Application $255.96.
Season: Aug. 20-Sept.11 (archery only).
Fees: Res. $42.38. Non res. $269.74.
Season: Aug. 16-Jan. 2 (earliest opening and latest closing date; varies by region and sub species).
Fees: Res. $393.00. Non-res. $1,199.75 (only 1 non-res. tag awarded annually).
Application deadline: June 2
Season: Aug.6-Sept. 11 (varies by method, archery-only season Aug. 6-14).
Fees: Res. $132.10, non-res. $404.75.
Application deadline: June 2
Season: Fall Nov. 12-27, 2011 (archery); Spring Mar. 31-May 20, 2012.
Limit: Fall 1 either-sex; Spring 1 bearded bird per day, 3 per season.
Fees: Res. $43.46, plus game bird stamp $8.90. Non res. $151.20 (two-day non res license $43.46), plus game bird stamp $8.90.
Season: Open all year.
Limit: No daily bag or possession limit.
Fees: Res. $20.78 for single tag. Non-res. single tag $69.69.
Season: Aug. 21, 2010-Feb. 20, 2011 (earliest opening and latest closing date; varies by zone or hunt).
Fees: Res. $363.50. Non-res. $500 (only 1 non-res. tag awarded annually).
Application deadline: June 2
Minimum draw weight: Bows must be able to cast an arrow a minimum of 130 yards.
Broadheads: Fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads that “when open will not pass through a hole 7/8 of an inch in diameter.”
Crossbows: Legal only during general firearms seasons. Valid for archery use by disabled hunters with Department-issued “Disabled Archer” permit.
Bait/Mineral Use: Illegal. No one may take any resident game bird or mammal within 400 yards of any baited area.
Treestands/Blinds: No regulations.
Calls/Decoys: Electronic calls illegal for turkey.
Bowhunter education permit:Licenses shall be issued to hunters only upon presentation of one of the following: An annual California hunting license from a prior year or evidence of having held such a license; a two-day California nonresident hunting license issued after the 1999/2000 license year; a California hunter education completion or equivalency certificate; a certificate of competence or completion of a California approved hunter education training course from any state or province; or a current year hunting license from any state or province.
Big game application deadline: June 2, 2011 (antelope, deer, elk and sheep tags).
Est. bowhunters in ’10: 16,000 (95 percent residents, based on tag application sales).
Bowhunting organization(s): California Bowmen Hunters, CBH/SAA, P.O. Box 1930, Elk Grove, CA 95759-1930; President Ken Miller, (909) 393-1157; www.cbhsaa.net.
Information/licenses: General Information: California Department of Fish and Game, 1812 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95817, (916) 445-3418. Licenses: 1740 North Market Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 928-5805. www.dfg.ca.gov.
Colorado has more than 23 million acres of public access hunting land, providing bowhunters an extensive opportunity to find a quiet place to draw in deer, elk, pronghorn, moose or bear. The state has an estimated 283,430 elk, 430,390 mule deer and 78,600 pronghorn. Bowhunting licenses are readily available and many seasons offer over-the-counter opportunity allowing hunters to come to Colorado at the last minute.
Overall, archery hunting opportunity in Colorado appears strong again in 2011, says Statewide Public Information Officer Randy Hampton. Warm weather during the rifle seasons in 2009 and 2010 lead to lower than average harvest of both deer and elk. That means more opportunity for hunters in 2011. Archery hunting in Colorado remains a popular option, and over-the-counter licenses are available for elk throughout much of the state. While flooding from massive snowfall totals is a springtime concern, the extra moisture means lush forage and good antler growth for bucks and bulls. The cold, snowy winter conditions did impact deer and pronghorn herds in the extreme northwest corner of Colorado, but much of the rest of the state saw average winter mortality thanks to breaks in the storm systems that allowed north-facing slopes to clear and provide winter feed. Colorado escaped much of the winter mortality that northern states experienced and 2011. Bowhunters can reap the rewards.
Mule deer licenses are distributed through a limited draw process in Colorado, and few leftover licenses last long when they go on sale in mid August. Elk hunting options in western and central Colorado’s mountains are the big opportunity in Colorado. The statewide elk population is around 300,000 animals by the time the season rolls around, and archery bull and cow licenses are available over-the-counter to residents and non-residents. Limited draw areas also typically have leftover archery licenses available, and hunters should check those when the leftover list comes out in late July. Pronghorn archery opportunity continues to grow in Colorado, especially on the eastern plains, where an unlimited archery license is available.
A new regulation that took effect July 1 bans the hunting or harassment of black bears in their dens. The new regulation is designed to “maintain and increase public support for wildlife management by emphasizing safety and fair chase.”
Colorado’s Habitat Stamp program changed slightly in 2011. Instead of purchasing a $5 stamp on the first two licenses purchased, sportsmen now must purchase a single $10 stamp before applying for or purchasing a license.
Season: Aug. 27-Sept. 25 (west of I-25 and unit 140)
Limit: 1-2, depending on license type.
Fees: Res. $31, non-res. $331.
Season: East of I-25 except unit 140. There will be two or three splits within the season (three in units with both regular & late plains rifle deer seasons) to avoid archery/rifle season overlap. Oct. 1-21, Nov. 2-30, Dec. 15-31.
Limit: 1-2, depending on license type.
Fees: Res. $31, non-res. $331.
Season: Aug. 27-Sept. 25
Limit: Varies, depending on license types.
Fees: Res. $46; non-res. bull $551, cow $351.
Season: Aug. 15-31 bucks. Sept. 1-20 either-sex.
Limit: Varies, depending on license types.
Fees: Res. $31, non-res. $331.
Season: Sept. 10-25
Limit: 1 per lifetime.
Fees: Res. $251, non-res. $1,841.
Season:Varies by unit.
Limit: 1 every 5 years.
Fees: Res. $254, non-res. $1,819.
Season: Sept. 2-25
Limit: 1 over-the-counter; additional licenses may be available.
Fees: Res. $41, non-res. $351.
Minimum draw weight: 35 pounds with a maximum of 80 percent letoff.
Broadheads: Must have minimum cutting diameter of 7/8 inch and minimum 2 steel cutting edges. Each cutting edge must be in same plane for the entire length of cutting surface.
Crossbows: Legal only during general firearms seasons. Draw weight minimum 125 pounds, draw length minimum 14 inches from front of bow to nocking point of drawstring. Bolt minimum 16 inches long.
Bait/Mineral Use:Illegal for mountain lion, bears, deer, elk, pronghorn, or moose. Scent sticks that smell like food are illegal for bears.
Treestands/Blinds: Check with land managers for specific regulations.
Calls/Decoys: Electronic calls are prohibited for big game hunting and turkeys.
Application Deadlines: Big Game Limited Draw April 5, 2011.
Licenses Leftover from the Limited Drawing: Big Game Leftover Licenses go on sale August 10 at statewide license agents and DOW offices, and may be purchased online August 9, 2011.
Over-the-Counter Licenses: Over-The-Counter big game licenses go on sale July 12 at statewide DOW offices and license agents.
Hunter education permit: Required for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1949.
Archery licenses sold in 2011:54,903 (19,355 nonresident archery season licenses and 35,548 resident).
Bowhunting organization(s): Colorado Bowhunters Association, P.O. Box 1289, Conifer, CO 80433; (303) 697-9660; www.coloradobowhunting.org.
Information/licenses: Colorado Division of Wildlife, 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216; (303) 297-1192; www.wildlife.state.co.us.
Despite its size, the Nutmeg State is consistently among the top states in the region in terms of overall archery kill. Deer densities are at or near problem levels in many parts of the state. A land ownership pattern of mostly small, privately owned parcels also makes access sometimes problematic, but provides sanctuaries for mature bucks.
Connecticut has one of the longest bow seasons in the six-state region, one that includes liberal bag limits. About 1 in 4 deer taken in Connecticut in 2006 was harvested by a bowhunter. In fact, excluding landowner seasons, just under half of Connecticut’s deer harvest is bow-killed. In 2009 (2010 figures unavailable), bowhunters harvested 4,197 deer. Approximately 35 percent of all bowhunters harvested two or more deer during archery seasons. Bowhunter success rates were highest in Zones 4B, 7, 11, and 12. Firearms seasons are more limited in Zones 11 and 12, and bowhunting seasons are longer. The archery deer harvest in Zone 11 was at least three times higher than all other zones.
Although big, quality bucks can be found anywhere, the farmland in the northwestern and northeastern regions have the highest-quality deer habitat. For higher deer densities and older deer, look to the southwest.
The statewide turkey population is estimated at approximately 35,000 birds. Harvest and brood survey information during the past several years have indicated that annual productivity has had a downward trend, perhaps attributable to wet and cold spring weather conditions. Connecticut has opened more opportunities by lengthening the spring season by one week and starting it one week earlier. In 2009 (2010 figures unavailable), 7,376 spring hunters took 1,502 bearded turkeys, a 3.6 percent decrease from 2008. The towns of Woodstock, Lebanon, Pomfret, and Cornwall reported the highest harvests.
As of July 1, 2011, the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees hunting-related concerns, consolidated with the newly created Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Season Archery Sept. 15-Nov. 15 and Dec. 21-31 (state lands); Sept. 15-Dec. 31 (state land bowhunting-only areas); Sept. 15-Dec. 31 (private lands); Jan. 1-31 (private lands Zones 11-12).
Limit: 4, 2 either sex and 2 antlerless. An additional one either-sex and one antlerless deer may be taken on private land in Zones 11 and 12 during January.
Fees: Res. $41. Non-res. $135. Junior (12-15) $19.
Season: Fall Archery Sept. 15-Nov. 15 and Dec. 21-Dec. 31 (state land); Sept. 15-Dec. 31 (state land bowhunting areas); Sept. 15-Dec. 31 (private lands); Jan. 1-Jan. 31 (private lands Zones 11-12). Spring Apr. 27-May 28, 2011.
Limit: Fall 2 either-sex. Spring 2 bearded birds on state land permits, 3 bearded birds for private land permits.
Fees: Res. $41 plus $19 turkey tag. Non-res. $135 plus $19 turkey tag. Junior (12-15) $19 plus $19 turkey tag.
Minimum draw weight: 40 pounds.
Broadheads:Must have at least two blades with minimum cutting diameter of 7/8 inch.
