• Sarah Honadel

COVID-19 Impacts for Fall Hunting and Fishing Seasons



This past spring, many hunters were faced with last-minute changes for turkey and bear seasons when states across the nation canceled non-resident tag sales and imposed travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Fishing was also impacted by seasonal closures and when many state parks, waterways, and boat ramps were shut down. By now, most states have fully reopened but new requirements and restrictions are in place and once again, it seems to be changing almost daily.


With fall hunting seasons starting to open, outdoorsmen/women are eagerly awaiting the chance to get outdoors and into the woods. But what will this season bring? Most hunters have already bought their tags, lottery drawings are done, we're practicing daily, and travel arrangements are likely made.


Listed below are all 50 states in alphabetical order with current requirements, closures, etc. Canada has been included at the end (only national requirements, not individual provinces).


Please check with your state’s wildlife department for their specific changes due to COVID-19. Information in this article is subject to change without notice and can become outdated daily as states update their guidelines


We will work to keep this list updated as new information is available.


Alabama - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Alaska - As of August 11, all non-residents must arrive with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure or proof of a pending test result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to departure; negative results must be uploaded to the Alaska Travel Portal website. If a non-resident arrives without a pre-test, testing is available for $250 per test. The traveler will be required to quarantine while waiting on results. Check with the specific city/town where you will be traveling as many have their own requirements and restrictions for non-residents.


Hunters traveling through Canada will need to follow Canadian restrictions and requirements that can be found here: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/non-canadians-canadiens-eng.html

Arizona - As of August 18, all hunting and fishing is open. Fish and Game offices are open by appointment only. Outdoorsmen/women should check with appropriate local municipalities and land-management agencies for any restriction or closure notices of campsites, parks, lakes, or boat docks.

Arkansas - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. AGFC offices are opened with limited public access and require visitors to wear masks and social distance.

California - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. CDFW has temporarily closed high use public areas, including visitor centers and license counters; visitors should contact the regional headquarters office to determine if that facility is open.

Colorado - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. Colorado has been opening in a multi-phase plan. Big Game license holders will be allowed to request a COVID-19 related refund to receive both a monetary refund and preference point restoration (with limitations) under the Director’s Disaster Relief authority. Facial coverings/masks are required in public indoor spaces statewide for all individuals aged 11 or older.


Connecticut - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. Public shooting ranges have been closed.


Visitors from 33 states, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Travelers must also fill out an online travel health form before arriving in the state.

Delaware - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. Delaware’s state parks and wildlife areas are open, though access may be restricted, or areas may be closed if it is determined there are too many visitors to safely maintain social distancing requirements.


Florida - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. Some WMAs and recreational areas within WMAs throughout the state have been closed by partner agencies. WMA users should limit group size to 50 people or less and CDC-guidelines for social distancing and personal safety should be followed.

Georgia - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Hawaii - As of August 18, the 2020 Lāna‘i combination mouflon sheep and axis deer season has been canceled.


All individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving from out-of-state to Hawaii are subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. An interisland quarantine continues through Aug. 31for Kauai, Hawaii Island or Maui County (Maui, Molokai, Lanai), and travel between these islands.


Idaho - As of August 18, all seasons and license/tag purchases are now open and available, however, nonresident elk and deer tags are sold out as of June 26, 2020. Fish and Game offices are opened but require social distancing and may have lobby limitations; at this time, no cash is being accepted. Hunter education classes will be online only with limited exceptions. Trapper Ed and Wolf Trapper Ed classes canceled.

Illinois - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Indiana - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Iowa - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Kansas - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. The 2020 Kansas nonresident deer draw was April 1-24, and recipients were notified via email; No leftover permits are available this year. KDWPT facilities are open to the public but will require social distancing.


A 14-day quarantine is required for: anyone who had traveled to/from Florida between June 29 – August 11, anyone traveling to Kansas that had attended/traveled to mass gathering events (out-of-state) of 500 people or greater on or after August 11, cruise ship or river cruise passengers, anyone who has traveled to China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

Kentucky - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. Indoor facilities of the department-owned fish hatcheries are closed to the public. Boat ramps remain open but mask and social distancing guidelines should be followed. Camping on Wildlife Management Areas with designated primitive camping areas is permitted; Camping in self-contained campers or primitive tent camping is allowed but electricity, water, restrooms, and shower facilities are not provided.


Residents and non-residents who have traveled to states reporting COVID-19 positive rates of 15% or greater are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days, starting from the date you left that location; this is not a mandate.


Louisiana - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. National Hunting and Fishing Day events have been canceled across the state.

Maine - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal with additional precautions in place for social distancing and sanitizing. The issuance of bass tournament and fishing derby permit has now resumed. All MDIFW offices and facilities are currently closed to the public.


Effective June 26, Maine non-residents traveling to Maine or from other states exempted from quarantine requirements must have received a negative COVID-19 test results or must have already completed their 14-day quarantine in Maine. The Hunting, Fishing and Boating Checklist can be downloaded here: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=2570133&an=1


Maryland - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. DNR Licensing and Registration Service Centers are open and serving customers by appointment only.

Massachusetts - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. Department of Fish and Game offices and facilities are closed until further notice.


All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health. Additionally, all visitors must quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.

Michigan - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.


Minnesota - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. DNR central office and regional offices are temporarily closed to the public at this time.


Many DNR-sponsored events, trainings, and meetings have been canceled, postponed, or transitioned to an online format. This includes: Safety education training (i.e. in-person firearms safety training), workshops and clinics (i.e. Becoming an Outdoors Woman and Fishing in the Neighborhood), fishery tours, educational trainings (i.e. Project Learning Tree, WET, and WILD trainings), naturalist programs, and most volunteer activities.


