Escape the Cold with These Bowhunting Destinations
Is there a better way to beat the winter blues than soaking in the sun, bow in hand, with a pocket full of tags?
While most archery seasons wrap up in January, other hunting action is just heating up. Best of all, you still have time to plan your trip.
Gear up and escape the cold with these five bowhunting destinations:
Tampa Bay: Bowfishing
Florida offers a multitude of winter bowhunting opportunities, including wild hogs and inland bowfishing. But one option that’s really popular with locals and tourists alike is the opportunity to bowfish in saltwater.
Bowfishers have a wide variety of species at their disposal, including mullet, cobia, drum, snappers, flounder, and more. Most bowfishing takes place at night from lighted boats, but daytime trips are also an option. Even if you’ve never tried bowfishing, experienced guides can have you shooting proficiently in just one trip.
The South: Hog Hunting
Chasing wild hogs is another excellent way to extend your archery season. In many areas of the South, hogs are thriving and pursuing them is extremely popular. In some areas, particularly on private land, hog hunting is open year-round.
Your whitetail archery setup will be just fine for hog hunting, but known that hogs present more of a challenge. The vital area on a hog is smaller than a deer’s vital area and their muscles and shoulder blades are seemingly armor-plated. To keep your arrow groups tight, you’ll need constant practice with your SpyderWeb Target before you go.
Texas: Whitetail Hunting
South Texas is legendary for its whitetail hunting. Although whitetail body size is relatively small, bucks grow some downright impressive racks in the brush country. Bowhunters in Texas often have thousands of acres of land at their disposal when hunting the area’s numerous ranches.
Not only can bowhunters take some truly world-class bucks in southern Texas, they may also hunt the rut long after peak breeding has ended in many areas of the country. The bulk of rutting activity happens late December, although breeding may continue into February.
Arizona: Coues Deer
Perhaps one of bowhunting’s greatest challenges is the diminutive Coues deer. A mature buck might only weigh 100 pounds and an 8-point rack is a trophy.
But what this tiny deer lacks in size, it makes up for in elusiveness. These “gray ghosts” blend perfectly with their environs so it takes a keen eye and great optics to spot a bedded buck. Coues deer rut primarily in January, so you can fulfill your holiday obligations and then try to fill your Coues tag (available over the counter in Arizona). It won’t be easy, but it’ll sure be fun.
Hawaii: Axis Deer
Although it might fly under the radar, Hawaii has some surprisingly good hunting. And some islands—Lanai in particular—have incredible axis deer populations
You may see dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of deer per day. These deer with spotted-fawn coloration grow some impressive antlers. Needless to say, they make for some remarkable, memorable, and seriously impressive trophies.