Crossbows: Legal for physically challenged hunters by permit, or for deer and turkey hunting on private land in Zones 11 and 12 during the January archery season. Crossbows must have a draw weight between 125 and 220 pounds and permanent fixed rifle-type stock with a functional mechanical safety device. The bolt length must be at least 18 inches, excluding the broadhead, and the bolt weight must be at least 450 grains, including the broadhead. The broadhead must have at least two blades and must be at least 7/8 inch wide at the widest point. Crossbows are considered loaded when fully drawn, whether or not a bolt is in place.
Bait/Mineral Use: Illegal in Zones 1 to 10, or on state lands in Zones 11 and 12.
Treestands/Blinds:The construction or placement of permanent treestands involving damage to any tree or shrub is prohibited. Portable treestands permitted.
Calls/Decoys: Electronic calls illegal for turkey. Decoys legal during archery seasons (must be covered with 400 square inches of fluorescent orange during transport); illegal during firearms seasons.
Bowhunter education permit: Required.
Archery deer permits sold in ’09: 14,046 (last figures available).
Bowhunting organization: United Bowhunters of Connecticut; P.O. Box 485, Shelton, CT 06484; www.unitedbowhuntersofconnecticut.com.
Information/licenses: Department of Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division, 79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106; (860) 424-3000; www.dep.state.ct.us.
Delaware may be whitetail hunter’s heaven, offering a long season (5 months), liberal bag limits, and an early enough opener that hunters have the chance to harvest a buck still in velvet.
“Deer densities in Delaware are relatively high and thus hunters have a very good chance at filling a tag if they visit the state,” Game Mammal Biologist Joe Rogerson says again for 2011. Furthermore, due to excellent food availability (corn and soybeans), mild winters, and good habitat, the chances of harvesting a mature buck are very good. The harvest of B&C- and P&Y-caliber deer on a per-square-mile-of-area basis is comparable to that of many Midwestern states that are more commonly known for large deer. Hunters who cannot wait for their own states’ deer seasons to take advantage of Delaware’s September 1 opener.
Hunters should expect similar to better success as compared to the last few years. The Division has not made any major season/bag limit changes since 2004, and as a result harvest rates have remained stable. Hunters may use a crossbow throughout the five-month archery season, and the distance required to legally hunt from a house (safety zone) is 50 yards (reduced from 100 yards last year) for hunters using archery equipment.
The coastal areas are still good spots, along with Deer Management Zone 1 in northern Delaware due to accessibility difficulties to this highly urbanized region. However, if a hunter is able to find a place to hunt in this area, he or she has the opportunity to harvest older-aged bucks due to limited harvest pressure. The safety zone distance reduction should help hunters gain additional access in urban areas. Other good places to hunt are the early successional pine stands in Sussex County. Areas that were timbered several years ago have begun to regenerate and are now nearly inaccessible to most hunters who are unwilling/unable to work at getting into them. Those who persevere can find some good, virtually unhunted areas.
The five-month, September-January season offers plenty of economical options. Resident and non-resident licenses include two antlerless tags and two doe tags. Residents may purchase a Hunter’s Choice tag, which can be used on an antlerless or antlered deer (any size) for $10. This tag also comes with a Quality Buck tag (free) that can only be used on an antlered deer with a minimum outside spread of 15 inches. Antlered Deer tags and Quality Buck tags are $25 each for non-residents, and hunters may purchase one of each. Both resident and non-resident hunters may purchase additional antlerless tags (unlimited) for $10 each. This tagging structure was implemented to encourage hunters to harvest antlerless deer and promote quality deer management.
Hunters are that are exempt from purchasing a hunting license now have to obtain a free Licensed Exempt Hunter ID Number so that wildlife officials can track their efforts.
Season: Sept. 1-Jan. 31, 2012.
Limit: 4 except by using Delaware Antlerless tags, Hunter’s Choice tag, Quality Buck tag, Deer Damage tags or non-res. Antlered deer tags.
Fees:Res. $25 plus $10 Quality Buck/Hunter’s Choice tag combination. Non-res. Minimum $130 plus $25 Quality Buck Tag and/or $25 antlered buck tag.
Season: Spring Apr. 14-May 12, 2012, youth day (private land only) April 7.
Limit: 1 bearded bird.
Fees: Res. $25. Non-res. License fees are reciprocal; whatever your state of residence charges nonresidents for a license is what you will pay for a nonresident Delaware license (minimum of $130).
Minimum draw weight: 35 pounds vertical bows, 125 pounds crossbows.
Broadheads: Must be at least 7/8 inch wide.
Crossbows: A crossbow may be used from Sept. 1, 2011 through Jan. 31, 2012. Crossbows must have a minimum pull weight of 125 pounds, be manufactured after 1980, and have a mechanical safety. Scopes are allowed. Transporting a crossbow on or within any vehicle while the crossbow is in the cocked position is prohibited.
Baiting/Mineral Use: Baiting legal on private land only for deer, illegal on public land. Illegal for turkeys everywhere.
Treestands/Blinds: No restrictions on private lands as for public lands. Regulations vary by area; check first. In general, stands must be removed at the end of each hunt. Use of hunter orange with ground blinds required during firearms seasons.
Decoys/Game Calls: No turkey decoys allowed that are wholly or partially made from any part of a turkey that was formerly alive. Electronic calling devices for turkey hunting is illegal.
Bowhunter education permit: Not required.
Est. bowhunters in ’10: Approx. 9,425 (annual hunter mail survey).
Special permits: For $10 hunters can buy a Hunter’s Choice/Quality Buck tag. Deer must have an outside spread of 15 inches or more for a Quality tag. Hunters must purchase a $20 annual permit to hunt out of deer stands during one of the state-run shotgun deer seasons on a Wildlife Area.
Information/licenses: Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, 89 Kings Hwy., Dover, DE 19901; (302) 739-9912; http://www.fw.delaware.gov/.
Bowhunting continues to be popular in the Sunshine State accounting for more than 10 percent of the overall deer harvested, 15 percent of the harvested does, and 25 percent of the deer taken on WMAs. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manages hunting on more than 160 WMAs throughout the state, many of which offer “bow-only” hunts with several including rules that take into account quality deer management practices. WMAs in the southern part of the state offer hunters an unusual challenge because of their open-marsh landscape. Hunting these areas requires special vehicles, and the FWC has established quotas on the number of vehicles allowed. Permits to operate track vehicles on the Rotenberger, Everglades, Francis S. Taylor and Holey Land WMAs and permits to operate airboats on the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMAs are issued in two random drawings.
Zonal crossbow seasons have been extended by a month, thereby running concurrently with archery season, beginning July 2011. The new rule adds 30 days to the crossbow season in zones A, B and C, and it adds 33 days in Zone D. Starting with the 2011-2012 hunting season, any hunter with a hunting license, deer permit and crossbow permit will be able to get in the woods a month early on private lands and use a crossbow (or a bow) to take deer of either sex. This rule is intended to give hunters more opportunities and enable youths and others who have difficulty using a vertical bow to have more hunting days, thereby helping to recruit and retain more people into the tradition of hunting.
Peak rut dates vary widely in Florida, and the FWC provides a map to help hunters find that peak in their region. Go to http://www.myfwc.com/media/1360457/Rut_map_20APR11.pdf.
The Florida Buck Registry, established in 1982, provides an opportunity for hunters to register antler scores and other information about white-tailed deer taken in Florida. To be listed in the registry, a minimum net Boone and Crockett score of 100 is needed for typical deer. Nontypical deer must score 125. According to the registry, the northwest and north central regions of the state have accounted for more than 60 percent of all records.
Season: Special draw hunt, Aug. 15-Nov. 1.
Limit: 2 per permit, limit 1 permit in Phases I and II. Additional permits allowed in Phase III.
Fees: Res. $271.50. Non-res. $1,021.50. Additional permits $61.50 res. and non-res.
Applications: May 4-17 Phase I draw; June 8-13 Phase II leftovers; June 15-Sept. 12 Phase III leftovers. See www.MyFWC.com/Alligator for more information.
Season: Archery (includes crossbow) July 30-Aug. 28 Zone A, Oct. 15-Nov. 13 Zone B, Sept. 17-Oct. 16 Zone C, Oct. 22-Nov. 23 Zone D. Crossbow (antlered only) Aug. 29-Sept. 2 Zone A, Nov. 14-18 Zone B, Oct. 17-21 Zone C, Nov. 28-Dec. 2 Zone D. Bows and crossbows may also be used during Muzzleloading and General gun seasons.
Limit: 2 deer per day; during antlerless deer season, only 1 may be a doe; during archery season 2 may be does. No more than 2 per day, regardless of season or permit. See regs for greater detail.
Fees: Res. annual hunting license $17 plus $5 deer permit. Non-res. 10-day $46.50, annual $151.50 plus $5 deer permit. Archery permit $5 (not required when using a bow during general gun season). Crossbow permit $5 during crossbow season. Muzzleloading permit $5 during muzzleloading gun season. Management area permit $26.50 required when hunting WMAs.
Season: Fall Archery (bow only)—same as deer. Fall Crossbow—same as deer. Spring 2011—Feb. 25-26 (youth only), Mar. 3-Apr. 8 Zone A. Mar. 10-11 (youth only), Mar. 17-Apr. 22 Zones B, C, D (except Holmes County). Mar. 10-11 (youth only), Mar. 17-Apr. 1 Holmes County.
Limit: 1 gobbler or bearded turkey per day; 2 per combined archery, crossbow, muzzleloading gun and fall turkey seasons and 2 during spring turkey season, except in Holmes County where there is no fall season and spring season limit is 1.
Fees: Same as for deer except for $10 res./$125 non-res. turkey permit in place of deer permit.
Seasons: Either sex can be taken year-round on private lands with landowner written permission. Regulations and seasons vary on WMAs (consult regs).
Limit: None on private lands. Size and bag limits may apply on WMAs (see regs). No season limits on private or public lands.
Fees: No res./non-res. license or permits required on private lands. On WMAs, same fees as deer except for deer permit.
Minimum draw weight: 35 pounds.
Broadheads: Must have two sharpened edges with minimum width of 7/8 inch when hunting deer, wild hogs or turkeys.
Crossbows: May be used for deer and turkey during crossbow, muzzleloading gun, fall turkey, general gun and spring turkey seasons on private lands. On WMAs, crossbows can only be used during general gun, small game and spring turkey seasons. Crossbows are only allowed during archery season with a Disabled Crossbow Permit. Can use bow or crossbow for wild hogs on private property year-round.
Baiting/Mineral Use: It is legal to take deer and wild hogs over feed on private lands. Cannot shoot turkeys over feed and hunter must be at least 100 yards away from game-feeding station when feed is present while hunting on private property; baiting is not permitted on WMAs for any game.