Mississippi - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Missouri - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Montana - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. All hunters should practice social distancing and all COVID-19 response directives from the governor, including limiting group gatherings and keeping six feet away from people. In-person Hunter Education classes are canceled; FWP will cover the online tuition fees for all Montana residents until in-person classes resume.


Camping is open at most FWP fishing access sites and state parks. Group-use sites, including fishing piers, are also open, but social distancing guidelines must be strictly followed


Nebraska - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.


Nevada - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. NDOW's offices are now open but only allow two people in the building at a time, and require social distancing.

New Hampshire - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. All in-person hunter education classes were canceled. Let's Go Fishing classes have been canceled and not yet rescheduled. The White Mountain National Forest has issued a temporary closure notice for many trailheads and recreation facilities.

New Jersey - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. The mailing of all online-purchased durable green Firearm and All-around licenses, and other licenses and permits if a hard copy is selected during the purchase process, will be delayed. Customers should print their license or permit after completing your online purchase or use the "Reprint Licenses" option on the Internet Sales website to print copies of your purchase at home.

Visitors from 33 states, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Travelers from those states are asked to fill out a travel form.


New Mexico - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. All persons arriving in New Mexico from out of state must self-isolate for 14-days.

New York - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. DEC regional offices are temporarily closed to the public; appointments available upon request.


Visitors from 33 states, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Travelers from those states are required to fill out a travel form.

North Carolina - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. Hunter Education classes, Boater Safety Education classes, Trapper Education courses, Bow Hunter Education courses, and Internet Field Days have been canceled until further notice. Multiple boating access, fishing access, fish hatcheries, etc. have been closed until further notice.

North Dakota - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. Department offices are open to public access by appointment only.

Ohio - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal.

Residents and non-residents who have traveled to states reporting COVID-19 positive rates of 15% or greater are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days, starting from the date you left that location; this is not a mandate.

Oklahoma - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Oregon - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. Clamming and mussel harvest remains closed to non-residents for the entire coast. Crabbing is open to non-residents from Cape Falcon south. Fish stocking continues but ODFW is no longer posting the trout stocking schedule in order to prevent public crowding at waterbodies.


Pennsylvania - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned.

Residents or non-residents who have traveled to the following list of states are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.


Rhode Island - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. DEM offices remain open but with limited walk-in services.


Visitors from states with a positivity rate of >5% are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state. Travelers can avoid the quarantine requirement by presenting a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

South Carolina - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

South Dakota - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.

Tennessee - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. Duck blinds will be selected by computerized drawing. TWRA offices are closed for walk-in services.

Texas - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. All state parks that can be are open for day use and limited camping. Some capacity limits are in place. Some fishing access points are closed. Most WMAs remain closed to overnight camping; call area in advance for more detailed information. Winners of drawn hunts should contact the hunt managers for further information.


Utah - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. UDR is now offering a temporary online field day for hunter education courses. The DWR is also changing the sign-up process for hunter education and other courses, now providing easier online registration

Vermont - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal. Outdoor recreators are asked to stay as close to home as practical to reduce the risks presented by additional travel.


Residents of counties in New England and New York with fewer than 400 active COVID-19 cases per one million residents can enter Vermont for recreational purposes without having to quarantine. Residents from a non-quarantine county may travel to Vermont without quarantine restrictions if they travel directly to Vermont in their personal vehicle. Nonresidents from counties with higher than 400 active cases of COVID-19 per one million residents are discouraged from coming to Vermont for any non-essential reason, including outdoor recreation; they are to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days before resuming their activities, or quarantine for at least seven days and receive a negative COVID-19 test.

Virginia - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. All DWR offices will be closed to walk-in traffic. All in-person Hunter Ed classes have been postponed until further notice, but are still available online.


Washington - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. WDFW is currently not able to hold Master Hunter Permit Program exams or in-person hunter education classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the department has canceled the 2020 open application period for the Master Hunter Permit Program. 


Razor clam digs have been postponed until further notice.

The Skokomish Tribe has decided to delay opening the Skokomish Park at Potlatch (aka “Saltwater Park”) Hood Canal boat launch; no opening date has been determined.


West Virginia - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. The West Virginia Gold Rush has been postponed and locations for daily trout stockings will no longer be announced. WMA campgrounds are opened and only registered guests will be allowed in the campground. DNR district and administrative offices around the state are closed to the public but remain operational with reduced staffing.


Wisconsin - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place. DNR-led events and nature programs are canceled until further notice.

Wyoming - As of August 18, all fall hunting and fishing seasons are planned as normal; no travel restrictions are in place.


Canada - As of August 18, the Canada-U.S. temporary border restriction continues. All discretionary/optional travel remains prohibited. If/when this is lifted, a 14-day quarantine will most likely be required. Anyone with a hunt booked with a Canadian outfitter should stay in contact with their outfitter for up-to-date information.


As a reminder, please check with your state’s wildlife department for their specific changes due to COVID-19. Information in this article is subject to change without notice (and can become outdated) as states release new guidelines.

Sarah Honadel is an avid outdoorswoman from Kentucky, now living in Idaho, who enjoys hunting elk, deer, turkey, pronghorn, and waterfowl. She is a team member at Huntress View, Pro Staff for Browning Trail Cameras, and Brand Ambassador for the GoWild app and BaseMap app. Follow her on Instagram @waddysarah and @arrowridgecreations.


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