Distributed throughout North America, from the wide-open prairies, high alpine basins and dense forests, deer species are a popular big game animal for hunters. Hunters consider several factors as they search for the best place places to deer hunt, including hunting land opportunities, odds of drawing a deer license (a tag) and the trophy, or overall potential for shooting a deer.
According to Nate Simmons from “Eastman’s Bowhunting Journal,” Colorado offers diverse mule deer hunting habitats along with good odds of drawing a tag. Not only can mule deer be found from the mountains to the open grasslands, but whitetails can also be found in the eastern plains and river bottoms.
Alaska is the only state that has Sitka blacktail deer hunting. Located along the southern coastal regions, Sitka blacktail deer antlers are smaller than whitetail antlers, but hunters have an excellent opportunity for a trophy. According to DeerHuntingGuide.net, Prince of Wales Island and Kodiak Island are the best opportunities for deer hunting.
From 1830 to 2001, Iowa ranked as the No. 1 state for Boone and Crockett trophy whitetail bucks with a total of 615 entries. Trophy bucks and quality deer hunting can be found in any region of the state. Hunters interested in hunting in Iowa need to apply for and accumulate preference points to draw a tag.
Canada is known for excellent deer hunting, and Alberta is one of the best opportunities for harvesting a trophy buck. According to North American Whitetail, the best areas in Alberta are the farmlands and river valleys located in southern and eastern Alberta.
World-class mule deer and the elusive Coues whitetail deer species make Arizona one of the best places to deer hunt. The top units--specific hunting areas regulated by the state--can take 10 or more years to draw a tag, but other units offer unlimited over-the-counter archery tags, which allow a hunter to hunt deer in Arizona every year. The rut--or deer mating season--occurs later than northern states, providing a late-season hunt in December and January.
The combined habitats in Illinois of river bottoms and agriculture, together grow trophy whitetail bucks and support a healthy deer herd. IMB Monster Bucks recommends west-central Illinois and the counties around Pike County for the best deer hunting.
Oregon is often overlooked for deer hunting, but the possibility of Columbian whitetails and mule deer makes it ideal for trophy hunting. Hunt the Pacific coastal rainforests for Columbian whitetails and the eastern half of the state in the mountains, rugged pine hills and deep valleys for mule deer.
With one of the highest annual deer harvests, Texas is one of the best places to deer hunt. Texas features an extensive deer management process, including foot plots and supplemental feeding. According to the Boone and Crockett Club, Texas ranked fifth for trophy bucks from 1830 to 2001.
Located along the Mississippi River; Buffalo County, Wisconsin ranks as one of the top whitetail counties in North America. Other top deer hunting locations include the Milwaukee suburbs, north woods and other counties along the Mississippi River.
The diverse habitats of open grassland, wooded river bottoms and agriculture provide adequate populations of whitetail and mule deer. According to North American Whitetail, most trophy bucks are harvested on private land, but Kansas offers “walk-in” public hunting areas that feature deer populations.
- North American Whitetail: Whitetail Deer Hunting Hotspots
- IMB Monster Bucks: The Best Destinations to Hunt Trophy Whitetail Deer Bucks
- Boone and Crockett Whitetails: A Geographical Analysis
- "Eastman's Bowhunting Journal:" Members Research Supplement
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: Fall Hunting Forecast