Treestands/Blinds: Driving any metal object such as nails, screws or spikes into trees on WMAs is prohibited.
Decoys/Game Calls: Live decoys or recorded game calls or sounds are illegal.
Bowhunter education permit: Hunter Safety Course required for persons born on or after June 1, 1975.
Special-opportunity hunts: Available for deer, spring turkey, wild hog, dove and released quail on a few WMAs; visit MyFWC.com/Hunting or call (850) 488-8573 for more information.
Archery permits sold in July ’09-’10: 55,007 archery permits and licenses that include an archery permit (does not include lifetime license holders under 16, resident age 65 or older, and resident disabled, exempt from archery permit requirement).
Bowhunting organization(s): Florida Bowhunters Council; www.floridabowhunters.net. Traditional Bowhunters of Florida; www.tbof.org/index.html; Buddy Oswald (membership), (352) 694-5969.
Information/licenses: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Hunting and Game Management, 2574 Seagate Dr., Ste. 101, Tallahassee, FL 32301; (850) 488-4676; MyFWC.com/Hunting.
Georgia provides great opportunities for bowhunters, and many take up the state’s invitation. About one out of every three deer hunters uses a bow at least once during hunting season. And why not? More than 90 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) throughout the state (one within an hour’s drive of every Georgian) provide nearly one million acres of hunting land. Archery season opens prior to other seasons, and archery equipment—compounds, longbows, recurves, and crossbows—may be used during all other seasons. Plus Metro-Atlanta counties offer extended archery seasons on private lands produce some of the largest bucks in the state, and, with few exceptions, are archery-only throughout the deer season. Major components of the recently adopted Urban Deer Management Plan include facilitating hunter access and increasing hunter opportunity in urban areas. In 2009-2010, 107,792 bowhunters took 54,974 deer.
The best prospects with archery equipment are whitetails and feral hogs, but archers are also harvesting turkeys, bears, small game, and alligators (quota only).
Increased doe bag limits and either-sex days, voluntary restraint in the harvest of young bucks, and mandatory antler restrictions in some areas are improving Georgia’s deer herd quality. Best bets occur in Hancock, Harris, Meriwether, Montgomery, Randolph, Talbot, and Troup counties, where only antlered bucks with at least four points on either side are legal; or Dooly and Macon counties, where only antlered bucks with a minimum 15-inch outside spread are legal. Statewide, one buck of the two-buck season limit must have at least four points on one side.
Statistics from the 2010 season harvest summary indicate that an estimated 47,275 resident Georgia hunters (all weapons) bagged 34,001 turkeys last year. “We had a real productive 2010, so there will be many juvenile turkeys available for harvest,” says Kevin Lowrey, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “However, the poor reproduction levels in 2007 and in 2009 will lower the supply of vocal adult gobblers.” Georgia’s current turkey population is estimated at 335,000 birds and turkey hunters here are privileged with one of the longest turkey seasons nationwide.
The Board of Natural Resources expanded alligator opportunities from 700 permits in 2009 to 850 in 2010. The alligator population is estimated to be 200,000. Harvest rates and average size of harvested alligators has remained stable. In 2009, 700 hunters harvested 193 gators for a 28 percent success rate.
Georgia’s 2011-2012 hunting regulations were not available at press time. Listed below are fees and regulations for 2010-2011. Seasons and limits, however, are updated for 2011-2012.
Season: Sept. 3-Oct. 2
Limit: 1, Zone and Quota Limited
Fees: Res. hunting license $10. Non-res. $100 ($20 3-day). Res. Alligator hunting license $50. Non-res $200.
Permit application deadline: July 31
Season: Archery Either-Sex Statewide Sept.10-Oct. 13, Primitive Weapons Either Sex Statewide-Oct. 15-21 (archers must wear 500 square inches of blaze orange above the waist except in archery-only counties). Extended Archery Season Jan. 2-31 in Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Rockdale Counties.
Limit: 12 (no more than 2 antlered bucks, 1 buck must have 4 points 1 inch or longer on one side; no more than 10 antlerless)
Fees: Hunting license res: $10, non-res: $100 ($20 3-day). Big Game license res: $9, non-res: $195. WMA License res: $19, non-res: $73.
Season: Archery Sept. 10-Oct. 14. Primitive Weapons Oct. 15-21. Firearms Oct. 22-Dec. 4 (northern zone); Sept. 29-Oct. 1; Oct. 6-Oct. 8, Oct. 13-15 (southern zone).
Limit: 2 per season statewide provided no more than 1 taken from Southern and Central zones. No females with cubs or cubs with live weight less than 75 pounds.
Fees: Same as deer.
Season: Private Land—no closed season. State WMAs—Feral hogs may be harvested during any open season only with legal weapons for that season unless otherwise specified.
Fees: Hunting license res. $10, non-res: $100 ($20 3-day). WMA license res: $19, non-res: $73.
Season: Mar. 24-May 15, 2012
Limit: 3 gobblers.
Fees: Same as deer.
Minimum draw weight: None.
Broadheads: No specific requirements. Arrows for hunting deer, bear, or feral hog must be broadhead type.
Crossbows: Legal in all seasons.
Bait/Mineral Use: Illegal to hunt over.
Treestands/Blinds: On WMAs, hunters may not construct or hunt from any treestand that is not portable or natural. Portable stands must be removed from the WMA no later than 12 noon the day following each hunt. Treestands may not be placed on utility poles or other structures supporting utility lines.
Calls/Decoys: Electronic calls legal for feral hogs, illegal for other game. Live decoys prohibited.
Bowhunter education permit: Not required; persons born after Jan. 1, 1961, must complete hunter education course.
Special permits: Many major metropolitan areas have special archery hunts. Call (770) 918-6416 for more information.
Bowhunters in ’10: 73,061 (survey number; state no longer sells archery-specific licenses).
Treestands/Blinds: Orange must be visible above waist or outside ground blinds, except during archery season.
Baiting/Mineral Use: Baiting is illegal. Salt/mineral licks are considered bait.
Calls/Decoys: Decoys, except live decoys, allowed. Electronic calls prohibited.
Bowhunting organization(s): Georgia Bowhunters and Archery Association; www.gbaa-archery.com.
Information/licenses: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division/Game Management, 2070 Hwy. 278 S.E., Social Circle, GA 30025; (770) 918-6416; www.georgiawildlife.com
Hawaii’s hunting opportunities are fittingly diverse and casual. However, with this diversity, unit-specific research is essential. Open season on private land is at the discretion of landowner. Public land bowhunting seasons, however, vary considerably by island and unit. Each of the state’s six major islands has one or more state-designated public hunting areas and one or more of the six different introduced big game species, which include: black-tailed and Axis deer, Mouflon sheep, feral sheep, feral goats and feral pigs.
In the interest of animal control to protect Hawaii’s delicate ecosystem, the Department of Land and Natural Resources occasionally announces archery-only hunts, so island hunters should monitor the Department’s website for these opportunities.
Visiting hunters are advised to study the regulations in detail before planning a trip. Also, all hunters must possess either a Hawaii Hunter Education Wallet Card or a Letter of Exemption. There is no charge for the latter, but you must apply before arrival on the islands and include proof you have taken an approved hunter safety course (bowhunter safety course only will not meet conditions). The application form is available online. Unfortunately, many hunters don’t plan or research their hunting trips before traveling to Hawaii and are turned away at the license agent’s counter because they were unaware of this license requirement. As with any hunting trip, know before you go!
Season: Lanai—Archery season is eight consecutive days between and including the last two Saturdays in February. Maui and Molokai—No season; any axis deer encountered while hunting on a public hunting area may be taken regardless of sex.
Limit:Lanai—1 deer per season.
Fees: Res. $10. Non-res. $95.
Season: Kauai—Generally six consecutive weekends, including and preceding the last full weekend in October, but varies by unit.
Limit: 1 buck in some units, 1 deer of either sex in others.
Fees: Res. $10. Non-res. $95.
Season: Lanai—Archery is eight consecutive days, the last Saturday in July through the first Saturday in August; all weapons nine consecutive Saturdays, commencing the Saturday after the last Saturday of muzzleloader hunting. Variable on the Big Island.
Limit: 2 sheep per season on Lanai. Varies by area and season on the Big Island.
Fees: Res. $10. Non-res. $95.
Season: Big Island only, varies by hunting unit.
Limit: Varies by area and season.
Fees: Res. $10. Non-res. $95.
Season: Varies by island and unit. Some units year-round.
Limit: Varies; generally 1 pig per day, 1 goat per tag issued.
Fees: Res. $10. Non-res. $95.
Season: Molokai, Maui, Lanai, Big Island—First Saturday in November through Martin Luther King Day or the third Sunday in January, whichever occurs later; Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays. Spring turkey hunt on the Big Island—Mar. 1-31 (can vary).
Limit: 2 birds per day for fall-winter season, 2 birds per day for spring season; 3 birds season limit.
Fees: Res. $10. Non-res. $95.
Minimum draw weight: 40 pounds for longbows, 35 pounds for recurve bows, 30 pounds for compound bows.
Broadheads: Minimum cutting diameter of 3/4 inch.
Crossbows: Permitted on private lands, or by special disabled permit.
Bait/Mineral Use: No restrictions.
Treestands/Blinds: No restrictions.
Calls/Decoys: No restrictions.
Bowhunter education permit: Proof of Hawaii or other state general hunter education course required for license purchase. Non-residents also need to apply for a Letter of Exemption. Est. bowhunters in ’10: 400.
Information/licenses: Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl St., Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-0166; www.dofaw.net.
Idaho offers a wide variety of some of the best big game hunting in the West. Deer are found throughout Idaho. The more abundant mule deer (estimated at 300,000) occur mostly in the southern two-thirds of the state, with whitetails (200,000) found primarily north of the Salmon River. Pronghorn (15,000) predominate in southern Idaho, black bears (25,000) favor forested areas while mountain lions occur statewide.
Currently, elk herds meet or exceed management objectives in 21 of 29 elk management zones, and provide hunting opportunities ranging from trophy bulls to extra cow hunting opportunities to meet objectives. In the remaining eight zones, Fish and Game is working hard to improve elk survival to allow elk herds to meet objectives, including cutting back on some hunts and implementing programs to reduce predation. The final phase-in of the Sawtooth Elk Zone tag quotas reductions that began in 2009 will occur in 2011. This year Sawtooth Elk Zone A tags will be capped at 566 tags, 396 fewer tags than were available in 2010. Sawtooth Zone B tags will be capped at 1,526 tags, 428 fewer tags than were available last year. However, with more than 100,000 elk, Idaho continues to provide a variety of desirable elk hunting opportunities.
