For most people, hunting evokes images of trekking through a bare, snowy forest in pursuit of deer or elk. But while most big-game action takes place in the winter, NOMADS often continue to hunt as winter gives way to spring and even summer. Of course, hunting in the summer is a much different experience. You may have to adjust your gear, techniques and clothing before heading out into the brush. You’ll also need to shift your focus to those species you can hunt during the hottest portions of the year. So, what can you hunt in summer? Let’s find out.
NOTE: Always be sure to follow your state and local wildlife laws and regulations, as summer hunting seasons vary widely from one place to the next.
Coyotes are a popular target of many hunters in the summer, particularly as their numbers have exploded over the last few decades. Coyote hunting is usually performed with an accurate rifle, a tripod or pair of shooting sticks and some type of predator call to lure the canines into range. You’ll need to spend more time scouting when coyote hunting in summer, as the combination of dense vegetation and abundant food means they wander less and stay in a relatively small area. Typically, the best times to hunt coyotes in the summer are at dawn, dusk or during the night, as they tend to bed down and lay low during the hottest part of the day.
Like coyotes, wild hog populations have grown sharply in recent years. When unsure of what you can hunt in the summer, hogs are usually a safe bet. Because they often cause considerable property damage, most states with large populations consider them nuisance animals and permit hunters to harvest them all year long. Most hunters use tree stands and high-powered rifles to hunt wild pigs, but others prefer to stalk their quarry from the ground, typically while using AR-15 platforms. Some locations—particularly those with large populations—allow hunters to hunt with the assistance of dogs or lure the hogs into shooting range with baits, and many also allow you to hunt these feral animals at night.
Though often overlooked, squirrels are a worthy and surprisingly challenging game species that provide plenty of summer hunting fun. It is important to get out early when hunting these tree-dwelling critters, as they’ll quickly retreat to tree hollows and nests once the temperatures climb. Ideally, you should be set up and waiting before first light. Most hunters simply find a good ambush point near a big oak or hickory tree, while others like to use a squirrel call to help improve their odds and increase the number of squirrels they encounter. Most hunters prefer to use a lightweight, .22-caliber rifle when pursuing such small game.
NOMADS living in the Lone Star State have the opportunity to hunt a species found nowhere else in North America: the nilgai antelope. Originally from India, ranchers began releasing these on rangelands in the 1930s. There are now tens of thousands living in south Texas. Nilgai antelope may not have the most impressive horns, but they are large animals, with some males exceeding 800 pounds in weight. Typically, hunters find nilgai by spotting from the back of an off-road vehicle, before getting out and closing the last half-mile or so on foot. You’ll need to be as stealthy as possible, as nilgai are notoriously skittish, and even then, you’ll usually be forced to take shots from at least 100 yards away.
Prairie dogs offer one of the most unique hunting experiences of all the popular summer game species. Instead of stalking through forests or scaling mountains in pursuit of your quarry, you’ll typically locate an active population (called a town) amid a wide-open prairie. You’ll then set up your favorite varmint-hunting rifle—a .223 is a popular choice—somewhere that provides you with a good line of sight and clear shooting lane. You’ll then get the chance to work on your long-distance sniping skills, as you take shots ranging from less than 100 yards to over 1,000.
No matter what you choose to hunt in the summer, you’ll likely face a similar opponent: heat. Don’t give up any ground. Be sure to gear up with high quality performance hunting apparel from NOMAD to ensure you’ll stay cool, calm and collected no matter what game you’re after.