3 Best Places for Hunting This Autumn In The U.S.

With fall well and truly upon us and the cold weather really starting to bite, you KNOW it’s time for hunting season.

Autumn hunting brings with it a huge variety, from birds and small game to the more enormous beasts out there in the wilderness. You can even try your hand at a spot of archery if you are looking for a challenge!

With the change of season, outdoor enthusiasts start thinking of ways to enjoy the pleasant weather. They also wonder where they can go camping and hunting to view wildlife.

Hunting is an excellent option for a standalone adventure, but it can also make an excellent addition to a larger trip, so even if you are planning a cruise vacation this fall, why not consider adding the thrill of the hunt to the mix! To inspire you to pack your bags and try something new, here are three of the best places to go hunting this autumn. 

Luckily, the U.S. offers some of the best-hunting destinations in the world. Whether you are a veteran gunman or a complete newbie, it has never been easier to get out into the woods and bag yourself a prize. While everyone has a favorite state and spot for wildlife hunting, three states make a cut above the rest, and these are Wisconsin, Idaho and Utah.

1. Wisconsin

Wisconsin is heralded as the best place in the U.S. for whitetail deer hunting, and the historic and delightful town of Appleton makes the perfect base for a seriously excellent deer hunting experience.

As a hunter, one can find ample hunting opportunities across millions of acres of public land specifically provided for hunting. With state records for buck sizes regularly falling in the area and a whopping 383 B&C entries recorded between 2013 and 2018, this is THE spot for deer enthusiasts.

Hunters can explore Wisconsin by county and deer zones such as Central Forest, Northern Forest, Central Farmland, and Southern Farmland. Wisconsin’s record-setting trophies come from the rocky landscape near the Mississippi River in the western parts of the state. The state is prevalent and prized for deer hunting.

It is heartening to see the hunters participating actively in habitat protection and supporting the conservationists in another state. Public funding programs and tax incentive programs help to safeguard the thousands of acres of land in the state and enhance hunting opportunities.

Every hunter here aims for a trophy white-tailed deer and to enjoy the outdoors. Apart from deer hunting, enjoy the state’s scenic treasures with towering bluffs, curvaceous valleys, and flowing rivers. The state has witnessed a long tradition of hunting that has been passed on from generation to generation. 

Thousands of acres of land are open for hunting deer and other recreation opportunities. While hunting is essential for the state, protecting and managing the lands is important too. The state keeps a strict vigil as the whitetail deer populations have increased significantly, and hunting is used as a tool to control their population and allow the plant communities to thrive as well. 

As wild turkeys were reintroduced successfully, the population levels continued to increase statewide. Hence, hunting is a reliable way of maintaining a healthy population and balance of flora and fauna. The ring-necked pheasant hunting has long been a Wisconsin tradition. However, the pheasant population gradually declined due to modern agricultural practices and limited habitat availability. Today, the pheasant habitat is being restored. 

Coon Creek fishery area comprises forest and, grasslands and many hunters explore the area looking for specific games like cottontail rabbits, wood ducks, squirrels, wild turkey, and woodcock. There are plenty of other games to enjoy here, such as rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, grouse, quail, fox, and coyote, ducks and geese, and more across the state.

Kickapoo River Wildlife Area is another property that is popular among hunters. The hunters come here looking for wild turkeys, pheasants, woodcock, deer, and furbearers in its forests, marshland, and river bottomlands. Wauzeka property made of hardwood forests, wetlands, and grasslands is known for agriculture and some notable species. Turkey’s populations are very abundant in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

Wisconsin has got some recognition because of the Great Lakes region and boasts of some of the best fishing spots in the United States. So, apart from the best hunting and fishing town in the United States, Public hunting lands nearby, one can enjoy plenty of fishing opportunities. Appleton is the best hunting and fishing town here and is also famous for other outdoor activities. With n abundance of forests and parks nearby, one can go hiking, wildlife watching, and photography.

Wisconsin gun laws and Concealed Weapons License (CWL) abide by state and federal laws. The shall-issue state allows one to buy a private handgun with no background check or firearms registration. Applicants must be 21 and must have completed a firearms training course. Permission is required to hunt in the Wildlife Areas of the state, which are open to
hunting.

