Top Off-Season Hunts
THE “OFF-SEASON” IS A RELATIVE TERM, AND BASED ON WHERE YOU LIVE, YOUR HUNTING SEASON DATES CAN VARY WIDELY.
For the sake of this article, we’re going to label the off-season as that time that falls between January and July each year.
For a lot of people, when their fall season ends, they hang everything up and start the countdown clock to next year’s hunt. Others take advantage of that downtime by using it to stay in shape, maintain their marksmanship skills, test gear setups, or shed hunt. However, the best option is to be out in the field chasing animals instead of at home counting down days.
Included are some of our favorite off- season hunts and destinations. Take advantage of these opportunities to hunt year-round with options to fit every budget and skillset.
Aoudad were introduced to Texas from North Africa in the 1950s, and populations have flourished in the craggy mountainous terrain they live in. West Texas is home to some of the largest free-range herd densities in the state. The topography here is nothing short of rugged and perfectly suited for these sure-footed cliff dwellers.
There is no need to draw a tag, and there are options for a wide variety of budgets. From the do-it-yourself hunter looking to pay a trespass fee to the fully guided high-end hunt featuring all the amenities.
Whether you’re a hardcore sheep nut, an avid mountain hunter, or just somebody looking for the next adventure, aoudad in West Texas should be on your list.
Ample hunting opportunities and species are available across all six of the major islands. The animals vary from island to island as well as the topography they inhabit. Whether your interests lie in the pursuit of upland birds, big game animals, or trying to finish out your Turkey Slam on the Big Island, Hawaii has something for everyone.
Don’t let the target-rich environment fool you, though. Axis deer are regarded as being one of the cagiest species out there. Try stalking through 50 sets of eyes, ears, and noses that with one warning bark can scatter the whole herd in the blink of an eye.
For those looking to add the Islands to their off-season list this winter, there is no shortage of options available. You can book a one or two-day fully-guided hunt on a private land out of a luxury resort or go off the grid on your own backpack-style adventure in one of Hawaii’s many public and/or private land use areas.
Without fail, our neighbors to the south produce giant Boone & Crockett bucks year in and year out. With mild winters, great genetics, ridiculous protein contents, and limited pressure, it’s a recipe for growing giants. Many of these ranches follow strict management protocols for quality and age class ensuring what many consider to be the best Coues and mule deer hunting out there.
With trophy potential comes a heavier price tag with Mexico’s mule deer, often putting it out of reach of the average hunter. If the steeper cost is out of your range, many ranches offer management hunts at a fraction of the cost of a trophy hunt providing the same great hunt experience.
The opposite of their much larger bodied and horned cousins, Coues deer are a very affordable option when talking about destination hunts. From ranches offering DIY opportunities with no lodging or cooks to fully furnished and guided hunts, there are Coues deer packages to fit even the most budget conscious hunter looking to travel outside of their home state.
There are two main islands, the North and South, and about 600 other smaller ones that make up the 100,000+ square miles of land mass called New Zealand. If you were to poll every hunter on the planet to name the first game species in New Zealand that comes to mind, the overwhelming majority would tell you Red Stag. Without a doubt, they are the most popular animal there and for good reason, with their giant, towering crowned antlers and unique roar during the rut, but as they say, “The mountains are calling!”
The Southern Alps extend most of the length of the South Island, jutting out of the ocean floor to heights of over 12,000 feet and are bisected by over 3,000 glaciers. Introduced to the Southern Alps in the early 1900s as game animals, tahr and chamois have thrived in this spectacular backdrop void of any natural predators. At their peak before culling operations began, it was estimated the island held over 100,000 chamois and tahr.
THESE ARE JUST A HANDFUL OF THE MANY OFF-SEASON OPTIONS AVAILABLE AND WAITING FOR YOU.
No matter your home state, financial situation, or preferred skill set, you should be looking ahead and planning on how to shorten your downtime between hunts.