Summer Hunting Guide: Where to Go, What to Hunt

Video summer hunting

Summer Hunting Guide America

America has a rich hunting heritage and our public lands provide great hunting opportunities. Ethical hunters follow the law, respect the environment and have a passion for the outdoors.

Hunting is an important wildlife management tool, ensuring that populations of game animals remain strong year after year. In many states, wildlife management and conservation programs are partially funded by fees collected from hunters and anglers. From deer to jackrabbits and elk to squirrels, hunting also provides a way for hunters to feed their families with sustainable, land-to-table meat. It’s a classic American outlet for hunters to bond with those they love in the great outdoors.

While many hunting seasons begin in the fall there are plenty of great opportunities for summer hunting. Below you’ll find seven warm weather hunting opportunities across the country. Discover where to hunt in Minnesota, California, Iowa, Texas and more.

1. Minnesota

Summer Game: Deer, Bear and Elk Big and small game roam the dense woods of Minnesota and the summer hunting season offers many opportunities to harvest animals that will fill your freezer and feed your family all winter long. Beginning in August, Minnesota will issue licenses to hunt black bear to control populations. In the central and eastern areas of the state, hunters must apply for a permit through a lottery. In the southern and western regions of the state there is no lottery, though hunters are allowed only one bear per person.

Deer can also be hunted in Minnesota. A youth lottery takes place in August; archery hunting begins in early September and firearm hunting starts later in the fall. Elk hunting also begins in early September and is limited to the central and northwestern Kittson zones of the state.

Apply for Minnesota hunting, lottery or trapping licenses here.

2. California

Summer Game: Deer, Rabbit and Pronghorn Antelope California’s long, sunny summer days invite hunters to head into the wilderness, and summer hunting season is often a fruitful time to harvest California game. The state has one of the earliest deer hunting seasons in the country: Archery hunting begins in July and open hunting kicks off in August. Hunters harvesting deer are allowed two deer tags per license year. Rabbit hunting also starts in July and pronghorn antelope hunting has a short window, beginning in late August and ending on September 1.

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All hunters in California are required to have a permit in advance. Tags are required to hunt big game such as deer, bear, wild pig, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep. Applications for big game drawing open each year on April 15 and close on June 2.

Apply for California hunting, lottery or trapping licenses here.

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3. Iowa

Summer Game: Cottontail Rabbit, Coyote and Squirrel Hunting, fishing and trapping are popular pastimes in Iowa and the state has over 700,000 acres of public land open to hunters. While many of Iowa’s animals can only be harvested during fall and winter seasons, hunting for smaller game like squirrel and rabbit begins in late August and runs through February. Coyote and groundhogs have an open season and can be hunted year-round.

Iowa law requires that anyone born after January 1, 1972 to be certified in hunter education before they are eligible to purchase an Iowa hunting license. All hunters that are hunting on licensed game preserves must have an Iowa small game hunting license and pay a habitat fee, or obtain the hunting preserve hunting license available only on licensed preserves and pay the habitat fee.

Apply for Iowa hunting licenses and trapping permits here.

4. Texas

Summer Game: Dove, Axis Deer and Alligator Alligator probably isn’t the first game animal that pops into your mind when you think about hunting, but Texas has a long alligator season. The reptile can be hunted by permit in 22 Texas counties in September and in all other counties from April until the end of June. Doves can also be hunted beginning in September, depending on wildlife zone. White-winged doves are available to harvest beginning in September (either September 1 or September 14 depending on the zone).

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Because of their robust population, axis deer are open to hunting year-round and are frequently harvested in the Hill Country and southwestern Texas during the summer months. Other species of deer are not open to hunting until November.

There are over one million acres of public land open to hunting in the Lone Star State. Anyone hunting in Texas who was born after September 2, 1971 must complete a Hunter’s Education Training Course. Licenses and/or permits are required for all hunting activities in Texas.

Apply for Texas hunting licenses and trapping permits here.

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5. Colorado

Summer Game: Moose, Turkey and Coyote

There are over 23 million acres of public land in Colorado open to hunting, and a variety of wildlife is available to harvest. One popular big game animal is moose, which can be harvested by archery September 7 through September 29 and by Muzzleloader September 14 through September 22. Moose can also be harvested by rifle October 1 through October 14. The application period to obtain a big game hunting license to harvest moose opens March 1 and closes at the beginning of April each year. Any leftover hunting licenses are released in August.

Colorado’s fall turkey season begins September 1 and runs through October 25, though hunt dates can vary by license type and location. In the fall, bag and possession limits are confined to one turkey. Colorado coyotes can be hunted year-round and there are unlimited bag and possession limits.

All hunters in Colorado are required to take a Hunter Education Class if born on or after January 1, 1949. Hunters must have a hunting license and must purchase a habitat stamp.

Apply for Colorado hunting, lottery or trapping licenses here.

6. Connecticut

Summer Game: Woodchuck, Crow and Coyote Home to small game, furbearers and game birds, Connecticut has much to offer warm weather hunters. Popular summer game in the state includes woodchuck, which can be hunted spring through fall, from March 15 through November 15, and crows, which can be hunted August 10 through October 11 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. A Connecticut Migratory Bird Stamp is required before hunting crow. Coyotes can be hunted year-round in Connecticut.

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Licenses and permits are required of all hunters and are available online, at most town clerks and at some sporting goods stores. Connecticut Conservation Education/ Firearms Safety coursework is required for everyone applying for a hunting license unless they have held a license in the respective discipline for which they are applying within the last five years.

Apply for Connecticut hunting licenses and trapping permits here.

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7. Kansas

Summer Game: Bullfrog, Rabbit and Snipe Big game, small game, birds, turkey and furbearers all roam the plains of Kansas and can be legally harvested during certain times of the year. The state has 300,000 acres of public land open to hunting, as well as over one million acres of private land that is open to hunting seasonally.

Summer game favorites include bullfrogs, rabbit and snipe. Statewide bullfrog season is July 1 through the end of October. There’s a daily bag limit of 8 bullfrogs and a possession limit of 24. Cottontail and jackrabbits can be harvested year-round in Kansas with a daily bag limit of 10 and a possession limit of 30. Snipe, a wading bird that lives in marshes and wet meadows, can be hunted statewide September through mid-December. The daily bag limit for snipe is 8 and the possession limit is 24.

All hunters in Kansas between the ages of 16 and 74 must have a hunting license unless exempt by Kansas law. All out-of-state hunters must have a permit regardless of age. Anyone born after July 1, 1957 must receive a certificate from an approved hunter education course before hunting in the state. The exception to this rule is children under the age of 15 who are hunting with someone over the age of 18 that has participated in the education course.

Apply for Kansas hunting licenses and trapping permits here.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>