Black bear harvest data show the panhandle, Clearwater and southwest regions to be the most productive, with about equal percentages between spring and fall. Of particular note for bowhunters, bait and spot & stalk methods produce the highest number of kills.
Mountain lions may be pursued or hunted with hounds. Populations are maintained with strict control over the taking of female cats. Like bears, they are found in most of Idaho wherever development is not too intense. Also like bears, their numbers are stable or slightly increasing.
For 2011 Mandatory hunter reporting for deer, elk, and pronghorn is entirely paperless. All successful hunters are required to report by Internet or phone within 10 days of harvest. Hunters who do not harvest, or did not hunt on their tag, are required to report within 10 days of the close of the hunting season.
Nonresident elk or nonresident deer tags, excluding nonresident junior elk or deer tags, are valid to take a black bear or mountain lion, if the season is open for that species when and where the nonresident elk or deer tag is valid.
For archery-only hunts, you must have an archery permit (res. $18.25, non-res. $20) in addition to other required licenses and permits. Additional control hunt opportunities may be available. Visit www.fishandgame.idaho.gov for details.
Season: Archery-only Aug. 30-Dec. 31 (earliest and latest dates, vary by unit).
Limit: 1, but additional controlled hunt opportunities may be available.
Fees: Res. $12.75 for the license plus $19.75 deer tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $301.75 deer tag.
Season: Archery-only Aug. 30-Sept. 14 Unit 1. Fall Aug. 30-Nov. 18 (earliest opening and latest closing dates; varies by unit). Spring Apr. 15-June 30 (earliest opening and latest closing dates; seasons vary according to unit and whether dogs and/or bait are used).
Limit: 1. Second tags may be used in Units 10, 12, 16A, 17, 19, 20, 20A, 26, 27 and that portion of Unit 16 north of the Selway River. No female black bear accompanied by young may be taken.
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $11.50 bear tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $186 bear tag. Non-res. second bear tags $31.75.
Season: Archery-only Aug. 30-Sept. 30 and Dec.1-31 (earliest and latest dates, vary by unit).
Limit: 1. Hunters can purchase a second elk tag beginning Aug. 28; these are non-res. tags and are sold at non-res. prices.
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $30.75 elk tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $416.75 elk tag.
Season: Aug. 15-Oct. 24 (varies by unit). All archery pronghorn are controlled hunts.
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $31.25 antelope tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $311.75 antelope tag.
Season: Earliest opening and latest closing dates Aug. 30-June 30, 2012 (varies by unit).
Limit: 1. (Some areas in north-central Idaho have a 2-lion limit.)
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $11.50 lion tag. Non-res. $141.50 plus $186 lion tag. Some areas in north central Idaho have non-res. reduced or second lion tags for $31.75.
Seasons: Fall Sept. 15-Dec. 31 (earliest opening closing, varies by unit). Spring Apr. 8-May 25, 2011. Application period for Spring is Jan. 15-Feb. 15, and Fall May 1-June 5.
Limit: 1 bearded per day in the spring and 1 either-sex per day in the fall, except in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5 where 5 turkeys (either-sex) may be taken in a day during fall seasons. No more than 2 bearded turkeys may be taken per spring.
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $19.75 general turkey tag, $12.25 extra turkey tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $80 ea. turkey tag and extra turkey tag.
Season: Aug. 30-Oct. 31 (earliest opening and latest closing dates), varies by unit. Available by controlled hunt (drawing) process only. Application period is Apr. 1-30.
Limit: 1 ram, 3/4 curl or greater per lifetime (both California and Rocky Mountain sub-species).
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $166.75 tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $2,101.75 tag.
Season: Aug. 30-Dec. 1 (varies by unit). Available by controlled hunt (drawing) process only. Application period is Apr. 1-30.
Limit: 1 per lifetime; either-sex in some units/seasons.
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $166.75 tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $2,101.75 tag.
Season: Aug. 30-Nov. 12 (varies by unit). Available by controlled hunt (drawing) process only. Application period is Apr. 1-30.
Limit: 1 per lifetime, either sex except nannies accompanied by kids.
Fees: Res. $12.75 plus $166.75 tag. Non-res. $154.75 plus $2,101.75 tag.
Minimum draw weight: 40 pounds up to or at 28 inches with maximum letoff of 85 percent.
Broadheads: Must measure more than 7/8 inch in width with a primary cutting edge 0.015 inch thick or greater. Barbed broadheads and expandables are illegal. The arrow/broadhead combination must weigh at least 300 grains. Arrows must be greater than 24 inches from broadhead to nock inclusive.
Crossbows: Permitted during the general firearms season for big game or by permit for physically disabled persons. Bolts must be greater than 12 inches from broadhead to nock inclusive.
Bait/Mineral Use: Legal for bear only in some areas—check regulations. Baiting permits (required) are $12.75.
Treestands/Blinds: Portable pop-up blinds are encouraged. No permanent placement of materials is allowed, and all materials must be removable. Wire mesh not allowed. Digging, trenching, or other surface disturbances are prohibited. Cutting live vegetation to build, screen, or camouflage blinds is discouraged. The hunter’s full name and zip code must be permanently attached, etched, engraved, or painted on the blind in an obvious location. Blinds may be placed no earlier than 10 days before the beginning of the hunting season for which the hunter has a valid tag and must be removed within seven days of the close of that season.
Calls/Decoys: No electronic calls may be used to attract big game for the purpose of harvest, except such calls may be used to attract mountain lions and bears in certain units.
Archery validation: Bowhunter education required of any archer who has not previously held a valid archery permit in Idaho or another state. The archery validation is only required in archery-only seasons.
Big game controlled hunt application period: May 1-31. Most archery hunts are general season only and the tag can be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis.
Archery licenses sold in ’10: 32,459. There may be more, as archery permits are included with some license packages.
Bowhunting organization(s): Treasure Valley Bowhunters, President Chris Reichert, (208) 888-4214; www.idahoarchery.com/tvb/.
Information/licenses: Idaho Department of Fish & Game, 600 S. Walnut, Box 25, Boise, ID 83707; (208) 334-3700; (800) 554-8685 (purchase licenses); www.fishandgame.idaho.gov.
If it’s deer, it’s hard to beat Illinois. For one, there is no limit to the number of whitetails a deer hunter may take; there’s just a two-antlered-animal limit. For another, resident archers have unlimited over-the-counter (OTC) access to archery deer permits. Non-resident archers have a 25,000 quota, but demand has been less than that for a couple years. All archers have unlimited OTC access to “antlerless only” deer permits. On top of all that, quality deer—trophy animals—may be taken anywhere in the state. West-central and southern Illinois deer hunters will find abundant whitetail populations.
Even though populations are stable to slightly declining, prospects are still good, according to Deer Project Manager Tom Micetich. Bowhunters in Illinois took a preliminary total of 63,595 deer during the 2010-2011 archery deer season, which was down 1.9 percent from the 64,819 taken during 2009-2010. The record archery deer harvest was 66,094 in 2005.
This year’s Special CWD Deer Season was limited to Boone, DeKalb, McHenry, and Winnebago Counties and Kane County west of Ill. Rt. 47, while 69 additional counties were open for the Late-Winter Antlerless-only Deer season. The Special CWD season is used to assist in controlling the spread of chronic wasting disease in the Illinois deer herd, while the Late-Winter Season provides additional “antlerless only” harvest opportunities as a population management tool. Both seasons were seven-days, split, with the first four-day segment (Thursday-Sunday) following Christmas and the final three days (Friday-Sunday) in the traditional mid-January period. Archery season ran through the end of the late-winter deer season.
For all seasons combined, the 2010-2011 harvest totaled 182,324 and was down 3.9 percent from the 189,634 deer taken in 2009-2010. Illinois’ record deer harvest occurred in 2005-2006, when 201,209 deer were taken.
Turkey hunters bagged a preliminary statewide total of 15,121 wild turkeys during the 2011 Spring Turkey Season, 8.7 percent below the 16,565 taken in the 2010 Spring Turkey Season. Hunters took a state-record 16,605 turkeys during the spring season in 2006.
Hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 6,469 wild turkeys during all seasons in the South Zone, down from the harvest of 6,916 last year. The North Zone total of 8,652 wild turkeys was also down compared with last year’s total of 9,649. Harvests during the 2006 record year were 6,530 in the south and 10,075 in the north. All results include harvest during the Youth Turkey Seasons.
“This year’s wild turkey season will probably be best remembered for including the wettest April in recorded history,” said DNR Wild Turkey Project Manager Paul Brewer. “Hunters did well on days when the weather was cooperative, but those days were few and far between. We are certainly hopeful for some better weather during the remainder of this spring and into early summer.”
In spite of the 93 percent increase in average rainfall statewide, harvest was down only five percent from the previous 5-year average. Flood conditions and weather during spring and summer will be an important factor affecting nesting success.
The top five counties for turkey harvest in the South Zone this spring were: Jefferson (402), Pope (356), Union (324), Randolph (321), and Wayne (314). The top five counties for spring turkey harvest in the North Zone this year were: Jo Daviess (534), Pike (522), Fulton (449), Adams (415), and Macoupin (343).
Season: Archery Oct. 1-Jan. 15 in Cook, DuPage, Lake and portions of Kane County east of State Rt. 47. Oct. 1-Jan. 15, 2012, in all other counties with archery hunting CLOSED Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4 for firearms deer. Hunters must wear blaze orange during Oct. 8-9 Youth, Dec. 9-11 Muzzleloader, and the Late-winter and CWD Seasons on Dec. 29-Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 13-15, 2012.
Limit: One deer per permit; only 2 may be antlered; no limit on antlerless animals.
Application deadlines: Firearms 1st lottery April 30 (res. only); 2nd lottery Aug. 14 for first-time applicants, non-res. & rejected res. applicants. Archery (non-res.) permit lottery held during June.
Fees: Res. archery combination permits $26, archery single antlerless-only permit $15.50. Non-res. archery deer combination $411 either-sex and antlerless-only (non-res. hunters must reserve via telephone or Internet for a random lottery drawing) or single antlerless-only archery deer permit $25.50, non-res. Hunting License $35.75 (5-day) or $57.75 (regular), and $5.50 State Habitat Stamp.
