Deer Hunting Season in the United States

By: Mike Wexel

Updated  – January 2017

For the avid hunter there’s nothing quite like the anticipation of waiting for deer hunting season to begin and if you’re planning on hunting in the U.S. you have a lot of choice available to you. Depending on where you live or where you plan on traveling to hunt the dates may vary, but as a general rule the length of deer hunting season is typically longer in the southern states than in the north. In northern states deer hunting season is normally restricted to the fall, but it can be a little longer in some states than in others. Just to make things even more confusing the seasons may vary from county to county.

Deer Hunting Season in Popular States

Below you’ll find a breakdown of hunting dates in some northern states versus some southern states to give you an idea of the possibilities available to you. We’ve also included a section outlining the different weapons you can hunt with and some suggestions on the tools you should have with you on the hunt as well.

Hunting Season in Ohio

While Ohio is a northern state it does have a fairly generous hunting season. This is a state with different rules and regulations depending on the county, but in general hunting season runs from about the 24th of September through the end of November. You can continue to hunt using archery right through February and if you do like the unique challenge that this type of hunting offers you then you’ll be pleased to know the bag limit is six deer, although only one of them may be antlered.

Hunting Season in Kentucky

Understanding the hunting season rules in Kentucky can be a little complicated. The season runs from September through December for archery, October through December for crossbows, October through December for muzzle loaders, and there’s only a small window for hunting with modern rifles from the middle to the end of November. Exact regulations in terms of the sex of the animals you can hunt as well as other regulations may vary from county to county.

Hunting Season in Texas

Things are a little more wide open in the great state of Texas. You can hunt from early September all the way through February – although the exact length of the season does vary depending on your hunting weapon of choice. You can hunt with modern rifles between November and the beginning of January, but if you like hunting with a muzzleloader you can continue hunting deer right through to the end of January. The state wide bag limit is 5 deer or a maximum of 3 bucks per season.

Hunting Season in Flordia

Florida is another southern state with a generous hunting season. If you’re willing to adjust your weapon of choice in Florida you can conceivably begin your hunting season as early as July and end it in January. Archery season begins in July, but modern gun hunting is split into two separate periods – from the middle of September through the middle of October and then again from the middle of November until the beginning of January. The possession limit per deer is 4 per season or a maximum of 2 per day.

Common Weapons Used for Hunting Deer

Crossbows

There has been a growth in popularity in bow hunting in the last few years and crossbow hunting in particular. A crossbow is a little different from a compound bow and in some ways can feel similar to shooting with a rifle, but of course it is a little more challenging to load. The other thing to keep in mind is that a crossbow will not fire with the same force as a rifle so you will have to be a little more selective with your aim.

Archery

There’s something a little nostalgic about hunting with a bow. Make no mistake modern bows have very little resemblance to the ones our ancestors used, but the principle is still the same. The main difference is you have some modern aides to increase your shot accuracy such as a drop away arrow rest.

Modern Rifle

Hunting deer with a modern rifle is without a doubt the most popular hunting method for today’s hunters. They’re powerful, easy to load, and extremely accurate. That means you have a much better chance of a successful kill – the big drawback with this method of hunting though is that in most states the hunting season is much shorter than it is with other weapons.

Muzzle Loader

Muzzle loaded weapons have a nostalgic appeal for some hunters because of their historical links to some of the earliest guns. These are the types of weapons that would have been used in the civil war or the revolutionary war. They’re not for everybody though as the loading process is more complicated and much slower than with a modern rifle. When hunting using this method you need to make every shot count.

Tools Used for Deer Hunts

The list of tools and equipment you need to take with you on a deer hunt can be just about as long as you want it to be, but there are a few things you should have with you every time. Here are a few must have items we believe any hunter should have with them.

Camouflage

If you’re hunting deer you have to remember they have very keen senses – especially their sense of sight. Don’t forget to dress in your camouflage gear before you head out the door.

GPS and Compass

The last thing you need when you’re hunting on unfamiliar ground is to get yourself lost and far from home. You should always pack a GPS unit or compass if you’re comfortable with going old school on every hunting trip.

Field Dressing Knife

If you’re planning on having a successful hunt a field dressing knife is critical so that you canpreserve as much of the animal as possible. This should be one of the first tools you put in your backpack.

Ammunition

The last item on our list may be the most important one – don’t forget to pack your ammunition! This might seem like such an obvious item that it doesn’t need mentioning, but surprisingly most hunters know someone that’s forgot their ammunition at home at some point.