While there’s not really a single ideal season for hunting, most people will agree that particular seasons are the best for catching certain kinds of animals, especially if you’re hoping to get more than two or three in a single week. You can find most – but not all – animals all year round if you knew where to look, but it’s often easier to weak for a certain season before trying to track them down.
Spring is a good hunting season for a lot of younger animals since it’s the most common time for new waves of babies to be born. As morbid as it might sound, catching an entire family of animals in one swoop is quite often worth the wait, since many animals provide different kinds of meat and/or leather as they age. This isn’t always legal, though, so make sure you know the local rules before you shoot down an innocent fawn.
This isn’t the only reason to choose this season, though. It’s also the time that many harder-to-find animals come out of hibernation, and you’ll see a lot more activity from larger game like deer or moose. Depending on whether you’re hunting for food or sport, this can result in larger groups of easy-to-catch animals, as well as an increased presence from challenging targets. Bears are quite a common sign in certain parts of the world during this season, meaning that professional hunters will often go after them as trophies, or to sell them as fur and mounted heads.
The weather during spring makes it close to the ideal season for hunting since you’ll often get quite sunny days with a comfortable heat. Rain is still quite a common occurrence, but this can work to your advantage if you’re trying to stay hidden, and you don’t need to worry about blistering heat or blinding sunlight most of the time.
Summer is obviously the hottest season of the year, which can draw out a lot more animals than other times of the year, mainly birds. While intense heat requires more preparation (especially if you’re going to be out hunting for a while, and need to avoid dehydration), it can also be a rewarding opportunity, since the animals will be just as hot as you are. Heat draws animals towards water sources and cooler areas, so you can set up ambushes or push them into dead ends.
The big game will usually try to stay in the shade, but this isn’t always the case, and the heat can often result in them taking naps during the day. In countries that already have warm weather, this can put your hunting targets at a huge disadvantage, and you’ll have a better chance to bag them before they’re able to run too far away.
Due to the warmth, many hunters see it as a less than ideal season for hunting, but you just need to be prepared, think smart and use the heat to your advantage. In many places, including some U.S. states, summer has unlimited bag limits on certain animals that like to intrude on farmland such as feral hogs or rabbits.
Autumn, or Fall, is often referred to as “hunting season” by many people, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s probably the most ideal season for hunting on a casual level, since the younger babies will have grown up enough to be self-sufficient, resulting in larger packs of animals and a greater chance that individual animals will wander off on their own. Many animals also start to fatten up for winter, which can result in bigger kills and more meat, as well as a slightly lower speed while they’re trying to run away.
Deer are some of the most hunted animals in autumn, mainly because it’s the perfect time to catch them off guard and either isolate them or kill larger groups. In addition, most bucks will have had time for their antlers to grow, which can result in higher prices if you’re able to sell them off to somebody. In short, it’s the easiest time to get more ‘buck for your bang’, and you won’t need to worry about leaving a helpless fawn to starve to death.
In terms of weather, autumn is usually similar to spring but with slightly less rain and cooler winds, so it’s a lot easier to stay cool while you’re setting up shots or tracking a target through the woodlands. Make sure you don’t wait too long, though, since the fallen leaves later in the season can make each step louder, blowing your cover.
Winter is one of the hardest times to hunt, but it can also be the most ideal season for hunting specific animals if you’re prepared. The snow highlights most movement, and unlike humans, animals won’t really think to camouflage themselves, so it’ll be easier to spot them while keeping yourself concealed. If you’re really professional, you could even use thermal scopes or binoculars to pick out the body heat of nearby animals, and the footprints in the snow will make it far easier to track large game.
Unfortunately, many animals go into hibernation around this time, and it’s almost impossible to track them down unless you stumble across them randomly or knew where they were already. If you’re not careful, you might wake up an angry bear, so planning your movements and routes is key.
On the plus side, as long as you can stay warm, you won’t have any problems with the weather itself. It’ll usually just be completely still or lightly snowing, with only a small chance of a big blizzard or snowstorm, and it’s far easier to deal with than rain. The only issue could be hailstones, but a thick coat will keep you safe, and the noise will help mask your movements.
Which is the Ideal Season for Hunting?
To be completely honest, there’s no ideal season for hunting in general. It all comes down to how you hunt and what you’re hoping to catch or kill. Not every hunting strategy and technique will work properly, but if you adapt, you can technically keep hunting all year round. You’ll just need to make sure you’re tracking and targeting the right animals.
Written by: Matt Powerhouse // Hunter.Guide