Season: Spring Southern Zone Apr. 9-13, Apr. 14-19, Apr. 20-25, Apr. 26-May 2, May 3-10; Northern Zone Apr. 16-20, Apr. 21-26, Apr. 27 – May 2, May 3-9, May 10-17. Fall archery Oct. 1-Jan. 15 (closed for firearm deer season; open for all other seasons). All counties are open except Cook, Douglas, DuPage, Ford, Kane and Lake.
Limit: Fall 1 per permit with maximum two permits. Spring 1 gobbler or bearded hen per permit with maximum three permits.
Fees: Res. Fall Archery $5.50; Spring and Fall Firearm $15. Non-res. Fall Archery $75.50 (also need hunting license and habitat stamp); Spring and Fall Firearms $125 (also need hunting license and habitat stamp).
Minimum draw weight: 40 pounds within a 28-inch draw; minimum arrow length without broadhead is 20 inches.
Broadheads: Fixed-blade broadheads must be metal-, flint-, chert-, or obsidian-knapped, be barbless and have minimum 7/8-inch diameter when fully opened. Broadheads with expandable blades must be metal.
Crossbows: Hunters 62 years of age and older are now permitted to hunt using a crossbow without a special permit. For those under 62 crossbows are legal only for physically challenged hunters by permit. Minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds, maximum peak draw weight of 200 pounds, minimum overall length (from butt of stock to front of limb) of 24 inches. Bolts must be 14 inches or greater in length (not including required broadhead).
Bait/Mineral Use: Illegal to bait and/or feed deer at any time.
Treestands/Blinds: Nails, screws or any device which pierces or cuts the bark of the tree on public land is illegal. Stands must be portable and must be removed at the end of each day, unless otherwise specified in site-specific regulations. Only one treestand is allowed per deer permit holder at each site.
Calls/Decoys: Mechanical deer decoys or electronic calls are legal for deer hunting, illegal for turkey.
Bowhunter education: Not required, but persons born after January 1980 must complete hunter education course. Archer permits sold in ’10: 219,558 total archery deer permits, 34,888 archery turkey.
Bowhunting organization(s): Illinois Bowhunters Society; www.illinoisbowhunters.org. United Bowhunters of Illinois, 1806 E. 1850th St., Coatsburg, IL 62325; www.unitedbowhuntersofillinois.org. Illinois Archery Association, Judy McCutcheon, 23358 Virden Rd., Virden, IL. 62690; (217) 652-5836; www.il-archery.com. Southern Illinois Traditional Bowhunters, Bob Clark, 502 W. St. Louis St., Pinckneyville, IL 62274.
Information/licenses: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271; (217) 782-7305; www.dnr.state.il.us.
Deer hunting in Indiana remains exciting, says Deer Biologist Chad Stewart. A long season (Oct. 1-January 1), reasonable licenses ($24 for resident, $150 for nonresident), and a great opportunity to shoot a 2.5 year old or older Midwestern deer make Indiana an attractive bowhunting destination.
A total of 134,004 deer (53,007 antlered) were legally harvested (all weapons) in Indiana during the 2010 season. This harvest was 1 percent higher than the 132,752 deer harvested during the 2009 season. The 2010 harvest for total deer and antlerless deer ranks as the highest reported kill for each category in history. The antlered harvest ranks second all-time.
The early archery season harvest (including the early Urban Deer Zones) of 26,342 deer comprised 20 percent of the total harvest and was nearly 5 percent less than the 27,818 harvested in 2009. The late archery season comprised 1 percent of the total harvest, similar to the 2009 season. The combined archery seasons yielded 28,026 deer, a decrease of 5 percent from the 29,416 harvested in 2009. Antlerless deer comprised 67 percent of the total archery harvest, up slightly from 2009. Antlerless harvest in early archery season was 66 percent, while in late archery it was 80 percent. Does made up 56 percent of the total harvest in early archery season and nearly 68 percent of the harvest in late archery season.
Stewart expects a slight decrease in the number of bow-killed deer for 2011. A very wet spring delayed crop planting significantly. “I would expect many bowhunters to be hunting the early part of bow season with standing corn,” he says. “Likewise, Indiana’s firearm season is the earliest it will ever be this year (Nov. 12), causing many hunters to put down their bows and pick up their guns earlier.”
Quality deer can be found anywhere in the state. “For numbers,” Stewart advises, “I would tell hunters to focus on the northeastern and southeastern parts of the state.”
As part of its deer management program, the DNR offers bonus antlerless deer bag limits on a county-by-county basis, based on many different factors including crop depredation problems, previous years’ deer harvests and input from Hoosiers interested in deer management. For questions about the bonus antlerless deer program, contact the Deer Hotline at (812) 334-3795.
Crossbows are legal hunting equipment during the late archery deer season and can be used to harvest deer of either sex only in the late archery season.
The spring 2010 turkey harvest was the highest harvest in 41 years, exceeding the 2009 harvest by 749 birds (a 6 percent increase). Hunters harvested 13,742 wild turkeys in 88 of the 92 counties, their success estimated at around 22 percent. The majority of the birds were harvested in the early part of the season and the early morning hours. Juvenile and adult weights were up slightly compared to the mean weights of previous years. The south-central and southeastern regions supported 49 percent of the harvest followed by northern Indiana at 23 percent. Reasons for the increased harvest reflect general turkey population growth around the state, especially in some northern counties, and the continual increase in hunter numbers.
Season: Early Archery Oct. 1-Nov. 27. Late Archery Dec. 3-Jan. 1, 2012.
Limit: 2 antlerless OR 1 antlered and 1 antlerless. Additional antlered and antlerless deer are allowed in selected Urban, Bonus, Military/Refuge and State Park/Nature Preserve areas.
Fees: Res. $24 deer. Non-res. $150 deer.
Season: Fall Archery Oct. 1-30 and Dec. 3-Jan. 7 (statewide). Spring Apr. 25-May 13, 2012 (statewide); Apr. 21-22-youth season.
Limit: 1 per season.
Fees: Res. $25 turkey. Non-res. $120 turkey or reciprocal. Game bird stamp $6.75.
Minimum draw weight: 35 pounds.
Broadheads: Must be metal-edged or knapped flint, chert or obsidian.
Crossbows: Legal only in late archery season, or for use by the physically challenged in the early archery season.
Baiting/Mineral Use: Illegal. Bait (which includes a solid or liquid food product, salt, or mineral) that is transported and intended for consumption is illegal. An area is considered baited for 10 days after removal of bait or baited soil.
Treestands/Blinds: It is illegal to hunt from a permanent treestand on public property, portable stands allowed and may be left overnight only between Sept. 1 and Jan. 10; contact the property manager for specific regulations and any additional restrictions. A treestand placed on public land must be legibly marked with the owner’s name, address and telephone number.
Decoys/Calls: Deer—infrared sensors or electronic calls illegal. Turkeys—live decoys, electronically powered or controlled decoys, or recorded calls are illegal.
Bowhunter education permit: Not required for general season; may be required for special hunts in urban zones and/or state parks.
Est. bowhunters in ’10: 105,000 (hunter survey).
Bowhunting organization(s): Indiana Bowhunter Association, 7112 E. Co. Rd. 975 N., Seymour, IN 47274; www.indianabowhunter.com.
Information/licenses: Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, 402 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204; (317) 232-4080; www.in.gov/dnr.
The reported archery harvest in 2010-2011 was down slightly from the 2009 season with bowhunters reporting 22,748 deer; 47 percent of the harvest were antlerless deer, 40 percent of all deer killed were does. For the sixth year in a row, the number of does taken in the total statewide harvest (all hunting seasons) was higher than the number of bucks. Sixty-three percent of the total harvest was made up of antlerless deer, and these animals have made up the majority of the harvest for the past eight seasons.
County-specific antlerless quotas have worked well with wildlife management units moving towards their population goals. The statewide population trend has been a declining one since 2006. Currently, over half of the state is at or near its population goals; in fact some northwestern and north-central units may have populations that are lower than desired.
For 2011 seasons there have been no changes to the season structure. Reductions in county antlerless quotas were recommended for many eastern Iowa counties but it is not known at this time if they will be acceptable to the Governor’s Office or the Natural Resources Commission. In addition, Iowa continues using bowhunters to help control whitetail populations in and around urban areas such as Des Moines, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs and Coralville.
Bowhunters should enjoy a good season this fall, says Deer Biologist Tom Litchfield. However, due to declining deer numbers, hunters can expect to see fewer deer in many areas and the archery harvest will likely decline somewhat. The deer herd is in very good health, has well-balanced sex ratios throughout the majority of the state, and herd quality, in general, remains high.
According to Iowa Big Game Records, since 1953, the top trophy-producer is Allamakee County, in northeast Iowa. Next best is Clayton County, just to the south, followed by a handful of counties in south-central and southeast Iowa.
Iowa turkey populations have been faced with poor reproduction throughout most of the state the last several springs, resulting in reduced turkey numbers in Iowa. However, good turkey populations still remain. Turkey numbers are the strongest in western regions.
Season: Archery Oct. 1-Dec. 2, Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2012.
Limit: 1 deer per license. Res. 1 either-sex and unlimited antlerless as long as the quota is not filled. Non-res. 1 either-sex and 1 antlerless.
Fees: Res. hunting $19, habitat fee $13, any-deer license $28.50, antlerless-only deer license: first license $28.50; second and subsequent licenses $13.50. Non-res. hunting license $112, habitat fee $13, any-deer license and antlerless license combo $426.
Season: Fall (res. only) Oct. 10-Dec. 2. Fall Bow-Only (res. only) Oct. 1-Dec. 2, Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2012. Spring Youth (res. only) Apr. 13-15. Spring Apr. 16-19, Apr. 20-24, Apr. 25-May 1, May 2-20.
Limit: 1 per license.
Fees: Res. hunting $19, habitat fee $13, turkey license $24.50. Non-res. hunting $112, habitat fee $13, turkey license $102.
Minimum draw weight: None.
Broadheads: Must be at least 1 inch in diameter.
Crossbows: Permitted for use by the physically challenged during archery season.
Bowhunter education permit: Not required for general hunts, required for urban bowhunts. Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, require proof of hunter education course to apply for or obtain a deer hunting license.
Bait/Mineral Use: Illegal.
Treestands/Blinds: You may not construct a permanent treestand on state public hunting areas. You may not drive or in any other way place any nail, spike, pin, or any other metal object into a tree on state public hunting areas to construct a blind or to provide hunting access to a location above the ground. Treestands may be left on a state public hunting area from 7 days prior to the start of a deer season until 7 days after the final day of that season. Hunters who fall from a treestand are required to report the hunting incident if injury occurs or if property damage exceeds $100.
