When Is Bow Hunting Season For Deer?

Bowhunting is a timeless sport, having been practiced for thousands of years by our ancestors. While our ancestors hunted at any time, these days, we have to wait for bow season. 

 Hunting seasons vary, but bowhunting seasons are generally longer than rifle hunting seasons. You can enjoy a much longer hunting season by using a bow and arrow – you’ll also learn more about strategy and stalking game as a bowhunter. But every US state has its laws on when the hunting seasons start. We’ve compiled information for all 50 states, but we’ll also give you some key insight into bowhunting season laws. 

Factors that affect bowhunting season

 Each state has its unique circumstances, laws, and exceptions regarding bow season. Various factors affect the season, including:

  • Location: In most states, hunting seasons vary by location or ‘zone.’ Certain regions have longer or shorter seasons depending on local conservation practices. Many states also have WMUs – Wildlife Management Units – assigned to their hunting seasons.  
  • Bow type: Some states will restrict bow season by type of bow, for example, crossbows are commonly restricted, and some will limit by draw weight. 
  • Bag limit: You may have a daily bag limit that restricts the amount of deer that you can kill/ keep per day to ensure correct deer management.
  • Animal: Several states will legislate and regulate the kind of game that can be taken via bowhunting. We’re only covering deer in this post, but you should check local regulations to hunt elk, raccoons, boar, small game, bears, pheasant, or turkey.
  • Buck or doe: Some states restrict parts of a season to one sex only. Some may also have restrictions related to antlered deer and antlerless deer.
  • Lottery hunts: In some areas, hunters must enter a statewide hunting lottery to receive a permit for WMUs or specific season dates.
  • Youth/disability: Youth deer hunting has its specific dates in some areas. Disability permits may be issued.
  • Private/public land: Sometimes, hunts on private/public land have different rules for the hunting seasons.

When does deer season start?

Some states have varying hunting season dates; always check current information from your state. You’ll want to check dates against the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural resources, or similar local equivalent. Different rules may apply to nonresidents.

Alabama bowhunting season

Alabama’s bowhunting season typically runs from Mid-October to Mid-February. 

Alaska bowhunting season

The season varies by zone but typically runs from Mid-October to Mid-February. 

Alaska is divided into 26 specific hunting zones, each having its hunting regulations. You can’t hunt big game with a bow and arrow in some zones. 

Arizona bowhunting season

Seasons depend on the zone; most are connected to zone hunts assigned in a lottery-based system. These hunts are usually in 1-3 week periods. In several zones, bowhunters may be able to get an archery-only tag that grants access to extended hunting seasons. 

Arkansas bowhunting season

Arkansas bowhunting season is statewide and runs from September 26th to February 28th. 

California bowhunting season

Generally, the season starts in July/August and ends in September but will vary by zone. 

Colorado bowhunting season

Colorado has several bowhunting seasons.  

One, from September 2nd to September 30th (west of I25) and October 1st – 23rd, November 4th – 30th, and December 15th – 31st (east of I-25). 

Connecticut bowhunting season

Seasons primarily run from September 15th to December , but an extended bowhunting season runs to the end of January on private land in some zones.

Delaware bowhunting season

Delaware’s hunting season is statewide from September 1st to January 31st. 

Florida bowhunting season

Seasons vary but are usually in the fall, from September to November. South Florida has an earlier season, from August. 

Georgia bowhunting season

Georgia’s bowhunting season runs from September 10th to January 8th. The extended season runs until the end of January in the Atlanta metropolitan area due to the laws prohibiting firearms season.

Hawaii bowhunting season

Seasons are usually tied to lottery hunts , but  hunting on private land is allowed year-round. 

Idaho bowhunting season

Bowhunting seasons typically run from August to winter. 

Illinois bowhunting season

 Archery isn’t allowed in the gun season outside of the Chicago area (November 20-22 and Dec 3rd – 6th); statewide hunting season runs from October 1st – January 17th. 

Indiana bowhunting season

Indiana’s hunting season runs from October to January. 

Iowa bowhunting season

Iowa’s bowhunting season runs from October 1st to December 4th and December 21st to January 10th. 

Kansas bowhunting season

Kansas bowhunting season runs from September 14th – to December 31st. 

Kentucky bowhunting season

Kentucky’s bowhunting season runs from September 5th to January 18th, but crossbows are restricted. Crossbows are permitted from September 19th onwards. 

Louisiana bowhunting season

Most seasons start in September and run through January. 

Maine bowhunting season

Maine’s bowhunting season runs from October 3rd to October 30th; expanded archery season applies in some zones from September 12th – to December 12th.

Maryland bowhunting season

Seasons vary heavily, but most run from September 6th to October 16th, October 20th to November 29th, and December 16th to December 20th. A few include January 13th – January 31st.

Michigan bowhunting season

Michigan’s archery season runs from October 1st to November 14th and December 1st – to January 1st. The extended season applies to those in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties (until January 31st).

Minnesota bowhunting season

Minnesota’s bowhunting season runs from September 19th to December 31st statewide. 

