In much of the country, big game hunting starts to slow down around Christmas. However, that’s no reason to put away the hunting gear just yet. Below we will give you a few ideas to keep you out for late-season hunting.
Waterfowl & Small Game
In many states the waterfowl season extends into the new year, some of them can be just for geese others for just ducks and other states have both seasons going into January. Each state has different dates and we strongly recommend you take a look at each state’s guidebook. However, we will list a few different states and regions below.
- Montana: The Treasure State has two zones, the Central and Pacific flyways. Those two zones close on the 17th and 20th of January respectfully.
- Nevada: Hunters looking to hunt waterfowl in Nevada have several season end dates due to four different waterfowl zones. The season-ending dates range from Jan. 10th-24th.
- Utah: Utah’s waterfowl season closes for the entire state on Jan. 16th.
- Wyoming: The Cowboy State has four different waterfowl zones, those zones have several different ending dates which end between Dec. 31st – Feb. 14th.
- Idaho: Idaho has two different waterfowl zones. Those two zones close on Jan. 16th and Jan. 23rd.
- Colorado: The last state we will cover in the west has five waterfowl zones. each of these zones ends on Jan. 31st expect for the Eastern Zone that ends on Jan. 15th.
- Kansas: Kansas has 3 waterfowl zones, 3 of the four close on Jan. 25th. However, the Low Plains Early season ends on Jan. 4th.
- Nebraska: Like its neighbor to the south, Nebraska has several waterfowl zones. However, only 3 have season dates that run into the new year. Zone 3 Low Plains ends on Jan. 5th while Zone 2 High Plains and Zone 3 High Plains both end on Jan. 27th.
- Illinois: Illinois has two waterfowl zones that end in January. South Central Zone ends Jan. 12th and the South Zone ends Jan. 24th.
- Oklahoma: The entire state of Oklahoma’s waterfowl season ends on Jan. 13th.
This data was meant to show some of the opportunities available for late-season hunting. While we try our best to be correct we strongly recommend you check the state’s regulations before hunting.
On top of waterfowl hunting, other small game hunting is a great way to get into the outdoors late in the year. Many states across the country allow late-season hunting for upland game birds as well as rabbits. South Dakota has a pheasant hunting season that goes until January 31st. Likewise, many states allow late cottontail rabbit hunting. Both Utah and Colorado have cottontail seasons that end on Feb. 28th.
Coyotes & Predators
Predator hunting is another way to get into the field late in the year. The beauty of coyote hunting is in many locations and states it can be done without a hunting license. Coyote hunting and calling is an exciting type of hunting that allows for quick and fun shooting. Likewise, it helps keep the predator populations in check. If you are interested you can read an article we wrote about coyote hunting, click here to read about public land coyote hunting.
Mountain lion hunting is another hunt that usually focuses its seasons around the winter months. This is typically done because when the snow falls the mountain lions become more visible and the snow helps the hounds better follow and catch mountain lions. You can read more about mountain lion hunting in Utah by clicking here.
Lastly, recently, wolf hunting has become a winter hunting option. In Idaho, a wolf permit is good for the calendar year. Meaning that winter wolf hunting in Idaho is a good winter option. Likewise, Montana’s wolf hunting permit is good until March 15th.
Southwest Deer Hunting
Both New Mexico and Arizona offer late-season archery deer hunting. The two states approach it a little differently. In New Mexico, hunters must apply for these late-season hunts during the application period that happens earlier in the year. In many of these hunts, you can take either a couse deer or a mule deer.
Arizona used to allow for archery deer hunting in January on several units. However, over the last few years, the Division of Wildlife has removed several of these hunts. As of 2021, there are still five units that Arizona allows January archery hunting for deer. These units can be purchased OTC and the dates run from Jan. 1st – 15th. You can find more information about these hunts by checking out the Arizona Hunting Regulation Booklet. You can click here to download the booklet.
We hope that these late season hunting options will keep you all out and hunting the year through. We will be shed hunting again soon enough as well.