Calls/Decoys: Electronic or electronically amplified calls illegal. Live decoys illegal.
Special hunts: Numerous urban hunts for deer population control. Check current regulations under “Deer Population Management Hunts” or with local townships or city departments for more info.
Bowhunters in ’10: 57,350, including hunters who only held an antlerless-only license (54,255 either-sex resident hunters, 2,158 either-sex nonresident hunters).
Special regulations: All non-res. archery licenses are issued by drawing. Application period for non-res. deer licenses was May 7-June 5, 2011. The reapplication period is July 30 through the last day of the archery season. During that time, licenses will be sold first-come, first-served until quota is filled. For deer licenses, call (800) 367-1188 or apply online.
Bowhunting organization(s): Iowa Bowhunters Assoc., Box 872, Waterloo, IA 50704; (515) 456-5244; www.iowabowhunters.org. Information/licenses: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, License Bureau, Wallace State Office Bldg., Des Moines, IA 52309; (515) 281-5918; www.iowadnr.gov
Although Kansas was the last state in the USA to reestablish a deer hunting season (1965), whitetails now flourished there. Home on the range in the Sunflower State has numerous playgrounds for deer and antelope once more. Kansas is now one of the continent’s top destinations for whitetail hunters. Highest hunter harvest densities are in the eastern one-third of the state. Whitetails have adapted well to Kansas’ modern landscape, finding cover in natural woodlands, shelterbelts, old homesteads and grasslands, and abundant food in cropfields. The selective management program has created a healthy deer herd, with excellent potential for trophy-sized bucks in all regions.
Whitetails are found statewide wherever suitable habitat exists. Mule deer are restricted to the western one-third of the state, primarily on the High Plains, Smoky Hills, and Red Hills regions. As you travel west to east, mule deer are less abundant, and whitetail numbers increase. There are about 2,000 pronghorn in the westernmost two to three tiers of counties. Firearm and muzzleloader antelope hunting is restricted to residents only; nonresidents are eligible for archery permits. Antelope hunting is limited to three management units that include parts or all of 25 western counties. Elk hunting is restricted to residents only by permit.
Wild turkey restoration has resulted in huntable populations in nearly every county. The Rio Grande subspecies dominates the western two-thirds of the state. The eastern subspecies is common in the eastern regions. Hybrid Rio Grande/eastern birds are found where the two ranges converge. With a long season and birds abundant in most of the state, there is ample opportunity to bag an eastern, Rio Grande, or hybrid tom. Good numbers of turkeys can be found in the northwest, north-central, northeast, central, and south-central portions of Kansas. In the southeast, numbers have been down in recent years due to poor hatch survival, and drought in the far southwest may affect hunting in that region which is open only to residents. Total harvest (all weapons) during the spring 2010 season was 34,991 turkeys of which 9.6 percent were taken with archery equipment and 0.2 percent were taken with a crossbow. The age and sex structure of the spring 2010 harvest was 85.0 percent adult gobblers, 14.1 percent jakes, and 0.8 percent bearded hens. The percentage of all turkey hunters taking at least 1 bird was 63 percent during the 2010 season. The overall success rate has been over 60 percent for eight of the last nine spring turkey seasons in Kansas. During the 2010-2011 fall season an estimated 3,954 turkeys (930 archery and 3,024 firearms) were harvested, which was down from the previous year and approximately 35 percent below the previous 5-year average.
A hunting license ($20.50 residents, $72.50 nonresidents) is required in addition to deer, elk, antelope, or turkey permits.
Season: Archery Sept. 19-Dec. 31. Extended archery (urban units only) Jan. 9-31, 2012.
Limit: 1 deer per permit with up to 7 permits available in some units. Hunters limited to 1 antlered deer.
Fees: Res. antlered deer permit $32.50 ($17.50 for 15 and younger). Non-res. antlered deer permit $322.50. Res. antlerless-only deer permit $17.50 ($10 for 15 and younger). Non-res antlerless-only deer permit $52.50. Non-res. mule deer stamp $102.50.
Application Deadlines: Non-res. deer draw last Friday in April (April 29, 2011); resident any-deer draw second Friday in July (July 8, 2011); resident any season permit Dec. 30; resident archery Jan. 30, 2012;
Season: Archery Sept. 19-Dec. 31 outside Fort Riley (except Morton County); Sept. 1-Oct. 2 on Fort Riley.
Fees: General Resident Any Elk permit $252.50. General Resident Antlerless-Only Elk permit $102.50. Landowner/Tenant Any Elk permit $127.50. Landowner/Tenant Antlerless Only Elk permit $52.50; Hunt-Own-Land Antlerless Only $52.50.
Application Deadline: Second Friday in July (July 8, 2011).
Season: Archery Sept. 24-Oct. 2, Oct. 15-31.
Limit: One either sex.
Fees: Res. pronghorn permit $42.50; res. landowner/tenant pronghorn permit $22.50; non-res. archery pronghorn permit $202.50.
Application Deadline: Res. and non-res archery accepted until Oct. 30.
Season: Fall 2011 Shotgun/Archery Oct. 1-Nov.29, Dec. 12-31, Jan. 9-31, 2012. Spring 2012 will be Apr. 11-May 31 (shotgun/archery) and Apr. 1-10 (archery only).
Limit: 1 per permit, up to 3 game tags available, either-sex. Spring—an individual who has purchased a spring turkey permit is eligible for one second turkey game tag.
Fees: Res. $22.50, non-res. $32.50. Non-res. turkey game tag $22.50. Second turkey game tags res. $12.50, non-res. $22.50.
Minimum draw weight: None.
Broadheads: Arrows used for hunting big game and turkeys must be equipped with broadhead points that cannot pass through a ring 3/4 inch in diameter when fully expanded.
Crossbows and draw locks: Legal during archery season only for permanently disabled hunters by permit. Crossbows are legal equipment during a firearms deer season.
Bait/Mineral Use: Legal.
Treestand/Blinds: Legal to use but may not be placed on public hunting areas more than 14 days prior to the hunting season; must be removed within 14 days after hunting season.
Calls/Decoys: Non-electronic calls, lures, and decoys, except live decoys, shall be legal while hunting big game.
Bowhunter education: Bowhunter education is not required in Kansas. Hunter education is not required while hunting one’s own land. Otherwise, anyone born on or after July 1, 1957, must have hunter education. Anyone under 27 years old must carry a Kansas or other state approved hunter education card while hunting.
Bowhunters in ’10: 45,637 hunted deer during the 2010 archery deer season.
Bowhunting organization: Kansas Bowhunter Association; www.thekbasite.com.
Information/licenses: Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, KS 67124; (620) 672-5911; www.kdwp.state.ks.us.
How is the hunting in Kentucky? Again in 2011, Wildlife Biologist David Yancy says, “Excellent! White-tailed deer and wild turkeys are widespread, numerous, and their populations are stable, while the elk herd in our 16-county ‘Southeastern Kentucky Elk Zone’ is holding steady at approximately 10,000 animals.”
At 10,000 animals, it is also the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi River. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will issue 800 elk permits again in 2011, down from 1,000 in 2009 (but twice as many as the 400 tags allocated in 2008). The odds for success, if you get selected, should be at least as good as last year (when 465 out of 687 participating elk hunters [800 were drawn] filled their tags). Hunters who harvest an elk outside the 16-county restoration zone must call (800) 245-4263 to report the kill.
Hunters may now apply for up to two of four tag types (bull firearms, bull archery or crossbow, cow firearms, and cow archery or crossbow), but may not apply twice for one tag type. There will be a new, two-week, archery-only (no crossbows), bull only season during Sept. 17-30. An archery or crossbow hunter may not hunt during the four weeks of firearm elk hunts. Youths under 16 years of age, seniors 65 years of age and older, and persons with a hunting method exemption may hunt with a crossbow during the entire elk archery season. Lastly, hunters with bull permits may now take any elk with visible antlers during the firearms and archery/crossbow bull elk hunts.
Even with the continuation of normal autumn temperatures (and only a few scattered reports of epizootic hemorrhagic disease from across our central and west-central counties), deer hunting success declined slightly in Kentucky for the 2010 deer seasons. Last year’s overall deer kill of 110,376 was 3,208 (3 percent) less than in 2009. Yancy and his colleagues believe that the decline mostly resulted because of an exceptionally good acorn crop in the fall of 2010. “Our total deer take nearly always goes down in years of mast abundance, likely because vulnerability to harvest is reduced (i.e., when food is readily available, deer don't have to travel as far [or come out in the open to food plots, farm fields, or bait sites as often], or spend as much time [during legal shooting hours] looking for a meal),” he says.
However, two new records were set during the 2010-11 Season in that both the number of deer taken in January (2,701), when only archery hunting is allowed, and the number of deer killed with a bow during the entire season (16,650; an increase of 1,984 more animals than in 2009) were the highest ever posted in Kentucky. This is noteworthy because a common complaint across the state last October and November was that hunters were not “seeing” deer (or at least not antlerless deer). However, deer not encountered during the fall were apparently observed in January, by late season bowhunters, and a record number were harvested. Detailed harvest results may be studied at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ website: www.fw.ky.gov.
In terms of big bucks, Kentucky is still probably the best-kept secret east of the Mississippi River. During 2000-09, Kentucky ranked fourth (behind Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa) in the number of trophy deer entered into the Boone & Crockett Club’s Records Program. In each of the last six seasons, it has produced at least 20 deer that qualify for B&C record books, to say nothing of the number of P&Y entries. During the 2010 Season, however, at least 52 B&C bucks were recorded (18 were harvested with archery equipment, and one was killed with a crossbow). Nick Brumley took a 185 1/8-inch typical, velvet-antlered buck from Jefferson County, while David Gregory bagged a 228 0/8-inch typical in Warren County.
Better still, trophy buck production appears to have become more evenly distributed across the state (i.e., the 52 trophies taken in the 2010 Season came from 42 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, and all geographic regions were represented) in recent years. While Boone County in northern Kentucky accounted for three Boone and Crockett bucks, Casey, Fulton, Hardin, Harrison, Marion, McLean, Owen, and Whitley Counties in the western, west-central, north-central, central, and south-central parts of the state all tied for second place with two trophy entries each. Kentucky’s Appalachian region also delivered again during the 2010 Season, with Boone and Crockett bucks being taken in both Harlan and Johnson Counties.
Season: Archery Sept. 3, 2011-Jan. 16, 2012. Crossbow Oct. 1-16, Nov. 12-Dec. 31.