Mississippi bowhunting season

Typically, most run from October 1st to December 14th and January 21st to 31st. The south zone has similar dates but starts in October and includes an additional season in February, from the 1st to the 15th. 

Missouri bowhunting season

Missouri’s season runs from September 15th to November 13th and November 25th to January 15th. 

Montana bowhunting season

Montana’s statewide season runs from September 8th to October 18th; some backcountry districts allow bowhunting only from September 5th – to 14th.

Nebraska bowhunting season

In Nebraska, the bowhunting season runs from September 1st to December 31st. 

Nevada bowhunting season

Seasons vary but usually run from August 10th to September 9th. Some zones have an ‘any legal weapon’ rule for seasons in the late fall/early winter.

New Hampshire bowhunting season

New Hampshire’s season runs from September 15th to December 15th, ending a week early in some areas on the northern tip of New Hampshire.

New Jersey bowhunting season

Seasons typically start in September and run to the end of December; New Jersey has two types of seasons. Fall Bow is open to anyone with a valid hunting license, and Permit Bow is restricted to those licensed to hunt in that specific zone. Permit Bow season requires an additional permit for taking a buck.

New Mexico bowhunting season

Many zones have a bow-only season from September 1st to 24th, followed by an ‘any legal weapon’ season from October to late November. Some zones have a different bow season in January. 

New York bowhunting season

Most seasons in the Northern zone run from September 27th to December 6th. Some run to December 13th. Most run in the Southern zone from October 1st to December 13th. Crossbows are restricted. 

North Carolina bowhunting season

 All seasons start in September and run through to various points in October, November, and December, sometimes with a break. Some cities participate in different seasons from January to February.

North Dakota bowhunting season

North Dakota’s bowhunting season runs from September to January. 

Ohio bowhunting season

Ohio’s statewide season runs from September 26th to February 7th. 

Oklahoma bowhunting season

Oklahoma’s bowhunting season runs from October 1st to January 15th.  

Oregon bowhunting season

Seasons vary; east and west Oregon run open bow seasons from August 29th to September 27th, plus a few weeks into November in some zones. West Oregon also has ‘any legal weapon’ seasons in October and November,  zone depending. Permits are usually issued on a lottery basis. 

Pennsylvania bowhunting season

Pennsylvania’s bowhunting season runs from October 3rd to November 20th and from December 26th to January 18th. Some WMUs have extended seasons.

Rhode Island bowhunting season

Seasons run based on their zones. Zone 1 runs from September 15th to January 31st. Zone 2 runs from October 1st to January 31st. Zones 3 and 4 have their own bow season dates.

South Carolina bowhunting season

Most seasons start in August and run to the New year. 

South Dakota bowhunting season

The statewide season runs from September 1st to the New year.  

Tennessee bowhunting season

Tennessee’s bowhunting season runs from September 28th – to January 5th, except for youth hunts.  Extended seasons run into January for private landowners.

Texas bowhunting season

Texas’ bowhunting season is statewide and runs from October 3rd to November 6th. 

Utah bowhunting season

Utah’s deer hunting season runs from August 15th to September 11th. Some areas allow for extended bowhunting seasons into the winter.

Vermont bowhunting season

Vermont’s season runs from October to December, with a hiatus during the gun season (November 14th to November 29th).  

Virginia bowhunting season

Virginia’s bowhunting season runs from October 3rd to November 13th, but some areas have late archery seasons running in the winter.

Check out our tips for deer hunting to make the most of the season

FAQs About Bow Hunting Seasons

What are the start and end dates of bow hunting season for deer?

The start and end dates of bow hunting season for deer also vary depending on where you are located, but typically begin in late September/early October and last through December or January.

Are there any special restrictions that apply to bow hunting for deer?

Some special restrictions may apply to bow hunting for deer such as limiting the types of bows allowed, setting a minimum distance from roads and buildings, or prohibiting baiting during certain times of year.

Is a license required to hunt with a bow during deer season?

Yes, most states require an individual to have a valid hunting license in order to hunt with a bow during deer season.

Are there any safety protocols that must be followed while hunting with a bow during deer season?

Yes there are safety protocols that must be followed while hunting with a bow during deer season such as using proper form when shooting at game animals, never pointing the arrow at someone else even if they are wearing protective gear, unstringing your bow when not actively pursuing game animals ,and being aware of other hunters in the area who may be using firearms instead of bows

How many days can an individual typically hunt with a bow during the seasonal period for deer?

Typically individuals can hunt with a bow up until one hour after sunset each day throughout the duration of the seasonal period for deer; however this may vary by state so it’s important to check local regulations prior to heading out into the field.

Wrapping up 

Bowhunting is an excellent and traditional way to hunt, but you should be careful to abide by the law.  

 Hunting seasons vary state-by-state and sometimes even within the same state. You’ll usually need a deer permit, and there are various rules for obtaining a permit and local legislation to abide by. You should check your local state laws to ensure you’re legally compliant. 


About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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