Spring Hunting & Fishing Season: What & Where to Hunt & Fish in the USA
Spring is when the snow melts, the flowers bloom, and the wildlife emerges from hibernation. Though spring is not often known as a great hunting season, as an avid hunter, you should know what opportunities are out there. If you’re wondering what and where to hunt and fish in the US, read on to get this comprehensive preview of some of the most popular game species and hunting destinations for the spring season.
Spring turkey hunting is one of the most popular hunting activities nationwide. This is the time of year when male turkeys, also known as toms or gobblers, are actively seeking mates and will respond to calls from hunters. In many states, spring turkey season lasts for several weeks, giving hunters ample time to bag their bird, but it’s largely March-April. Still, a few states on this list may run their seasons well into May. Just be sure to check the regulations in your state, as some states have a limited number of tags available or only allow hunting during specific times of the day.
The best states for turkey hunting include:
Texas: Texas has a large population of Eastern, Rio Grande, and Merriam's turkeys, making it an excellent destination for turkey hunters. The season typically runs into May.
Florida: Florida is home to the Osceola turkey, a unique subspecies found only in the state. These birds thrive in the swamps, pastures, and palmettos making the hunt more challenging, and rewarding!
Mississippi: Mississippi has a healthy population of Eastern turkeys and allows hunting from late March to early May. Be sure to check the guidelines for Mississippi before heading out to make sure you’re not hunting out of season.
Georgia: Georgia has a large population of Eastern turkeys and allows hunting from mid-March to mid-May. Take a look at the specific dates for Georgia turkey season to find out exactly when you’re allowed to bag a bird.
Wild Hog Hunting
Wild hogs are not native to North America but were brought over by European settlers in the 1500s. Today, they can be found in many parts of the United States, especially in the southern states. They are highly adaptable animals, and they can survive in a variety of environments, from forests to swamps to farmland.
Hunting wild hogs requires a certain level of skill and preparation. Hunters must be familiar with the terrain and the habits of the animals they are hunting. These hunts often occur on private land or ranches, offering a more controlled and safer hunting experience. However, some hunters prefer to hunt on public land, which can be more challenging but also more rewarding.
Because hogs are so ubiquitous across most of the Southern United States and because they wreak such havoc on agriculture and human development, there is no particular season for hog hunting. You are legally allowed to hunt hogs year-round in most states.
The best states for wild hog hunting include:
Texas: With an estimated population of over 2 million wild hogs, Texas is the top destination for hog hunting in the United States. The state has a variety of terrain, from scrub brush to pine forests, and many landowners offer guided hunts on private land.
Florida: Florida is home to a large population of wild hogs, and they can be found in almost every part of the state. Many hunters prefer to hunt in the swamps and wetlands of the Everglades, where the hogs are particularly plentiful.
Georgia: Georgia is another state that is known for its large population of wild hogs, and there are many public and private lands where hunters can pursue these animals. The state's rolling hills and dense forests provide a challenging hunting environment, and many hunters enjoy the thrill of the chase in this beautiful state.
Spring bear hunting is another popular hunting activity in the USA. Though bears are controlled species in many areas, there are some areas where overpopulation is a problem. If you’ve never hunted bears, this season might be your opportunity. In the spring, bears are coming out of hibernation and are actively seeking food, making them more vulnerable to hunters. However, it's important to note that some states do not allow bear hunting in the spring or have strict regulations on the type of weapon that can be used and the number of kills allowed for game management purposes, with some states requiring hunters to wait up to 4 years after their last kill to legally bear hunt again.
The best states for bear hunting include:
Alaska: Alaska is known for its large population of black bears and brown bears. The season typically runs from early April to late June. Be sure to check out Alaska's rules and regulations on baiting bear.
Idaho: Idaho has a large population of black bears, and the season usually runs from early April to early June. The resource provided here contains Idaho’s policies surrounding spring 2023 black bear hunting.
Montana: Montana has both black bears and grizzly bears, although grizzly hunting is banned in the continental US. The season typically runs from early April to mid-June. Read over Montana’s black bear hunting guidelines for more information.
Wyoming: Wyoming has a healthy population of black bears, and the season usually runs from early April to mid-June. Before planning your trip, be sure to follow the 2023 black bear hunting regulations in Wyoming.
Spring is also a great time for predator hunting, as many species are actively breeding and seeking food. Predators, such as coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions, can be hunted using a variety of methods, including calling, stalking, and trapping. It's important to note that some states have strict regulations on the type of weapons and methods that can be used for predator hunting.
The best states for predator hunting include:
Arizona: Arizona has a large population of coyotes and allows hunting year-round. However, the best time for predator hunting is in the spring when the coyotes are breeding.
South Dakota: South Dakota has a healthy population of coyotes and mountain lions, with the season typically running from early March to late May.
Utah: Utah has a large population of coyotes and allows hunting year-round. However, the best time for predator hunting is in the spring when the coyotes are breeding.
New Mexico: New Mexico has a healthy population of coyotes and mountain lions, with the season typically running from early March to late May.
Small Game Hunting
Spring is also a great time for small game hunting, as many species are more active and visible during this time of year. Small game hunting is an excellent way to introduce new hunters to the sport, as it requires less equipment and is often more accessible than big game hunting. In fact, various types of small game can be legally hunted year round.
The best states for small game hunting include:
Tennessee: Spring squirrel season is a very popular hunting option in the state. In Tennessee, you can hunt squirrel from May 13th - June 11th, with a daily bag limit of 10.
California: In California, Jackrabbit season is year-round, with no bag limits whatsoever. These speedy critters can be a challenging prize, but can certainly help sharpen your skills as a hunter.
South Dakota: Prairie dogs are a year-round species in the State of South Dakota, with no bag limits, as well. You can join a guided hunt or take to grasslands for a solo trip.
Spring is also an excellent time for fishing, as many species of fish are more active and visible during this time of year. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a novice, plenty of fishing opportunities are available during the spring. Be sure to check licensure laws in each state to avoid fines before fishing in any of these locations!
The best states for fishing include:
Florida: Florida is known for its excellent saltwater and freshwater fishing, with species like snook, redfish, and largemouth bass being popular targets during the spring.
Texas: Texas has a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities, with species like bass, crappie, and redfish being popular targets during the spring.
California: California has some of the best trout fishing in the country, with the Eastern Sierra region being a popular destination for anglers during the spring.
Montana: Montana is known for its excellent trout fishing, with spring being a great time to target species like rainbow and brown trout.
The spring hunting season in the USA offers a wide variety of hunting and fishing opportunities for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you're looking to hunt turkey, bear, predators, or small game or go fishing for bass, trout, or other species, there's game out there for you! However, it's important to always check your state's regulations and obtain the necessary licenses and permits before heading out into the field. With careful planning and preparation, you can make the most of the season and enjoy all the great outdoors.
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