Limit: 4, 1 antlered and three antlerless deer, or all 4 antlerless deer. Unlimited antlerless deer can be taken in the 36 “Zone 1” counties.
Fees: Res. hunting $20, deer permit $30, bonus antlerless deer permit $15. Non-res. annual hunting license $130 plus $60 non-res. deer permit; bonus antlerless permit same as res.
Season: Fall Archery Sept. 3, 2011-Jan. 16, 2012. Fall Crossbow Oct. 1-16, Nov. 12-Dec. 31. Fall shotgun Oct. 22-28, Dec. 3-9. Spring Youth Only Apr. 7-8, 2012. Spring Apr. 14-May 6, 2012.
Limit: 4 either-sex (fall), but only 2 in Archery/Crossbow seasons and 2 in Shotgun seasons, and no more than one with a >3-inch beard; 2 bearded-only (spring). In both fall and spring seasons, no more than 1 bird per day.
Fees: Res. hunting license $20. Non-res. $130. Spring turkey permit $30, Non-res. $60. Fall turkey permit $30, Non-res. $60.
Season: Antlered Quota Hunts—Archery Sept. 17-30, Oct. 15-Dec. 9, Dec. 24-31, 2011 and Jan. 01-16, 2012; Crossbow Oct. 15-16, Nov. 12-Dec. 9, and Dec.24-31, 2011; Firearms Oct. 1-7, Oct. 8-14. Antlerless Quota Hunts—Archery Oct. 15-Dec. 09, Dec.24-31, 2011 and Jan. 01-16, 2012; Crossbow Oct. 15-16, Nov. 12-Dec. 09 and Dec. 24-31, 2011; Firearms Dec. 10-16, Dec. 17-23.
Limit: 1 (800 permits issued total).
Fees: Res. hunting license $20, elk lottery application $10, elk tag $30 (if drawn). Non-res. hunting license $130, elk lottery application $10, elk tag $365 (if drawn).
Application period: Dec. 1-Apr. 30, over the Internet only at www.fw.ky.gov
Minimum draw weight: None.
Broadheads: Must be barbless design with points at least 7/8 inch wide.
Crossbows: Permitted for small and big game during crossbow season, by permit for physically disabled during archery seasons, and by anyone during firearms seasons.
Treestands/Blinds: Only portable stands and tree climbers that do not injure trees may be used on public land. Use of nails, spikes, screws, wire, or tree climbers is prohibited. Additionally, stands must be marked with the owner’s name and address. Portable stands, climbing sticks, etc., may be placed in trees no earlier than two weeks before the opening of the season, and must be removed within one week after the season closes on the public land area. Use of any existing permanent treestands is prohibited. On state parks, treestands must not be left unattended for more than 24 hours.
Baiting/Mineral Use: Use of bait/minerals illegal on public lands. Illegal to feed wildlife with grain, seed, or manufactured animal feed outside the curtilage of the home (the area immediately surrounding a home or group of homes) Mar. 1-May 31. Deer on private land—legal. Turkey—illegal to use bait, hunt over bait, or hunt on a baited area for 30 days after all bait has been removed. Turkeys can’t be hunted over any private land area baited for deer. An area where grains or other feeds exist as the result of legitimate agricultural practices, or from growing or manipulating a crop for wildlife management, is legal for hunting.
Decoys/Calls: Recorded or other electronically produced calls prohibited for turkey, deer, or elk hunting. Illegal to call or attempt to call wild turkeys, by mimicking the sounds made by them from March 1 until the opening day of Spring Turkey Season (in any area open to turkey hunting) if turkeys are reasonably expected to occur there. Locator calls, such as crow or owl calls, are permitted.
Bowhunter education permit: All hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1975, must complete a valid hunter education course and carry proof of graduation while hunting. A bowhunter not in possession of a firearm while hunting, may carry a valid National Bowhunter Education Program course completion card instead of the hunter education card.
Special hunts: Youth Deer Hunt Weekend on the second Saturday and Sunday of October. Free Youth Weekend Dec. 31, 2011-Jan. 01, 2012. There are two archery/crossbow-only quota deer hunts, and five hunts reserved just for disabled hunters. Call (877) 598-2401 (or see www.fw.ky.gov) to apply for quota deer hunts on state-managed lands. Additional opportunities exist on some federally owned/managed properties.
Est. bowhunters in ’10: 105,000 (97,450 res., 7,550 non-res.; based on combination of license sales, deer and turkey hunter survey, and crossbow season expansion study).
Bowhunting organization(s): United Bowhunters of Kentucky; President Gary Williams, 1395 Everett Lane, Hopkinsville, KY 42240; (270) 881-5009; www.unitedbowhuntersofkentucky.org. Kentucky Bowhunters’ Association, P.O. Box 662, Alexandria, KY 41001; www.kentuckybowhunters.com.
Information/licenses: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, #1 Sportsman’s Ln., Frankfort, KY 40601; licenses by phone (877) 598-2401 or online at www.fw.ky.gov.
Long seasons and liberal limits complemented by milder winters than more northern states make Louisiana an enticing bowhunting destination. “Summers can be hot, but that’s when one can turn to the cooler nighttime sport of bowfishing,” says DMAP Coordinator Emile P. LeBlanc.
“White-tailed deer and feral hogs are our top big game. Deer numbers are consistently highest in the northwest mixed pine/hardwoods due mainly to the fact that these parishes are mostly rural. Higher-quality deer can be found along our more fertile riverine systems (Red River, Mississippi River) where agriculture also competes for land use. Hog populations are expanding exponentially across the state where year-round opportunity exist” he says.
If there are no hurricanes, prospects continue to look good. LeBlanc adds, “Deer kill estimates increased from the 2009-2010 season by 6,200 deer, (+4 percent). This year’s very dry fall/winter likely encouraged higher participation as reflected by the 13 percent increase in bow and arrow hunting as well as a 23 percent increase in crossbow hunting efforts. There was no significant rainfall until Christmas Day.
“Hemorrhagic Disease” (EHD/Bluetongue) continues to be Louisiana’s most significant disease affecting the deer population and manifests itself as stress factors increase. The recent flooding throughout the Atchafalaya Basin has significantly impacted the habitat conditions. There has been some wildlife mortality but not to the degree that some would want the public to believe. Past research has shown that these animals have adapted to flooding conditions and move out to higher areas as flood waters rise. As the water recedes, animals move back into their original home ranges. “Our agency has worked diligently to keep the public informed and away from the flooded areas in order to keep stress factors to a minimum. We will continue to monitor this area throughout the upcoming season,” LeBlanc says.
Louisiana’s generous archery season runs Sept. 17-Feb. 15, depending on the area. Generous bag limits (3 bucks, 3 does) for deer and no limit on hogs mean plenty of opportunities to fill the freezer. You can follow the rut from October to January: Areas 3, 7, and 8 display rut activity; Oct. 17-Nov. 1. Area 2 has a peak Nov. 17-30. Area 1 (early), 4, and 5’s rut peaks Dec. 16-30. Area 1 (late) and 6 peak Jan. 14-28. Success rates for crossbows are still similar to conventional archery equipment.
LeBlanc also says that with the exponential increase in the hog populations around the state has spurred legislative action to help control the population encroachment upon native wildlife. Off-season nighttime hunting opportunities are offered on private lands. (Refer to “Nighttime Take of Nuisance and Outlaw Quadruped” regulations.) Survey estimates of 36,500 hog hunters killed 89,300 hogs in the 2010-2011 season. Late Hog seasons (Feb. 16-Mar. 31) have been established on selective WMAs (see WMA schedules).
“A non-resident 1-day turkey permit, all-inclusive for $36 (no turkey stamp required) is available for as many days as you want during the season—in case you find yourself here during turkey season with only one day to hunt,” LeBlanc notes. Hunters should keep a close eye for updates on a turkey season proposal to restructure areas and dates.
Season: Archery—Either-Sex Oct. 1-Jan. 31 (Areas 1, 2, 4, 5, 7), Sept. 17-Jan. 15 (Areas 3, 8). Bucks Only Oct. 1-15 (Area 6). Either-Sex Oct. 16-Feb. 15 (Area 6).
Limit: 1 antlered and 1 antlerless deer per day except during bucks-only gun season. A season limit of 3 antlered and 3 antlerless (button bucks included) will be in place again this year. All deer must be validated by either toll-free telephone number, website validation service or Department-managed hunt check stations during WMA-managed hunts.
Fees: Res. Basic Hunting $15, Big Game $14, Bow $10.50. Non-res. Basic Hunting (season) $150, Big Game (season), Bow $26. One-day non-res. deer hunting license available for $36/day. A 1-day $29 non-res small game/migratory bird license is required for hunting just hogs.
Season: Statewide (proposed for 2012) North Zone March 25, South Zone Mar. 31, openers with variable closing (latest dates, varies by area).
Fees: Res. Basic Hunting $15, Big Game $14, Bow $10.50, $5.50 Turkey Stamp. Non-res. Basic Hunting (season) $150, Big Game (season), Bow $26, $20.50 Turkey Stamp. One-day all-inclusive (no turkey stamp required) non-res. turkey permit is available for $36/day.
Minimum draw weight: 30 pounds.
Broadheads: Must have a minimum cutting with of 7/8 inch. Stone points and other knapped materials may be used.
Crossbows: Legal during the open archery and turkey seasons.
Bowhunter education: Not required but highly recommended.
Special permits: Daily Self-Clearing Permits to hunt State WMAs and Season Permits required to hunt Federal Lands.
Baiting: Legal for deer and hogs, illegal for turkeys. Baiting or hunting over bait is prohibited on all WMAs (hogs included). Bait on private lands is legal except “raw sweet potatoes,” the use of which may potentially spread a mold that can cause emphysema in animals that eat it.
Treestand/Blinds: Hunting from utility poles, high-tension power lines, oil and gas facilities, or platforms is prohibited. Construction of permanent stands or blinds on WMAs is prohibited. The use of nails, screws, spikes, etc., are illegal. Tree climbing spurs or screw in steps are prohibited on the WMA and Refuge systems. Deer hunters hunting from concealed ground blinds must display a minimum of 400 sq. in. of “Hunter Orange” above or around their blinds that is visible from 360 degrees. These regulations do not apply to private lands.
Calls/Decoys: Live decoys are illegal.
