It goes without saying that the deer hunting season is one of the most anticipated time of the year and it’s not in vain that this is so since taking that trophy buck back home with you is one of the best experiences you can have as a hunter.

Now here’s the thing…

As fun as deer hunting may be, it’s quite frustrating for most hunters since as much as you may be having the perfect weapon and best set of hunting attire, going to the wrong place won’t really yield amazing results. On that note, think of how awesome it would actually be if you did know where to go and when.

The truth of the matter is that there are lots of deer hunting destinations in the US and it’s just all about knowing where to go and when. As it turns out, al this looking could take up quite a lot of time and this is where we come in.

It’s about time we take a look at 10 of the best deer hunting grounds you could set foot at in the USA and what really makes them as good as they are.

1. Texas

texas forest animals map

Though it may seem quite unlikely to get deer in Texas considering it is one of the driest states in the United States, this is, as a matter of fact, one of the most overlooked destinations when it comes to deer hunting when it comes to targeting different kinds of whitetail deer.

As compared to the other states, Texas boasts to have the largest percentage of bucks in the harvest and in addition to this, it comes up at number 5 as far as having a high percentage of more than 3 ½ bucks in the buck harvest.

Another reason this stands out to be one of the best deer hunting destinations is the fact that it does top the list when it comes to antlered buck harvest with a total of as much as 399,487 currently which is more than 30% increase from last year’s statistics.

When it comes to the total number of deer bagged annually inclusive of the bucks, Texas boasts an amazing 600,000 which is an increasing number over the past few years. Well, as they say, everything is indeed bigger in Texas, right?

Something else you should be looking forward to when it comes to hunting deer in Texas is the large tracts of open land available for hunters. This is roughly 1.6 million acres of public hunting land available to you which is quite amazing.

While in this state, I’d recommend that you check out Dallas which is the home of a large portion of deer in the state which makes it the home for most hunters as well. the best hunting spots you ought to check out include the Lone Star State hunt down or the Greystone Castle Sporting Club. In addition to these two hunting destinations, there is also the King Ranch in the south of Texas which is close to the state of Oklahoma where the hunting opportunities are just as amazing.

Bottom line:

At the end of the day, Texas proves to be a good enough hunting destination for someone who’s after whitetail deer. With as much as 600,000 annual deer count backed up with the fact that there is plenty of open land to hunting in, it’s quite difficult for Texas to be excluded from our list of the top 20 deer hunting destinations.

2. Mississippi

deer hunting in mississippi

Photo Credit: clarionledger

Known to be one of the best states when it comes to quality deer management, Mississippi is rated as one of the top states as far as the harvest of bucks that are 3 ½ years of age. To add icing to the cake, it is second in the harvest of yearlings and in addition to this, it is rated 5th when it comes to the total number of bucks harvested in every square mile.

One of the key factors that make this worthy of our top 10 list of the most priced deer hunting destinations is the rich delta souls and the ethics of hunters in the region. The latter, is, as a matter of fact, the key reason as to why Mississippi has quite a low number in the kill of yearling bucks

I’ve got to say, these numbers are quite impressive and most certainly good enough reasons as to why you sure are going to have one of the best deer hunting trips of your life this year if, of course, you choose to go here.

However, …

As much as it’s got some of the most amazing statistics as well as quality deer management, it’s worth mentioning that al this data has been gathered mainly from private land. As such, you should do extensive research of where you’ll be going before setting out. more often than not most hunters end up in areas of high traffic which is obviously not something that any hunter, especially a first timer would be at peace with.

Also, you will have to exercise a lot of patience if you want to go home with a trophy buck but all in all, you sure are going to walk home with a fair buck harvest.

As compared to most of the deer hunting destinations, this is a place worth giving a shot since clearly not most people are down for paying Mississippi a visit

Bottom line:

As much as it threatens to lose its bagging permits, the population of deer in Mississippi is fairly large and you just need to know where to look and if you’re lucky, you could get a trophy buck.