  • Hunting season. – Deer season runs from mid-September to early January
  • Main hunting lands – Creek Fishery Area, Kickapoo Valley Reserve
  • Popular game– White-tailed deer, pheasant, turkey, black bear, and other game species
  • Outdoor activities: hiking, wildlife watching, and photography.
  • Firearm restrictions – Firearm restrictions apply, and the long guns and handguns are allowed but must be unloaded when in or on a motor vehicle.
  • Shooting hours – Restricted from 30 minutes before sunrise to 20 minutes after sunset.

2.  Idaho

As its name suggests, the town of Salmon in Idaho is world-famous for its spectacular salmon runs and is a brilliant place for salmon fishing. The surrounding wilderness is pretty darn amazing for game hunting as well, with trophy elk, deer, and even black bear hunting available, alongside grouse shooting in the mountains that tower over the Salmon River.

Idaho boasts of than 500 species of wildlife, and hunters can pursue different games in different seasons and locations. Large hunting grounds and wildlife areas spread across thousands of acres. It is a popular habitat for deer and waterfowl in winters, and fish and Game stocks pheasants provide additional hunting opportunities. Hunting turkeys is popular among beginners. Hunters and anglers explore millions of acres for fishing and hunting other games.

 Certain Wildlife Management Areas of Idaho include Clearwater, Southwest, Magic Valley, The Panhandle, Southeast, and Upper Snake. One must check out the stocking programs in the local area before they embark on a wildlife hunt.

 Idaho state requires no permit to possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun, but a guardian for permission must accompany any minor. All hunters must be 18 years or older need and carry Upland Game Bird Permit. They must wear hunter orange above the waist and review the rules and gaming details for hunting in stocked areas.

Hunters aim for the antlers of a mature bull elk as a prized trophy for their collection. During fall, elk hunts are on, and antlerless elks enjoy a higher success rate. Typically, the elk hunting season is more restrictive than deer hunting. The black bear season starts from the end of August to the beginning of December, while deer and white-tailed deer are hunted during October and November.

Idaho’s big game over the past decade has remained within normal fluctuations and has been fairly predictable. Despite increased hunting, the animal populations have remained healthy and stable. White-tailed deer populations have remained more stable as compared to mule deer populations.

Elk populations are robust in southern Idaho, and Mule dee can be found throughout the state. The Whitetail harvests have grown over the past few decades. Hunters’ success rates are impressive and stand at 44% for whitetail hunters, 28% for mule deer hunters, and 23% for elk hunters.

Boise National Forest is known for big-game hunting and trout fishing, and the hunters are allowed to camp and hunt only in the designated campgrounds. The major big-game species here include mountain goat, black bear, white-tailed deer, elk, and mountain lion.

Diamond Creek area boasts of the second-highest deer population due to its rugged and isolated terrain. However, novice and intermediate sportsmen will find it difficult to cover the rugged and isolated terrain that can be both dangerous and challenging for some. The West Bear Lake area offers some of the best deer hunting grounds.

For those looking for bout elk hunting experience in Idaho, they should head for Mystic Saddle Ranch and Middle Fork Outfitters. The guided hunt can vary based on time of year, but it is indeed an incredible place to go elk hunting.

Stay in comfortable lodges when you go elk hunting, and you can stay in cozy accommodations surrounded by nature and wilderness. However, keep in mind that elks can be a challenge to hunt, and even the most experienced hunters find it difficult to nail them down as they are very fast to disappear and vanish without a trace.

Nearly two-thirds of Idaho land is open to hunting, but a WMA permit is needed to hunt where the game species are stocked. One has to take permission to hunt on the lands of private landowners. The hunting license can be easily bought from license vendors, department stores, and Fish and Game offices in Idaho.

One can buy a federal migratory game bird validation for an added opportunity for bird hunting. A federal waterfowl stamp allows one to hunt ducks, geese, and other waterfowl. Big game hunting is general during the fall seasons. Hunting remains more restricted for nonresidents and is limited in all deer and elk hunts. For example, the nonresidents are allowed to hunt in one unit, and there is a limited zone for each unit.