Special permits: Daily Self-Clearing permits to hunt State WMAs and Season permits required to hunt federal lands. Bowhunters in ’ 2010/2011: 49,300 (based on surveys). Bowhunting Organizations: Bayou State Bowhunters Assoc., Director Pistol Young, 1300 Dossman Lake Rd., St. Landry, LA 71367-9704; (337)461-2331; www.bayoustatebowhunters.org. Louisiana Traditional Bowmen, Singer, LA; Attn: Don N. Jackson, firstname.lastname@example.org; (337)786-5982; www.traditionalbowmen.org. Amite River Traditional Archery Club, Mike Wesley; email@example.com; (225) 749-7260; www.artactradbow.org.
Information/licenses: Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000; Public Information (225)765-2925; www.wlf.louisiana.gov.
“Bowhunting has become a critical part of Maine’s deer management program,” says Wildlife Biologist Lee Kantar. “In urban-suburban areas where there are firearm restriction ordinances, Maine offers an expanded archery season with a 1 buck and limitless antlerless deer opportunity. Bowhunters in these areas have been instrumental in helping maintain deer densities within district management objectives. As a management tool we expect the Expanded Archery season to continue to serve our needs for years to come.”
Archers will find the highest densities of deer in south-central and coastal areas of Maine and if you are looking for the big woods experience the western mountains and northern Maine offer the most unique opportunity in the northeast to experience solitude and adventure.
Hunters registered 20,063 deer in 2010, 1,497 deer were taken during the expanded and special archery seasons. There were decreases in both the adult buck and doe harvest from 2009. Maine had a moderate to severe winter with a rainy, cool spring. In the early winter of 2010 IFW incorporated a new double count aerial survey for deer to corroborate data on deer abundance. For 2011 we have decreased any-deer permit allocations significantly to provide additional growth to our deer population in south-central parts of the state. While this will result in a decrease in harvest in 2011, it should be a boon for deer numbers in the future and additional hunting opportunities.
Besides deer, Maine offers opportunities for bear, moose (more than any other state in the Lower 48), and turkey. Archers can hunt turkey both spring and fall, with southern and central Maine providing the best opportunities. Ten WMDs provide bowhunting-only fall turkey hunting opportunities.
There are more bears in Maine than in any other Eastern state. Archers seeking bear will find tremendous opportunity in the western mountains, northern Maine, the Moosehead area, and downeast Maine. Bear hunters can hunt over bait, allowing hunters a good look at bears and a clean shooting alley. Please visit www.maine.gov/ifw/index.shtml for more information.
Although Maine is mostly private land, access continues to be available throughout the state (ask permission first), and all of this against a diverse and dramatic landscape ranging from the bold coastline to rugged mountains.
Season: Regular Archery Sept. 29-Oct. 28. Expanded Archery (limited area) Sept. 10-Dec. 10.
Limit: Regular Archery 1 (bucks only statewide except either-sex in WMDs that have any-deer permits). Expanded Archery 1 antlered, unlimited antlerless with special permit.
Fees: Archery license res. $25, non-res. $74. Expanded archery permit antlered $32, antlerless $12.
Season: General Aug. 29-Nov. 26. With dogs Sept. 12-Oct. 28. With bait Aug. 29-Sept. 24.
Fees: Res. $25 plus $27 bear permit required from Aug. 30-Oct. 29. Non-res. $74 plus $74 bear permit required from Aug. 29-Oct. 28. Late season bear permit $40 required for non-res. Nov. 1-27.
(Permit Only, Nonrefundable Application Fee)
Season: Sept. 26-Oct. 1 in WMDs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 19; Oct. 10-15 in WMDs 1-14, 17, 18, 19, 28, 29; Nov.7-12 in WMDs 2, 3, 6, and 11.; and Oct. 31-Nov. 26 in WMDs 15, 16, 22, 23, 25, and 26. Oct. 29 Maine residents only.
Limit: 1 (sex varies with permit).
Fees: Res. Hunting license $25 plus $52 permit. Non-res. $74 plus $484 permit.
Online Application Deadline: May 13
Paper Application Deadline: Apr. 1
Season: Fall Oct. 8-22 Zone 1 (bow), Sept. 29-Oct. 28 Zone 2 (bow), Oct. 15-21 Zone 3 (shotgun). Spring (2012) Apr. 30-June 2; Youth Spring Turkey Day Apr. 28.
Limit: Spring 2 bearded birds. Fall 1 either-sex.
Fees: Res. Spring/fall combo permit $20, 2nd Spring Turkey $20. Non-res. Spring/fall combo permit $54, 2nd Spring Turkey $20.
Minimum draw weight: Bows must be capable of casting an arrow 150 yards or more.
Broadheads: Must have cutting diameter of 7/8 inch.
Crossbows: Legal during firearms deer season and for bear, with special crossbow certification.
Bait/Mineral Use: Illegal, except for bear during the bear baiting season.
Treestands/Blinds: It is unlawful to erect and use any kind of stand or ladder, or insert any metallic or ceramic object into a tree on land of another for the purpose of erecting a ladder or treestand, without the landowner’s (or his agent’s) permission. Ladders or stands must be plainly labeled with a 2x4-inch tag identifying the name and address of the person or persons authorized by the landowner to use the stand or ladder. Portable treestands or ladders used on land within the jurisdiction of the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission and attended by the person who owns the ladder or stand shall not require landowner permission or labeling, but permanent ones do.
Calls/Decoys: Live decoys illegal for turkey. Electronic calling devices legal for deer, bear, turkey, moose, and coyote.
Bowhunter education permit: Required.
Bowhunting licenses sold in ’10: 13,774 (12,843 res., 931 non-res.).
Bowhunting organization(s): Maine Bowhunters Association, P.O. Box 5026, Augusta, ME 04332-5026; www.mainebowhunters.org.
Information/licenses: Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife, 284 State St., Station 41, Augusta, ME 04333; (207) 287-8000; www.mefishwildlife.com.
Maryland hosts around 235,000 whitetails, according to DNR Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler. The highest densities are in the urban/suburban counties toward the center of the state where development has created good deer habitat, but hunter access is limited. The Coastal Plain Province, which borders both sides of the Chesapeake Bay, has optimum soil, good food resources, and mild winters. As a result, some of the state’s best trophies are found in this region. Maryland has produced several 200+ inch deer, including a 260-inch world-class non-typical. Some counties on the Eastern Shore offer the unique opportunity to hunt free-ranging sika deer. The sika deer hunting regulations were liberalized for the 2010-2011 season and remain unchanged for 2011-2012; check the Guide to Hunting and Trapping for more details.
Legislation passed during the 2011 Session of the General Assembly added Sunday bowhunting for deer on private land in Carroll County. The General Assembly also added a Sunday to the Junior Deer Hunt in most counties.
All hunters are permitted to use crossbows for all game that can be hunted with a vertical bow with the exception of waterfowl. This means that crossbows are legal during the entire vertical bow season (Sept. 15-Jan. 31) in all counties. The western portion of Washington County was put back into deer management Region A in 2010-2011 and will remain in Region A this season. This area was moved to Region B (where bag limits are more liberal) in 2004 in order to bring the deer population down to more sustainable levels. Moving western Washington County back into Region A was the result of a multi-year plan to address the high deer densities in western Washington County.
Associate Director for Game Management Peter Jayne points out that wild turkeys are doing well in many areas. Huntable turkey populations now occur in all Maryland counties, but the western mountains and the Coastal Plain region harbor the most birds. The five-week-long spring season offers extensive opportunities for bowhunting bearded birds throughout the state. Changes made in the turkey hunting regulations in 2010-2011 allowed all-day hunting during the last two weeks of the spring season and separated spring season and fall season bag limits. Those changes remain in effect for 2011-2012.
Garrett and Allegany counties are home to a very healthy black bear population. Bear hunters may use archery tackle (traditional, compound, or crossbows) during the bear hunting season.
Season: Sept. 15-Jan. 31, 2012.
Limit: Region A (Garrett, Allegany and western Washington County) 1 antlered and 1 antlerless. Region B (all remaining counties and eastern Washington County) 2 antlered and 10 antlerless; unlimited antlerless in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties.
Fees: Res. $24.50 (Junior $10.50) plus $6 bow stamp. Non-res. $130 (Junior: $65) plus $25 bow stamp.
Season: Sept. 15-Jan. 31, 2012, in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties only.
Limit: 2, no more than 1 antlered.
Fees: Same as whitetails.
Season: Spring Apr. 18-May 23 (Youth Day Apr. 14, 2012). Fall Oct. 29-Nov. 5 (Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties only).
Limit: Spring 2 bearded birds. Fall 1 either-sex.
Fees: Res. $24.50 (Junior: $10.50). Non-res. $130 (Junior: $65).
Season: Oct. 24-29 (Garrett and Allegany counties). A bear hunting permit is required. Permits are awarded via a random drawing.
Limit: 1 bear per permit.
Fees: Res. $24.50 (Junior: $10.50). Non-res. $130 (Junior: $65). No cost for bear hunting permit. $15 application fee for permit lottery.
Application period: July 1-Sept. 2. Up to 3 hunters per permit.
Minimum draw weight: 30 pounds.
Broadheads: Sharpened broadhead with minimum width of 7/8 inch.
Crossbows: Crossbows must have a draw of no less than 75 pounds and the use of telescopic sights is permitted. Deer hunting with a crossbow is allowed for all legal hunters for the entire deer season.
Bait/Mineral Use: Baiting for deer with food, salt, or minerals is legal on private land only. Baiting deer is not legal on DNR-owned or -controlled properties or where it is specifically prohibited due to Chronic Wasting Disease regulations. Baiting for bear and turkeys is not permitted anywhere.
Treestands/Blinds: Treestands and blinds on public land must be temporary in nature and removed at the end of each hunting day. Hunters using ground blinds (four sides and a top located less than four feet above the ground) will be required to display fluorescent orange outside the blind they are hunting in if they otherwise would be required to wear orange if not hunting in the blind.
Calls/Decoys: Electronic game calls are not permitted. Mechanized decoys are prohibited for turkey.
Bowhunter education permit: Not required.
Bowhunting licenses sold in ’10: 52,700 resident, 7,950 non-resident (based on bow stamp sales).
Bowhunting organization(s): Maryland Bowhunters Society, marylandbowhunterssociety.org.
For license information: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, 1804 West St., Ste. 300, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-260-3220; Southern Region, (410) 535-3382; Western, (301) 777-2134; Central, (410) 836-4550; Eastern, (410) 713-3840.
For other deer information: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, 14038 Blairs Valley Rd., Clear Spring, MD 21722, (301) 842-0332; www.dnr.maryland.gov.