3. Iowa

I’d say that it would be somewhat an insult if Iowa didn’t make it to the list of the best deer hunting destinations you could visit in the USA. Well, I’ve got to give it to them, Iowa is indeed one of the best places you could hunt deer at. So, that being said, let’s find out exactly why you should go here.

First things first, unlike Mississippi, Iowa does not qualify among the states that are reputed for observing Quality deer management.

Considering there are minimal to no limitations to a hunter’s limits when hunting, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that it is among the states that have a larger proportion of younger deer being hunted. Whereas this is a downside of a lack of the QDM policy, it also stands out as one of the top states as far as trophy buck entries are concerned; as a matter of fact, it is rated either the first or second state.

It, therefore, goes without saying that you’ll be sure to walk home with a kill and on a good day, even a trophy buck.

If you want to have a really good hunt, I’d recommend that you start with Des Moines and the areas surrounding it and for obvious reasons. First of all, the deer hunting license is quite cheap for the local residents and if you’ve just traveled here, then you’ll have to pay slightly more. it is also worth pointing out that the application process will only be open for a month in the summer and upon securing one, you can have as much as 266,000 acres of open land to hunt on

But here’s the thing…

Regarding quality deer management, it’s worth mentioning that the locals partake in a number of deer drives which, as a result, educate the deer and upon doing so disrupts their movement patterns. This, not only results in the shooting of younger bucks but even worse, it makes it somewhat difficult to know exactly where you could find the deer. This is normally common in the northeastern and southeastern zones were drawing in deer is most difficult but even so, if you do have to wait, then it’s got to be worth it, right?

Bottom line:

The fact that the quality deer management policy is overlooked in this state and human interference with the natural habitat of deer is clearly a step back. This aside, you can use the little hunting limitations to your advantage to have better chances of walking home with a catch.

4. Illinois

Whereas quality deer management is important, most of the states that stand out as the best deer hunting destinations don’t seem to make it among the states that adhere to QDM. But hey, we’re all about getting the best out of hunts, right. That being said, let’s see what makes Illinois worthy of our list.

First off, as much as it doesn’t qualify among the top states in deer quality control, one of the areas that it’s known to hold up quite well is in the production of trophy bucks. As a matter of fact, between the year 2005 and 2010, the total number of trophy bucks recorded is an amazing 299 which is quite impressive as compared to the statistics of other states.

In addition to the impressive number of trophy bucks, it also did quite well in other areas such as the antlerless harvest which is over 100,000 every year. The downside of such a hunting destination as Illinois however, is the high number of hunters flooding it every year considering there are large tracts of public land that make this possible.

As compared to most states, Iowa also boasts an amazing deer hunting history since it was rated as the best state for deer hunting in the USA between the year 1830 and 2001. This is over a century and up to date, it still proves to be a good enough deer hunting destination.

Now here’s the thing…

As already mentioned, there is a lot of public land in this state which makes it one of the most preferred destinations for deer hunters. It is therefore important that you do know exactly where to look and to give you a head start, I’d recommend that you start off by taking a look at Quincy.

Quincy does have a large potential and is located in what you could call “The Golden Triangle” of deer hunting in Illinois as far as bagging a trophy deer is concerned. Also, when you aren’t tracking deer there is a lot of recreational activities available for deer hunting enthusiasts that you could indulge in.

Bottom line…

Similar to Iowa, Illinois to doesn’t qualify as among the top states for QDM which results in the shooting of young deer. Besides this, it certainly is a viable deer hunting destination and it would be a good idea that you do extensive research of where you’ll be doing your hunting before setting off to this hunting hotspot.

5. South Carolina

Another amazing destination for deer hunting in the USA is South Carolina and boasting to give hunters the privilege of bagging lots of bucks than most states, there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t give it a shot. How about we take a look at what it really does have to offer?

Here goes…

Over the years, then there has been a fair improvement in the quality of whitetail that is hunted in this state.As a matter of fact, it ranked first in the number of bucks that are harvested per square mile and these numbers should be pretty much enough to implore you to give it a shot.

To back the above fact up, over 70% of South Carolina was reported to have a successful harvest of whitetaildeer. Well, despite the chances of getting an above average whitetail might be quite slim, one thing you’reguaranteed to get out of a hunting trip to this state is a really amazing time.

