5 Unexpected Places to Hunt Game Animals for City Dwellers

"Did  know you can hunt outside of Los Angeles?" Larry asked me the other day.

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea.  But I wasn't too surprised. But if you live in an urban area and are new to hunting, chances are you may think that you can't be a locacarnivore because you don't live in someplace like Montana or Alaska. After all, how can you hunt frequently if your closest hunting grounds are hours away?

That is a common fallacy. You don't have to drive far to find meat that isn't in a supermarket. It's amazing where you can hunt and fish, if you do some scouting around.  Even the major cities have abundant opportunities when it comes to hunting and fishing.  Below are five tips -- and five major cities -- where you can find the hidden urban hunting and fishing gems.


Look for City-Owned Land

It may seem odd, but you may have hunting grounds right next to your home--literally. City and state property often consists of tens, if not hundreds, of acres where you may be allowed to hunt and fish. Good places to consider are watersheds, water supply lands, prison lands, and state trust lands.  The city or county may have them open to restricted hunting such as small game hunting, archery-only hunting, bird hunting, and shotgun hunting. Knowing and understanding the rules will help you find a terrific place to hunt within an easy driving distance.

New York City

One doesn't really think of hunting when one thinks of New York City; however, you have ample hunting and fishing opportunities within a mere 1 1/2 to 3 hours drive. The Big Apple opened up its water supply lands to hunters and anglers back in 2002. These lands range anywhere from less than ten acres to more than 3000 acres. Most of these lands are hundreds of acres and are chocked full of deer, bear, turkey, and small game.  Check out the latest maps and regulations.

Don't Limit Yourself to Big Game

Elk and venison are awesome, but you'll open yourself to more opportunities if you include birds, fish, and small game.  Many places that are too congested for rifles work amazingly well for shotguns.  And while you may have to shoot more ducks and look for more rabbits to make decent meals, the meat is good and you'll have a great time.  Fishing is also an option, so never turn down a place to fish.  Look for areas around watercourses as well as state parks.

Washington D.C.

Hunting near the nation's capital?  You bet! One of the surprise places to hunt waterfowl is an hour away from Washington D.C. where you can bag your limit of ducks in the morning and go to a high-powered meeting on Capitol Hill in the afternoon. The Potomac is an impressive place to hunt ducks and other waterfowl, so check on the regulations in Maryland and Virginia and see if you can bag some great meals.

Change Your Tactics

In some cities the deer population is completely out of control, but picking up a rifle and shooting one is problematic because of the overall population density. One way municipalities have dealt with the issue is to allow bow hunting rather than using firearms.

There are distinct advantages to bow hunting. It's quiet. You're not likely to worry about hitting an unintended target.  And you're taking care of a surplus population.  On the flip side, if you do it wrong or don't hit the animal correctly, it can get away and suffer.  And it makes an extremely bad impression to those who do not hunt to see a wounded animal with your arrow sticking out of it.  So, if you do decide to bow hunt, plan on getting plenty of practice in at the range.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

If you live in the Twin Cities, you probably already know that it's a prime area for bow hunting. You can get tags to help exterminate the deer and keep the population in check. You just might get some tasty venison for the table. Just be sure you don't trespass or make yourself a nuisance. 

Take Full Advantage of Your Local Area

Sure, you can drive a few hours away to go hunt and fish, but if you live near a watercourse, you should be thinking about how you can find your food there--and not just fish. All animals need water, and you just might find a go-to hunting spot that will provide meals for years to come. River bottoms are great deer highways. You can also find great places to crab, look for shellfish, and other critters to fill the freezer.

No watercourse? Well, then look at the hills and wild areas around your city. And the city doesn't go on forever. Consider the rural areas surrounding it.  You might just find places where you can hunt, even on private land.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle is one of those cities that has some of the best hidden hunting for the locacarnivore. South of Tacoma, Washington has arguably the best Pacific blacktail hunting around with monsters that rate on the Boone and Crockett scale. Couple that with the Washington State's Fish and Wildlife access campaigns, you can find excellent hunting and fishing areas in state lands, along the beaches, and even on private land. Not that far from Seattle is prime elk habitat, making Seattle a terrific place for the locacarnivore.

Look for Federal Land in Your Area

It's easy to overlook the Federal land in urbanized areas, but those are often terrific places to hunt. National Forests, BLM, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Monuments often have hunting access and opportunities you might have missed. You'll have to do some research and scouting, but they're worth the time to explore, especially if they're in your own backyard.

Los Angeles, California

You don't have to drive far to get venison in your freezer if you live in Los Angeles. Hunting is allowed in the Angeles National Forest, a more urban forest than most hunters are used to. There are firearms and hunting restrictions in certain parts of the National Forest, but there are plenty of places to fill your tag.  If you're lucky, you may even get a second deer tag.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas when it comes to looking for hunting places in your area.  Why not tell us about your favorite place to hunt and fish in the comments and on our Facebook page? We'd love to hear from you.

 -- MH Bonham

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