It’s Not Too Late to Shoot a Deer!

Deer season is still open in several different states. If you want one more shot at shooting a whitetail this season, here’s where to go.

by posted on January 6, 2023
Deering Whitetail Deer In Snowy Woods

Although October through December is prime time for deer hunting in most states, there are a handful of places where firearms season is still open in January and even into February—as late as February 26, believe it or not, for the last state on our list. This isn’t an exhaustive list (we’re sure we missed some states), but it’s enough to get you started. And please note that the information here was current as of early January 2023, but regulations can change from year to year, and many states have additional requirements than what’s listed here. Before you go, be sure to read the state’s regulations thoroughly and ensure you’ve got all the licenses and tags needed for the given unit you’ll be hunting in.

If you want to take a road trip for one last chance at a whitetail this season, here’s where to go.

If you’re a muzzleloader hunter, you still have a little bit of time to get to Ohio for the state’s late muzzleloader season that runs January 7-10, 2023. You’ll need a non-resident hunting license for $180.96 and a deer permit for $76.96, both of which you can buy over the counter. You might also need a $15 deer management permit (read the regulations). One antlered deer is allowed per hunter per season from public hunting areas, but each county has different regulations on how many total deer you may shoot, so read up on the area you plan to hunt.

Texas is divided into three zones: A closed zone in the far western corner of the state, a small south zone down near the border, and the much larger north zone.  In the south zone, general deer season is open until January 15. A special late season is open January 2-15 in the north zone and January 16-29 in the south zone. In addition, muzzleloader season runs January 2-15 (in both zones, if we’re reading the regulations correctly). During the special late season, you may only harvest unantlered or unbranched antlered deer (a buck with at least one antler that has no more than one point), so this is freezer-filling time, not hunting for a trophy buck.

To hunt, you’ll need a non-resident hunting license that costs $315 and can be bought online or in person over the counter.

The trouble with hunting Texas is finding a place to go—so much of the state is private land that hiring an outfitter is your best bet, but you might have trouble finding one with last-minute availability.

If you’re prepared to go seriously old-school, Pennsylvania has a flintlock season that runs through January 16 or January 28 depending on the unit you’re hunting in. You may shoot an antlered or antlerless deer, but doe tags must be applied for, so you’re probably out of time for that and will only be pursuing bucks. You’ll need a non-resident hunting license for $101.97 and a muzzleloading license for $21.97, which you can buy online or in person.

Note that this isn’t regular muzzleloader season: It’s flintlocks only. We’re talking old-school Davy Crockett stuff here, and if you’re not already familiar with flintlock muzzleloaders, you might need to pass on this year and start getting geared up for next January instead.

Because the rut is so late in much of the state, Alabama’s deer hunting is at its best in January and February, with firearms season staying open until February 10 in most of the state (January 27 in zones D and E). There are some exceptions, so read the regulations.

You’ll need a non-resident license, which you can buy in an all-season, a 10-day or a three-day variety, and the license includes your deer tags. If you’ll be hunting a wildlife management area, pick up a WMA license as well.

You can shoot three antlered deer per season in Alabama, one of which must have four points on one side or better (three points in Barbour County), but only one buck per day. In addition, you may harvest a doe every day of the season, and almost everywhere in the state, this is in addition to your buck. If you’re looking to fill the freezer with multiple deer, Alabama is a great place to do it.

If you can find an outfitter (or have a friend) who is set up for hunting deer with dogs, Mississippi allows you to hunt deer with dogs only until January 18 in several units. You can also use a muzzleloader to hunt the primitive weapons season that’s open until February 15 in the southeast unit and January 31 in all other units.

You’ll need a non-resident license and a deer permit, and a primitive weapons permit if the non-resident license you buy (there are several options) does not include it. The three-day non-resident all-game/primitive weapon permit for $150 plus fees is probably your best bet unless you plan to stay longer. You’ll also need a WMA User Permit if you’ll be hunting a wildlife management area.

Bag limits are three antlered deer per year, with size restrictions that vary based on the unit. Read the regulations for the unit you plan to hunt to see if antlerless deer may be harvested during the dog or primitive weapons season; it depends on the unit and if you’re hunting public or private land. 

Louisiana is divided into 10 zones. Zones 1 and 4, in the eastern part of the state, keep firearms deer season open as late as January 22 for still-hunting only (bucks and does). Regular firearms season, with or without dogs, stays open until January 8 in zones 1 and 4, January 15 in zone 2,  and January 22 in zones 5, 6 and 9. Read the regulations for your unit to see if you may shoot either sex or bucks only.

In addition, each zone has a primitive firearms season in January. Some units close as early as January 8 and some stay open the entire month, ending on January 31. Muzzleloaders are legal in primitive firearms season.

Louisiana regulations list a season limit of six deer, with some limitations (read the regs yourself based on when and where you’ll be hunting). Daily bag limits are one antlered and one antlerless deer per day, when and where otherwise legal.

A non-resident five-day license can be had for $65 (annual for $200), and you’ll need a deer permit for $35 (five-day) or $100 (annual). Be sure to check if the area you’re hunting requires a WMA permit, which is $5 for five days or $20 for the season.

Florida’s not exactly known for big bucks, but hunting opportunities abound in the late-late season—just keep your expectations in check. In zone C, you can hunt antlered deer until January 22. In zone B, it’s February 19, and the same in zone D, with the addition of a muzzleloader season that’s open from February 20-26. No does this late in the season, so you’ll be chasing bucks only. The annual bag limit is five deer, and the daily bag limit is two deer. 

You’ll need a non-resident hunting license ($46.50 for a 10-day) and a deer permit ($5), as well as a muzzleloader permit ($5) if you’ll be hunting with a front-stuffer. A Management Area permit ($26.50) is required in certain areas, so be sure to read the regulations thoroughly. They can all be purchased online or over the counter.



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