The Best Deer Hunting States in the U.S

The Best Deer Hunting States In The US

Whitetail deer are a common sight all throughout the U.S., and there are many states which are perfect for hunting them, but which are the best, and what makes them so?
Many factors have been taken into consideration in the compilation of this list, including the general success rate of hunters and the weather conditions of each state. Whilst what constitutes a good state for
deer hunting is a very subjective question, we are sure that you will agree with many of our top picks.
You may well find that you have a different idea as to what constitutes the best deer hunting states than what you read on this list – that is fine! – however, we believe that, with all variables and considerations taken into account, these are the places where you stand the best chances of success.

Group of Whitetail Deer


​The 5 Best Deer Hunting States Throughout the ​U.S

1. Kentucky

State of Kentucky

Coming in at number one is Kentucky, widely recognized as one of the country’s best hunting locations. With good, long-lasting weather conditions, friendly hunting regulations and a large herd of healthy deer, Kentucky hunters can easily hunt down a decent amount of deer. This is made even easier by the vast amount of public hunting land available!

2. Indiana

Although Indiana is not as well-recognized as Kentucky for its hunting potential – this is perhaps a good thing – there are still a lot of deer roaming the vast public hunting grounds. The only downside to Indiana is the relatively high amount of pressure from other hunters and, even though Indiana is not as widely known as other states for its hunting prowess, the competition can be difficult.

3. Kansas

Flag of Kansas State

Whilst Kansas has repeatedly been the subject of much positive press and has been atop the Best Whitetail Destinations list several times running, it has a significantly smaller amount of public hunting land. In Kansas, only 420,000 acres of land are open for public hunting which is tiny in contrast to states such as Michigan which has well over 7 million acres of public hunting land. The only reason Kansas is so high up on this list is that it offers the best chances of any other state to catch a Booner.

4. Missouri

Several TV shows and online vlogs have been set in Missouri, and it is very much an up-and-coming state so far as hunting is concerned, making it a great place to get started as a new hunter. There is a large trophy potential and a huge amount of public land on which you can carry out the hunt. Plus, with only 8 hunters per square mile, there is a fairly reasonable amount of competition.

5. Illinois

Illinois has earned its place on our list as a result of its trophy potential, with the state entering 299 bucks into the Boone & Crockett books between the years of 2005 and 2010… the second-most of any other state. Additionally, the state’s annual harvest culminates in around 100,000 antlerless deer which somewhat compensates for the rather large amount of pressure and competition from other hunters.


​5 States to Avoid

Stop Sign

Just like there are plenty of states you should try and visit, there are many which you should avoid if you can. Although you can hunt here and will probably have some success, you are likely to fare much better in any of the above five states and then some.

1. New Jersey

Although most would not immediately associate New Jersey with being a hunter-friendly state, there have been many reported cases of deer hunting taking place there; however, many of these deer are yearlings. Unfortunately, there is also a huge amount of competition amongst hunters which gains New Jersey a spot on this list.

2. Vermont

Despite its natural beauty, Vermont provides problems on the hunting front on account of its challenging, unpredictable weather, relatively low hunting success rate and the large amount of competition which exists amongst hunters who try their luck there.

3. Maine

Another state let down on account of its weather and terrain is Maine. Because of the vast, deep wooded areas and unpredictable snowy weather, chasing whitetail deer here in their natural habitat is a challenge you are likely to lose. That’s not to say it is impossible, though, and a more seasoned deer hunter may feel right at home here.

Deer hunting is a classic American pastime which thousands of people take part in each year. Before heading out on the hunt, it is worth considering where you are likely to have the most success and go to the closest state to you where the conditions will work in your favor.

​Let us know if you agree or disagree with any of our picks below in the comments, we want to hear from you!

Jonny
 

Hunting is something that has been a big part of my family history for generations. Typically every spare weekend I have is spent outdoors either hunting or doing something else adventure related. This site uses my years of knowledge in the field to hopefully help improve the hunting experience of others.

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