On the hunt for a wintertime adventure stalking deer, chasing lynx, or spotting elk? We’ve got you covered! Our experts are listing their 5 favorite destinations for wintertime hunting! From the snow-covered wilderness of Alaska to the sunny shores of Florida: whether you want to brave the cold or escape the chill, there’s a perfect match for you in this overview. Keep reading to get inspired about where to hunt this winter, and get ready to hit the jackpot! And don’t forget to back your elk hunting binoculars!
Alaska is well-known as a paradise for hunters, but did you know this state offers prime hunting opportunities year-round? Though conditions in winter can be challenging, they also make it extra exciting for those hunters that want to test themselves and their skill-set. From wide-open space to rugged mountain terrain: there’s plenty of scenic spots to stalk your prey. In wintertime, Alaska allows you to hunt for many animals, though the most popular are lynx and black bear.
Lynx can be hunted in various regions, including Anchorage and Chugach State Park. The hunting season for lynx can vary based on the latest population records but generally runs from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31. Do note that you will need to apply for a hunting license, which costs around $160, which includes the allowance of harvesting 2 lynxes per year.
If you want to hunt black bear in winter, head to Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. This region, part of the Tongass National Forest, has plenty of beaches to practice your spot-and-stalk techniques on roaming black bears. The island is packed with lodges and resorts to stay, meaning you don’t have to rough it with a tent in the middle of bear territory. The most popular times for black bear hunts are early and late winter, though regulations vary based on whether you’re teaming up with a local guide. Plan and book early to secure your permits, lodgings, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
Montana is a dream for hunting enthusiasts. The state boasts diverse wildlife, including deer, antelope, bison, bighorn sheep, and elk. That last species, elk, is ideal for wintertime hunting in the state. The shoulder season for elk can last up until mid-February, giving you plenty of opportunities to plan a trip in winter. Though the state offers multiple elk hunting grounds, we’d recommend venturing to the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest: as half the elk population roams around in this region: maximizing your success rate. This forest is rich in vantage points, lush cover, and stunning vistas, making it as rich in scenic nature as in hunting opportunities. There are various small towns in the regions that provide lodgings, such as Dillion. Do note that some elk hunting can only take place on private land in the area, depending on the district, so do plan ahead and see which restrictions apply and whether to pair up with a local guide.
If you want to practice your hunting skills on a smaller target, consider the cottontail rabbit. The region of Eastern Montana is known for its abundance of cottontails, making it a prime spot to scope them out. The months of January and February are particularly popular for cottontail hunting, as you can follow their tracks in the snow and surprise them when they break cover on cold, early mornings…
Ready for a fast-paced challenge? Then venture down to Oklahoma in wintertime, where you can test your hunting skills on Pronghorn antelope. You can find Pronghorn in the wide-open spaces of the short grass prairies, where they feed on a variety of grasses and forbs. Pronghorn are known to travel great distances to find grazing grounds, so we can pinpoint an exact location to hunt them, but local hunting bulletins are often a great source of sightings.
Do note that the Oklahomas gun hunts on Pronghorn are controlled, with only a very limited number of tags released. This means that you may have to enter multiple years in a row before you’re granted a permit. That said, according to hunting enthusiasts, it’s worth the wait, as this high-velocity target will make your adrenaline go through the roof. The winter hunting season varies (based on population), but most commonly takes place for around 6 weeks from the beginning of December to mid-January.
4. South Dakota
Another challenging, fast-paced option in winter is pheasant hunting in South Dakota. The state has an abundance of pheasants, which is why it’s so popular with bird hunters. The gentle countryside lends itself perfectly to a pheasant hunt. You can stroll through the rolling prairie, open fields, cornfields, grasslands, and millet strips, flushing out clouds of birds left, right, and center. The hunting season runs all winter, and you can find a wide variety of lodges that offer all-inclusive hunting packages that include permits. If you don’t require lodgings, you can also consider getting a Walk-In permit for day hunts, which vary in price based on the district. Do note that in South Dakota, it is illegal to shoot hens, so make sure to practice your aim on roosters solely.
Want to escape cold, wintery conditions altogether? Then plan a hunting trip to Florida in December, January, or February! You won’t have to battle through sub-zero temperatures or thick snow in Florida. Instead, you can enjoy mild temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and a healthy dose of vitamin D! Plus, this period is the prime hunting season for Osceola turkey. This famed turkey starts to make a lot of noise, gobbling for attention, in January – making them relatively easy to stake-out. That said, sometimes their noise can be muffled by Florida’s thick vegetation, so you will need to practice your ear for Osceola’s! The season runs until mid- or late-March, giving you plenty of dates to plan a trip. Another bonus is that when you’ve had your fill of turkey hunting, you can also fish in Florida’s lush waters. Combining hunting and fishing in one sunny, wintertime adventure: it’s truly the best of both worlds. Pack your guns, pack your rods, and get ready to shoot or hook a winner.
