8 States with Early Deer Hunting Season Opening Days

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Try One of These States for Velvet Bucks

Deer Hunting in Florida

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1 | Deer Hunting in Florida

Opening day: July 30 (Zone A archery)

Florida isn’t well-known for its deer hunting. But it is known for its super early opening day. In Zone A, you can hunt with a bow as early as July 30. So if you can’t stomach the idea of waiting until September or October to begin deer hunting, make your way to the Sunshine State. The deer are waiting for you.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in Florida.

Photo credit: Tony Campbell

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Deer Hunting in South Carolina

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2 | Deer Hunting in South Carolina

Opening day: August 15 Zone 3 (archery and gun) and 4 (archery)

South Carolina is the only place that I know of where you can hunt velvet bucks with a gun. That’s incredible. It’s unprecedented. Granted, you can only do so in Zone 3, which is the west-central part of the state. The hunting in South Carolina isn’t great. But if you only gun hunt and you want a crack at a velvet buck, it’s the only option you have.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in South Carolina.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Scott Richardson

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Deer Hunting in Idaho

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3 | Deer Hunting in Idaho

Opening day: August 3 (archery)

Idaho is known for its extremely strong population of whitetails. It harbors one of the best in the West. Not only that but it also has a lot of public land to roam. It’s the perfect western state for the DIY deer hunter.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in Idaho.

Photo credit: Tim Irwin

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Deer Hunting in Nebraska

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4 | Deer Hunting in Nebraska

Opening day: September 1 (archery)

This midwestern state has just about everything an early season DIY deer hunter wants. It does have very pricey deer tags. But the hunting is good and the competition with other hunters is low. Plus, you can’t beat the September 1 for opening day.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in Nebraska.

Photo credit: Buck Commander

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Deer Hunting in Wyoming

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5 | Deer Hunting in Wyoming

Opening day: September 1 (archery)

This is another state that often flies under the radar for deer. Known more for antelope and elk, the whitetails often go unnoticed. But they’re there. And everything about this state makes it a solid place to sit in a stand.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in Wyoming.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Nate Hosie

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Deer Hunting in Kentucky

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6 | Deer Hunting in Kentucky

Opening day: September 3 (archery)

I’ve hunted in Kentucky for many years. And there’s no other place I’d rather spend my time in a treestand. I love the state. It has a great deer population. Competition is moderate. And you have a great shot at an early season buck.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in Kentucky.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Kirsten Godfrey

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Deer Hunting in Montana

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7 | Deer Hunting in Montana

Opening day: September 3 (archery)

It’s big sky country out here. And the deer hunting is grand. They don’t hold a lot of Booner bucks. But Pope & Young caliber deer are rampant across the landscape. Competition is low. Populations are rebounding from the EHD era. And you can kill a velvet buck. A good destination.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in Montana.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Nate Hosie

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Deer Hunting in North Dakota

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8 | Deer Hunting in North Dakota

Opening day: September 4 (archery)

Many people don’t think of North Dakota when it comes to whitetails. But the state has greatly improved throughout the last several years. Try the northern of the two Dakotas for an early season deer.

Click here to see the full range of season dates, license costs, and much more information about hunting in North Dakota.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Brent Larson

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I’m certain that many of you are ready for opening day. And as July comes to a close, it won’t be long before deer seasons start opening up. As has always been the case, different states hold different season lengths. Some states are notorious for starting in October, while others begin as early as August or September.

Most hunters that I know dream of killing a white-tailed buck in velvet, especially bowhunters. It’s one of those things that many people want, but few get a chance at, simply because most season dates don’t accommodate the pursuit of a buck in full velvet. But some do. Here are eight states where you can potentially settle your pins — or crosshairs — on a big velvet buck.

Click here for more deer hunting articles and videos.

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