Thanks to taxes raised exclusively by hunters under the Pittman-Robertson Act, and thanks to modern wildlife management, traditional fall hunting seasons have now morphed into year-round opportunities for travel-savvy hunters. If you want to pursue big game this summer, here are a few destinations to put on your wish list.
Alaska: The diversity of animals residing in the 49th state just waiting to be hunted is legend, but some of the ‘bigs’ (Mt. Goat, Dall Sheep, Brown/’Grizzly Bear, Musk Ox) require that you use professional guide services. However, summertime holds hunting prospects for Black Bear in May/June, and Caribou can be harvested starting in July.
Black Bear is the best option for high-success rate possibilities. A group of hunters can literally drive to Seattle, catch a ferry heading for Prince of Wales Island, and set up some do-it-yourself (DYI) bait stations and/or spot-and-stalk while waiting for bears to find your baits. Lodging can easily be had on POW Island or you can camp. If you do decide to camp, bring bug spray, head nets and your Thermocell mosquito repellant. Alaska does not call mosquitoes ‘the state bird’ for no reason.
California: California offers one of the earliest deer seasons in the country. Bow hunters can pursue deer as early as the 9th of July in Zone A. These are coastal areas and there are hundreds of thousands of acres available via Bureau of Land Management and also National Forest Lands. This early season does require a deer tag that is not over-the-counter, so hunters will have to do their homework to enjoy this early hunt. Florida also offers a deer hunt at the end of July, but California is the best option due to the abundance of public hunting land.
Hawaii: There is only one word you need to know in regards to Hawaii hunting opportunities; Maui. Maui is the place to be for big game pursuits during the summer. A clever hunter can talk a loved one into vacationing while sneaking off for a chance to kill one of the island’s trophies in the form of free-ranging Axis deer, wild pigs, and wild goats. Many of the islands animals are hunted on private property so going with a guide is the way to go. One of the island’s most reputable outfitters is Rodney Perreira who owns and operates Maui Hunting Safari (www.mauihuntingsafari.com).
Florida: Not only can you hunt Alligators year round in Florida, but you can also hunt wild boar and some free range exotics as well. The state speaks for itself when it comes to vacation destinations, but big game hunting is abundant in The Sunshine State and a summer combo excursion is there for the taking.