For many whitetail deer hunters, catching a monster is at the top of their bucket lists. Although most hunters spend their lives hunting near their homes, there are states that are famous for growing big mature whitetails. Take a look at the top seven locations for hunting whitetail deer.
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Texas has more than 1.6 million acres of public land and 5.4 million whitetail deer throughout the state, which makes it one of the top locations for hunting whitetail deer. Estimates show approximately 48 deer per 100 acres, which translates to one deer in each 21 acres of monitored range. In 2018, the average Boone & Crockett score was 126.1 for bucks five and half and older and 121.2 for four and a half year-old bucks.
Edwards Plateau has more deer than any other region with an estimated 2.4 million. It’s the best place to go to see huge numbers of deer in the field. There was good fawn production in 2013, which means that the number of six and a half year-old bucks is strong.
South Texas is known for quality bucks, with plenty of four and a half year-olds in the herd. The habitat conditions are great so antler quality is excellent in this region. Surveys from 2018 show that 63 percent of the bucks harvested in this region were three and a half years and older.
Other regions include Pineywoods, Post Oak Savannah, Cross Timbers, and Rolling Plains, all of which have good numbers for mature bucks. The whitetail deer population in Texas makes it one of the premier locations for United States hunting.
Iowa has only 107,446 acres that are open to public hunting. You will need to hunt on private properties or pay a $550 fee for a license and tags. These tags are available by lottery and nonresidents often spend three or four years accruing points before they draw a tag in Iowa.
The mild climate and vast food supply allows whitetail deer to grow and develop impressive antlers. Iowa has terrain that is steep and rugged, which allows these deer to survive longer out of the sight of hunters so there are older bucks. Iowa has produced more trophy deer than any other state.
The whitetail deer population in Kansas has increased a great deal in the past twenty years with a herd of more than 620,000. They live throughout the state with the highest density in the eastern third of the state. Kansas has managed the herds well and there are trophy-sized bucks in all regions. One interesting aspect of Kansas is that entries are listed evenly across the counties.
Nonresidents need to apply for a tag and it can take a few years. There are good outfitters as well as hundreds of thousands of acres that are open through landowner-access programs. In fact, most of the hunting land is privately owned. Kansas is growing in popularity and the number of applicants is growing each year.
Similar to Iowa, Kansas has monster whitetails but access is difficult to come by. Only 0.8% of Kansas hunting land is open to the public and the cost of a guided or private land hunt can be high.
Kentucky has fewer regulations, a long season, and a lot of public lands for hunting, which makes it a great place to hunt whitetail deer. They have a large, healthy herd and while you are limited to one buck, you can normally take as many antlerless deer as you buy tags for.
In recent years, Kentucky has come in the top ten for both typical and non-typical antler entries. Kentucky has done a great job of managing and growing their herds with their zones and bag limits. Their numbers of trophy deer are constantly rising with record-setting bucks recorded from all around the state.
Kentucky has a low hunter density at fewer than eight hunters per square mile and it is less expensive than other places. They have a number of wildlife management areas that offer public lands for hunting, which provides easier access to hunters than other more restricted states.
The habitat in Kentucky is excellent and there are vast areas of open land for whitetail deer. Kentucky also incentivizes private landowners to manage their properties for wildlife, which has resulted in improvements of the herd of deer. All in all, Kentucky is one of the best places to hunt whitetails.
Wisconsin is the number one B&C state of all time and it is home of Buffalo County, which ranks first all time for typical whitetails and second for non-typicals. Wisconsin has over seven million acres of public hunting land and it is an affordable place for nonresidents to hunt. In fact, there is a huge number of deer in many parts of the state with an estimated population of two million deer in 2019.
The large population leads to increased opportunity for hunters because Wisconsin is experiencing all-time high deer populations. The mild winters as well as seasons where quotas weren’t met have led to this population growth. Wisconsin might have the best opportunity for affordable United States hunting of whitetails.
Ohio has been creeping up the list for all-time bucks. In fact, they have the number 2, 8, and 11 spots for all-time non-typical bucks in the B&C. As with Kansas, large bucks are evenly distributed throughout the state. Ohio has a great deal of farmland, which means that there is fertile soil for deer to grow and develop healthy large antlers.
Ohio has a long bow hunting season but a short firearm season. Hunters are restricted to one buck per year, which accounts for the growth of their herds. One very popular spot is the Woodbury Wildlife Area, which covers 20,000 areas and is home to many trophy bucks.
Similar to Kentucky, Indiana is a state that has been under the radar for whitetail deer hunting. However, hunters have a higher chance of raking a buck worthy of record books than they do in any other state. Data shows that approximately 60% of bucks are two and a half years or older and the average success rate is 50%.
Northern parts of Indiana have the highest numbers of trophy deer but the southern areas are more heavily populated. In addition, there are privately owned hunting lands that you can register to try to gain access to. There is a lot of opportunity in Indiana with its 0.84 chance of shooting a record-book-worthy whitetail and its abundance of deer.