While hunting seasons for upland birds is over in some states, there are still opportunities in many. If you live in or near the following states or have time to escape for one last trip, do it! Grab the snow booties, the snowshoes (or ice cleats), or if you head south maybe grab t-shirts, the Llews, the gun, and just go! We only live one life, may as well live it to the fullest. No excuses!
Here are some of the states I found with seasons still open, but it is by no means a complete list–just enough to get you fired up for the possibility of more opportunities to hunt.
- Pheasant, Quail: Jan. 31
- Prairie Chicken (Regular) East and Northwest zones: Jan. 31
- Blue and Ruffed Grouse, Chukar/Hungarian (Gray) Partridge – Jan. 31
- California and Mountain Quail (some areas) – Jan. 31.
- California (Valley) Quail and Northern Bobwhite: – (Eastern Washington) – Jan. 21st.
- Partridge (Chukar & Gray) – Jan. 21st
- Pheasant – Jan. 31st (Unites east of I-25)
- Quail: Northern Bobwhite, Gambel’s and Scaled. – Jan. 31st (see Web site for units)
- Ruffed Grouse (Zone A) – Jan. 31st.
- Grouse (prairie chicken and sharp-tails), Pheasant, Quail, Partridge – Jan. 31st
- Bobwhite Quail, Gray Partridge, Ruffed Grouse – Jan. 31st
- Ruffed Grouse – Jan. 26th
- Quail: – Feb. 24th
- Woodcock: – Jan 31st
- Quail: – March 3
- Ruffed Grouse – Feb 28th
- Ruffed Grouse (west of I-95) – Feb. 9th
- Quail – Jan 31st
- Grouse – Feb. 28
- Pheasant – Feb. 1
- Snipe – Feb. 28
- Woodcock – Jan. 31
- Grouse, Quail – Feb. 28
- Ruffed Grouse – Feb. 28 (Check the link above for all the dates and maps of areas)
I’m already a bit out of my mind not hunting and our season just closed. I can’t imagine what madness I’ll be enduring when March rolls around and if not hunting does that to me, can you imagine what the poor dogs are going through? I know, there is always preserve hunting, but it just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
Late season hunting can present some challenges, but I’ve found it to be great fun and worth every ounce the effort. The birds are smarter and present longer shots, so you might want to opt for tighter chokes and maybe even heavier shot. Knowing your quarry is paramount—the cover they prefer in the early season is not usually the same as where they will be in the late season. Do your research. Know their needs.
The good news is that the birds are easier to see, the crowds are gone and you’ll most likely have hunting areas all to yourself. I prefer hunting in the late season for all these reasons and in particular, cold weather because there are no bugs and, if I dress appropriately in layers, not much sweating! You may also find greatly reduced rates on hotel rooms, cabins, vacation homes, and even camping areas. And, you’ll learn a lot! Even if you don’t limit out on birds, you’ll always learn something new about the birds, the cover they are using in the late season, maybe a new area that you’ll want to return or rule out next year, and you’ll learn a lot about yourself, and your dog.
Worried about too much snow on the ground? This map shows the snow cover amounts all over the United States.
So, grab all that great new gear you got for Christmas, a friend (or go alone), the dogs, and get out while you can. Work off all those Christmas cookies, walk on the wild side and try something different like a late-season adventure hunt somewhere new. You’ll be glad you did!
As always, hug your Llewellin tonight, because you can.
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