Do the winter blues have you looking like a Smurf? Do you need an inoculation for cabin fever? Are you more bummed than Lindsay Lohan learning she has to return to rehab? The polar vortex has passed (geez, what a load of BS), and there are more than enough hunting seasons to keep you active—and your Crock Pot full—until spring arrives. If you need some ideas, take a look at these options and then kick that Smurf out of your life as you head out the door to go hunting.
Yes, there are still some deer seasons open, including those in the Deep South. Some of you can keep hunting well into February and for the rest of you, look for antlerless and depredation seasons. If you still need to put a few more white packages in your freezer, then look closer at your season dates. Many traditional seasons are closed, but game managers looking to cull extra animals for management purposes use the winter window for additional hunting opportunities. Game animals amass, giving hunters opportunities to target them as they move to food locations in droves.
This is the time of year when furs are at their best. Prices have dipped slightly for coyotes, bobcats and foxes, but if your calls push the right predator buttons, the action can be hotter than ever. Be sure to consider coyote vocalizations—these canines will begin breeding in February. If you’re after bobcat or fox, stick with traditional prey calls, as these critters tend to go the other way if they hear a howling Wile E.
Like whitetails, game managers keep seasons open longer for waterfowl to control the burgeoning flocks of Canada and snow geese. It can be easy to find these large flocks, but testing to hunt the wary birds. Oftentimes, a day makes a difference. Watch the forecast and hunt on days with poor visibility due to fog and snow for the best chance to fool decoy-wary geese.
Don’t forget about the species that likely sparked your interest in hunting as a child. Squirrels and cottontails have winter seasons that give you a good reason to walk the woods. You can incorporate dogs into the chase, or simply still-hunt looking for the flash of a tail, or the streak of a jumper above.
In most places, you can hunt varmints all year. If you consider it a waste of time picking off tiny critters, find somewhere to hunt hogs and bring home the bacon.
Sure, the latest round of cold weather might be too harsh to take up the chase, but there are plenty of windows of warm winter weather ahead. Look at the forecast and secure ingredients for your next Crock Pot masterpiece.