  • Hunting season. – August to November.
  • Main hunting lands – Boise National Forest, Mystic Saddle Ranch, and Middle Fork Outfitters
  • Popular game– Mule deer and/or white-tailed deer, waterfowl. fish, black bear, ducks, geese, elk, pronghorn, mountain goat, black bear, and mountain lion
  • Outdoor activities: hiking, fishing, river expeditions, camping
  • Firearm restrictions – Minors less than 18 years old, those with a felony conviction, and those who are not U.S. citizens cannot own a firearm
  • Shooting hours – /2 hours before sunrise until sunset

3. Utah

Utah is known for its rugged terrain that is made of forested mountain valleys and arid deserts. Its diverse geography boasts of stunning sandstone arches and high peaks home to healthy populations of big and small game. Utah is particularly renowned for its large-antlered elk and mule deer. 

Utah’s most famous hunting areas include Book Cliffs, Wasatch Mountains. According to the Outdoor Life magazine, Kanab ranks as the most famous town for sportsmen because of the outdoor opportunities and hunting.

Enjoy world-class hunting and fishing here, which is a hub for deer hunting. Some other hot spots include Cedar City, Logan, Heber City, Vernal, Richfield, and Price. Bryce Canyon area and Dixie National Forrest are great for hunting elk. Hunters can enjoy bird hunting and small games here in Utah grounds that are teeming with grouse, chukar, doves, geese, rabbits, sage grouse, and wild turkeys.

During the biggest game seasons, more than 100,000 hunters hit Utah’s mountains, fields, and marshes. There are lots of deer and fawns in northeastern Utah, where there is a more severe winter. As that Utah’s deer populations are in excellent numbers, hunting them down is not a problem. Forest Service recreation sites boast of some of the best and diverse hunting points. 

The deer archery season begins in mid-August, followed by bird-hunting and waterfowl season. The best goat hunting is in September and October. There are plenty of opportunities to hunt big game such as cougar, bear, elk, deer, and moose, along with turkeys and sage grouse.

Utah’s majestic Wasatch Mountains offer an awe-inspiring backdrop for some of the finest mountain goat hunting around. It can be a tough climb – the elevation is brutal, and the trails are challenging – but the chance to hunt these elusive, secretive creatures is worth the effort, and the views are an extra-added bonus! Although getting a goat hunting license can be tricky, this is where to concentrate if you are up for the challenge!

As fishing licenses are easily available in Utah, plan a weekend fishing trip on the Weber River that offers some of the best fly fishing in the country. The river has plenty of varieties of fish, such as cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish.

The hunting seasons and regulations sure are challenging and complicated in Utah as there are permits to apply for and a few deadlines to meet. Some of the most popular hunts, such as archery, general rifle, and muzzleloader deer, go up fast.

Special permits are there for sandhill crane, swan, or wild turkey. You need special permits for bison, moose, mountain goat, and bighorn. Due to limited entry and conservation tags, you need more money and luck to obtain those permits.

Consult Utah Department of Wildlife Resources for regulations, licenses, seasons, and tags.

  • Hunting season. – Mid-August to October
  • Main hunting lands – Glen Canyon, Manti-La Sal National Forest, Wasatch National Forest.
  • Popular game– Cougar, bear, elk, deer, moose, turkeys, sage grouse, duck, goose and pheasant, cutthroat mountain goat, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, bison, trout, and mountain whitefish
  • Outdoor activities: Hiking, camping, ATV fun, antler gathering, bow hunting
  • Firearm restrictions – Must be 18 years old and not a prohibited person, illegal to carry a firearm in a state prohibited area.
  • Shooting hours – Restricted between official sunset and one-half hour before official sunrise.

Hunting has been a favorite pastime for centuries, but it is much more than killing animals. When on a hunting expedition, one spends more time with the wildlife environment and experiences nature in a much more profound way.

The whole experience makes one appreciate nature and its wildlife a lot more, and one develops a greater appreciation for the animals they hunt. As hunting is a team effort, one can enjoy the whole game with their family or a group of friends. Moreover, it offers one a great opportunity to get outdoors and explore beautiful nature and its secrets.

As a hunter, you just abide by all the rules of the state and show respect for nature and wildlife. Leave all lands a bit better when you leave and be very careful with the rules and regulations. Any violation will not only put you in trouble but also play with the safety of the wildlife area and property.

One should not damage roads and trails and avoid leaving smoldering fire when they camp out. As the population in the above listed is increasing each year, state authorities and sportsmen must work together to ensure that the wildlife gets sufficient quality habitat to grow and thrive.

At hunters in some parts of the country harvest more game than they can eat, so it is best to share the game with their friends and family as well as the poor and hungry in the community.