Due to the mild weather in the wintertime, Florida also is a great spot to go camping instead of paying for an expensive hunting lodge. Campgrounds are open year-round and offer a budget-friendly alternative to serve as base-camp. We do recommend packing a large tent, for example, the best 10 person tent, as the extra storage space is needed for your hunting gear and accessories. Then, all that remains is getting a permit, and you’re good to go! Though fees vary depending on the season and your residency status, a typical turkey permit costs approximately $125 for a full year. Which, compared to permit costs in other states, is very reasonable. Sunshine, fishing, hunting, camping: Florida is simply a great destination for sunny wintertime adventures!
Location, location, location: When it comes to an ultra-romantic couples trip, picking the right camping spot is key. The perfect spot can instantly transform any camping trip, and take your romance to the next level. Try to scope out scenic campsites in a picturesque surrounding, or choose a location that has a West-facing view to enjoy spectacular sunsets. We recommend spending quite a bit of time researching different campsites and locations in the area you plan on camping, because you may find a hidden gem. Also, don’t forget to check what other campers are saying about a location and trawl those customer reviews. We once made the mistake of booking a campsite that looked super idyllic in photos, including a jacuzzi overlooking a lush valley. However, that idyllic view was blocked by a large crane and construction trucks, as they were working on improving local sewer connections. Had we reviewed the customer reviews, we would have known, since complaints about the construction work dated back months before we even booked. Lesson learned. Even if a location sounds perfect, double-check, and triple-check before booking. Trust us: there’s nothing that ruins the romance on a camping trip than the smells and sounds of a sewer renovation.
Treat Your Taste Buds
Treat your partner, and yourself, to delicious camp meals instead of just beans on toast. By making a few small changes to your camp kitchen setup, you can instantly upgrade meal quality – and indulge your taste buds. Firstly, make sure to pack a high-quality camp stove, whether that’s a single burner or a multi-burner: as long as you have a strong flame, you’re good to go. Second, buy a special camping cookbook or write down recipes you find online. There are dozens of cookbooks written specifically for camp chefs. This means that the recipes have been tried and tested in the great outdoors, without fancy tools or modern appliances. This allows you to recreate meals without the frustration of having to make do with a basic setup, educating you about everything that you can achieve as a camp chef. Another great way to enhance your camp meals’, is by packing a variety of spices. Instead of just the regular pepper and salt shakers, upgrade your camp kitchen with some nutmeg, chili flakes, some thyme: whatever you fancy. A plain omelet can suddenly taste a whole lot more exotic by adding some simple spices to your mix. Easy, yet satisfying! Upgrade your camp meal quality, and we’re confident you’ll instantly get more enjoyment out of your couples’ dinnertime.
Cuddling in Comfort
An easy, and instant way, to upgrade your couples’ camping comfort is by investing in a 2-person air mattress. Swap those single sleeping pads or beds for a queen size camping mattress, and cuddle in comfy style! No more gaping space in the middle because your single mattress moved apart during the night. A queen-size air bed not only makes it easier and more comfortable to cuddle but can also help eliminate cold spots. Plus, these days, 2-person air beds are more lightweight and packable than ever before. Some options feature a self-inflating, pump-less silhouette, which takes up the same space as a traditional single sleeping pad. Snuggle as you would at home, and swap those singles for a double air mattress: trust us, you won’t regret it!
Bring an Instant Setup Tent
Don’t start your camping trip bickering about how to pitch your tent. Be smart and buy an instant set up one, and save yourself the hassle! We admit: we’ve been that arguing couple before. Shouting at each other about the wrong placement of a tent pole, having a heated debate about which part goes where. Don’t be that couple, be smarter, and pack a tent that requires minimal setup. These days, the market is filled with pop-up and instant-setup tents that can be fully erected in mere minutes. These silhouettes come with the frame pre-attached, meaning that you could probably even erect them with your eyes closed. By bringing an instant tent, you not only save yourself from awkward discussion and frustration but also can pitch camp a lot quicker. Less time and energy wasted, more time to enjoy the great outdoors with your loved one: packing a pop-up tent is simply a no-brainer.
A fantastic activity for any couples’ camping adventure? Stargazing! It’s free, it’s fun, and all you need is some (partly) clear skies. Gazing at the twinkling lights, surrounded by nature and darkness: we think this activity fully hits the romance mark. If you don’t fancy leaving your tent, why not upgrade to a dome tent with a removable rainfly and mesh roof? This type of tent lets you gaze at the night’s sky, without leaving your bed: turning your camping into glamping. Another tip to take your stargazing to the next level is downloading a stargazing app on your mobile phone. There are dozens of apps to choose from, some free and some paid. The concept is simple: you point your phone at the sky, and the app will determine your location and highlight details of all stars and planets within view. This allows you to discover the night’s sky in a whole new, innovative way: and is a fun way of learning more about the stars and planet. Not a fan of technology on a camping adventure? Then just leave your phone at home and indulge in some classic gazing. You can’t go wrong either way.