Most states and counties split their hunting seasons into spring and autumn with many places having the largest restrictions on the spring time due to the presence of young offspring. Planning your hunting trip is essential as I have encountered many very disappointed people with last minute plans and no way to get a license or permit.
The first thing to do is figure out what kind of hunting you want to do. Trophy hunting permits are more expensive and difficult to get and will very much depend on whether there is a designated cull or not. For example, some Northern States have increased wolf hunting permits, even in spring as some of the wolf populations have grown drastically in recent years.
Bear hunting permits on the other hand are a lot more difficult to obtain, especially for out-of-staters. Locals will always find it easier to get a license, even if this is not an official rule. But if you plan to hunt for food and live locally, it is a lot more believable, than when someone from California makes the same claim in Montana. Are you really going to bring that food back to CA?
Next question is what type of animal do you want to hunt. Birds, small varmint, large mammals? The list goes on and only you can decide. You also need to take into account that animals would require some long trecks and possible multi day trips in order to encounter the right animal of the right gender and age.
Location is another big question. Hunting in autumn in southern States will have quite pleasant weather, while in northern States it will start to get quite cold. For some that is ideal and I personally like hunting and fishing when the first signs of frost appear. These are also the least favored areas, so licenses are easier to get and hunting grounds are not overrun either.
Putting all these pieces together will very much narrow down your selection, and I can help you out with finding the best locations. After that you need to go through the application process for a permit, which can take anything from a few days to several years.
This entirely depends on the supply and demand, where many States and Municipalities have a lottery system where it can take several years before you get a permit. But, we suggest you apply for several permits as many jurisdictions will allow you to defer a granted license. The important thing is that you get the license and then fully understand the restriction put in place.
This would generally involve meeting with a local expert, like myself, who will tell you exactly what you can hunt, where you can do so and how to best track the animals. We maintain a list of exerts that we have worked with over the years, and you can use the contact button or sign up to our email list to receive this kind of info.
It’s all in the planning and we strongly suggest you spend as much time planning as you do hunting. It will make sure you avoid fines and disappointment from start to finish.