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Top 5 Best States For Deer Hunting

by Jalen Cunningham on May 23, 2024

Top 5 Best States For Deer Hunting

Last blog post we talked a bit about scouting out bucks and what strategies you could use to land yourself a buck.

Now today’s blog are kind of like a follow up and at the same time, prequel to that video

We’re going to be a lot more general when it comes to getting our bucks now and looking at the big picture.

The reason why you might have had some issues in the past landing yourself a buck might’ve been something completely out of your control.

Although let’s face it…. You might just be making excuses.

But in the chances, you’re not, I wanted to talk about the different deer populations in different states.

Since not every state is built the same……when it comes to deer population that is!

Some states maybe have 1.5-2x times more deer than others and if you want to travel down to those states to get yourself a buck. I would not blame you. Sounds like a great time actually.

So today we’re going to be covering the top five states when it comes to deer population/hunting.


5. Ohio
We’re going to start from the bottom to the top. So at 5 we have Ohio.
Taking the memes aside, Ohio's diverse landscape, including woodlands, open fields, and rolling hills, provides an ideal habitat for whitetails. Counties like Athens have consistently yielded great bucks. The mix of hardwood forests, abundant food sources, and waterways creates the perfect environment for these majestic creatures to thrive. Understanding the topography and terrain of Ohio can be the key to a successful hunt.
This isn’t even mentioning the number of deer you can find either. Ohio has a substantial deer population, with estimates ranging from 750,000 to 800,000 deer in recent years. These numbers not only indicate a thriving deer population but also highlight the effectiveness of Ohio's wildlife management programs.

4. Iowa
I wanted to take a step back and talk about how insane this state can truly be when it comes to deer hunting. It might not always have the same numbers when it comes to the states before it but it’s insane.
Iowa continues to rank #3 for Boone and Crockett Club trophy whitetail with 1,330 total entries. The state also has three counties in the top 20 U.S. counties with the most records produced, including: Allamakee County that ranks #8 with 60 entries, Warren County that ranks #16 with 50 total entries, and Clayton County that is tied for #19 with 47 entries. The state’s top five typical bucks ever taken, however, did not come from these high producing counties, instead coming from Hamilton, Decatur, Des Moines, Plymouth, and Monroe counties. The 21st Century Whitetails section includes Austin Pontier’s 2016 typicabuck from Clarke County that scored 194-1/8 and is ranked #8 in Iowa history and #70 on the All-time list—the image of the then-18-year-old’s beautiful buck graces the cover of the book.
If that’s not impressive, then I don’t know what is.

3. Mississippi
Mississippi as a deer-hunting state is not only well-established but on the rise. It has been ranked as one of the top states for tagging a buck 3½ years old or older for several years by the National Deer Association (NDA) (79 percent of bucks were in the harvest in 2020). And success on antlerless deer borders on the ridiculous, with 81 does killed per 100 hunters afield. While Mississippi isn’t a heavy hitter in the B&C or P&Y record books, what is notable is that most of the top entries are recent bucks. The state’s top P&Y nontypical (236-⅛ inches, Tracy Laird) was killed in 2003 and the top typical (181-2/8 inches, Earl Stubblefield) in 2016. Virtually all the top-ten bow-killed bucks in each category have come within the last decade. And if you ever doubt Mississippi’s potential, consider Tony Fulton’s 295-6/8-inch giant, which has remained as the state nontypical record and #9 B&C nontypical since 1995.

2. Missouri
The Show-Me State is one of those stalwart Midwestern states that’s just tough to ignore. While hunter numbers are high and the amount of public land relatively small, Missouri remains one of the best-managed whitetail herds around, with 33 does killed per 100 hunters and 33 percent of bucks tagged at 3½ years old or older. And of course, it’s home to the Missouri Monarch, the “found” giant that remains the B&C world record nontypical. Hunter-killed trophies are almost as impressive; Randy Simonitich’s 269-⅞-inch bow kill (2000) is the #7 P&Y nontypical and Larry Gibson’s incredible 205-inch typical (1971) sits in the Top Five of B&C typicals. 

1. Wisconsin
Wisconsin's mix of dense forests, fertile agricultural fields, and varied landscapes create the ideal environment for whitetails to flourish. Counties such as Buffalo and Vernon are known for producing exceptional bucks, and understanding the nuances of these areas can significantly enhance your hunting experience.
To grasp the full scope of Wisconsin's whitetail deer hunting appeal, we must consider the state's deer population numbers. In the 2021-2022 season, Wisconsin reported a total deer harvest of approximately 306,000. That’s just in one season. The population ranges from around 1.5 million on average.  Wisconsin is truly amazing if you really want to hunt down here! They have a bit less than Mississippi in terms of population but from the records of the truly monstrous bucks found here, it more than makes up for that!

These are some of the five states I found to be impressive throughout the USA. There’s definitely some stuff I missed and there are some other really impressive heavy hitter states too besides these. However if you want to really try something new, I’d come down here for a trip and try your luck. You might end up with a new record! 


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