Extend your hunting Season – Late Season Archery Opportunities

Extend your Hunting Season -Late season Hunts in the US

Late Season Archery Hunting Opportunities

Late season bull

If you are like me you are always looking for ways to extend your hunting season. Many people start hunting in late August early September and are done by end of November, but there is a lot of good late season hunting opportunities available over the counter especially for deer. here is a quick run down of some of the places I have hunted in the late season and have had a great experience. Each of the states has a clickable link to the hunting regulations for those states.

Extend your Hunting Season -Late season Hunts in the US

Late season Mule Deer Hunting Opportunities


Late archery muley in AZ


OTC any antler deer December 15-31st and you can buy another tag in January 1-31st and if you don’t score you can come back and hunt Aug-Sept season or again next December! Well there is nothing like hunting December and January for rutting Mule deer and Coues deer in AZ. You can not beat the weather when everyone else is freezing their butts off AZ has mild enjoyable temps and more importantly rutting bucks. This is a western adventure hunt and primed for the DIY hunter with over 80% public lands and good deer just about any unit throw a dart at the map and bring some 15 power binos on a tripod and get to work. Cautionary tale although you will see a lot of deer if you plan to chase Coues deer plan to have a lot of failed stalks its a numbers game eventually you will do something right and he will make a mistake.  On the flip side mule deer become rather vulnerable during the rut often throwing caution to the wind and allowing you to get away with a lot more then normal. Aside form deer there are some OTC javelina opportunities and very easy to draw archery tags for the prime units. bring a shotgun to hunt 3 species of quail and do some predator calling if you tag out early. Feeling lucky put a Mt. Lion Tag in your pocket you may have an opportunity to shoot one on this hunt. Listen to my podcast with Duwane Adams on late season archery coues deer in AZ. Podcast dedicated to AZ late season archery hunts



There are several units open in December that are first come first serve refer to the regulations for which units offer these hunts. That being said if you are not afraid of a little cold weather there are some great opportunities for archery in big buck country. Hunters hunting in early Decembers may catch rutting activity although even if the rut has come to a holt, deer will still be up on their feet looking for food sources. Many of the older dominate bucks seek low pressure high feed areas to recoup from the rut, but there will still be subordinate buck out cruising for those does that didn’t get bread in the first 1-2 cycles.

Late Season Archery Hunting Opportunities

New Mexico:

Much like AZ there are a lot of good opportunities to be had in December and January for coues deer and more so for mule deer. Milder temps, rutting bucks and big open country perfectly suited for spot and stalk hunting. However these are draw hunts but there are several units that go unsubscribed and you can et left over tags.

South Dakota:

Where the west meets the Midwest…. SD is by far one of my favorite places to hunt its one of the few places you can hunt mule deer and whitetail together and be effective both by hunting treestand and or spot and stalk. I have been lucky enough to kill my biggest archery

South Dakota late archery 2015

mule deer buck in the prairie of south Dakota and my first archery spot and stalk Midwest whitetail here as well.  Pros: There are a lot of deer, the archery tag is basically OTC and the rifle tags for the November season are fairly easy to draw. Cons: its cold as balls in November and December and the snow can be really bad. there is plenty of public ground to hunt but there is plenty of private as well. I have found it pretty easy to gain access on private as an out of state bowhunter though.

Oregon:  and Washington: 

With very similar seasons and species to hunt the Northwest offers some excellent opportunities to chase Blacktail, mule deer, whitetail well into December and depending on the areas and species you hunt you will experience rutting activity well into December. I got to hunt blacktail in December about 10 years ago hunting in old apple orchards over apple piles out of a tree stand so my experience here is limited but I can tell you this I saw a lot of bucks and does. The doe would come to feed and bucks would come and ignore the apples and just check the does. I got rained on a bunch and even snowed on as well. The weather on the coast was somewhat milder than I expected nothing like December in the Midwest or Montana.  Listen to my podcast I did with Scott Haugen on hunting blacktail deer in the late season. Podcast dedicated to hunting blacktail in late season


Utah offers an extended archery season to those lucky enough to draw a general season tag. So if you draw a general season tag in any of the general units and do not score a buck you can come back and hunt the extend archery season in several extended archery areas. If you want to hunt this season there are several general season tags that are fairly easy to draw and you could probably get a tag every other year. I had good friend Devin Leonard on my podcast to talk about this season and the advantages of hunting this time of year. Keep in mind if you want to hunt the extended archery season you will need to complete a quick Extended Archery Ethics Course

Late season Whitetail opportunities:


Alabama’s season goes into February with the rut starting mid January and tapering off just after the season closes. unfortunately there isn’t a whole of public land to hunt  but there is e

Alabama Deer in February

nough to make it happen if you want to give it a go. The state sets aside WMA’s for public hunting use only and there are national forests open to hunting, so its a very doable trip and there are plenty of deer.



Florida has 2 deer species that qualify for a deer slam: the gulf coast deer and the Seminole whitetail and depending on where you hunt you can catch the rut from November all the way through march. similar to Alabama there are public management area set aside to hunt on but they are by draw only and mostly walk in access. What’s nice about the draw is it keeps the fighting over public land


Late archery season Oct. 1st to typically  – Jan. 14th Most people long to chase big rutting bucks in the golden triangle of Illinois in November however don’t turn your nose up at the late December and Early January hunts the weather is cold the rut has depleted these big bucks and they are searching for food. I had the pleasure to hunt the first week on January on a late cut corn field 7 years ago and I saw bigger bucks than I ever saw n the 6 times I had hunted it during the peak of the rut. do your homework a lot of the WMA public land opportunities butt right up against agriculture the bucks will feed on private and come back to bed on public

Late Season Archery Hunting Opportunities


Much like Illinois these bucks are looking for food with creative thinking and a little knocking on doors you can gain access in this secondary season.  Its legal to bait in OH and if you are smart about what you use and where you place it you can have a lot of activity from deer seeking to put back on some weight.



I include TX in here because if you don’t mind dropping a bit of coin to go shoot a big… well anything Texas is a great place to get out some frustrations and almost grantee a filled tag. The deer rut in late Nov in the northern part of the state and into late December early January in south Texas. You can hunt them out f stands, over bait, with a bow with a rifle  you can spot and stalk them, hunt from the ground by calling. Virtually anything goes so if you are having one of those seasons where nothing is going your way take a look at Texas to get your mojo going again…  Mule deer Seasons in Texas And Whitetail Deer Season in Texas