So, where should you start?

Assuming that I’ve convinced you enough to give South Carolina a try, this state, being a deer hunting hotspot, demands that you do some research of where to go before setting your foot here. This being the case, I’d recommend that you start off at Orangeburg.

Here, you should be able to get quite a lot of bucks per square miles which is not an experience that you can get in most states. In addition to having some really good numbers, there are plenty of hunting clubs as well and a fair share of rural land as well. Back in the year 2016, the recorded number of buck kills recorded in Orangeburg was much higher as compared to any other deer hunting hotspot in the entire state of Massachusetts and truth be told, it’s not every day that you’ll come across this.

Bottom line:

It goes without saying that South Carolina is indeed one of the few amazing states for deer hunting worth paying a visit to. The statistics are amazing and the record-breaking 70% of successful hunts should be pretty much enough reason for you to give this state a try

6.  Montana

Comin up 6th on our list is a state that is not only popular as a deer hunting destination but also elk and mule deer and in some rare instances even mountain lion. The point to be taken from this is that if you are looking for a state that will be generous with the game (including deer of course), Montana might just be it. Here’s more on what it’s got.

First things first, the main reason as to why Montana is a good enough state for deer hunting is greatly attributed to the fact that there are plenty of resources favoring the well being of deer. In the eastern half of the state, there are plenty of river drainages such as Missouri, Tongue, Powder and Yellowstone rivers all of which, due to their remoteness serve as some of the best spots for deer hunting.

Other than just their solitude and the open river bottoms, the presence of these water bodies makes it possible for the hunters in the area to grow crops that favor the thriving of whitetail. It won’t come as a surprise that you’ll find plenty of corn, alfalfa among other crops in the region.

What’s even more interesting is that the hunting pressure in the state of Montana is fairly low and as such, you will have better chances of taking home a kill if you choose to give this place a shot

There’s more…

In addition to the food and water sources, something else that favors the thriving of deer in the region is the presence of public land. With as much as 30% of the state being public land that is available for hunters all of which totals up to an amazing 28.2 million acres, it’s hardly comparable to other hunting destinations. In addition to the public land, the state also does have an additional 7.3 acres of private land available for public hunting.

But there’s a catch…

Despite the lots of things that favor deer hunting in this state, Montana is one of the most extensive states for non-residents. The reason for this is that you may have to pay a lot more as compared to what the locals do pay in order to secure a deer hunting license.

Bottom line:

From the water and food sources to the presence of lots of public and additional private hunting grounds, Montana proves to be one of the best states for deer hunting. besides the fact that that you have to pay slightly more if you are an outsider.

7. Oklahoma

It’s no surprise that Oklahoma is present on this list considering it is sandwiched between Kansas and Texas to the south and north respectively both of which are amazing deer hunting destinations. Yes, it has been overshadowed by its neighbors in the recent past but even so, managed to gain popularity among deer hunters and below is every reason why.

As much as Oklahoma does not necessarily have the biggest numbers when it comes to the trophy bucks that are harvested here each year, it’s got quite a lot of potential for whitetail. As a matter of fact, it stands out as one of the few states that you could invest in if you are looking to buy land for whitetail hunting.

Something to pay attention to…

As good a destination as Oklahoma is, it’s unfortunately susceptible to long periods of hot and dry conditions. Because of this, it makes it somewhat difficult to get deer in most sections of the state and as such, you’ll want to stick close to the water sources if you really do want to get the most out of every hunt.

Though you may see it better to hunting in the open grounds of the state, trying out your luck along the water sources might be quite resourceful as they, at times, hold a generous amount of deer.

The catch…

As much potential as it does have, there is a bag limit for bowhunters in the archery season which normally runs from the first of October to the 15th of January, a period which you’ll be limited to bagging 6 deer only. This includes two antlered deer and four antlerless deer.

As for the deer hunting permits, visitors to the state will obviously have to pay slightly more than the locals which are basically the general rule of thumb in any state that’s reputed for deer hunting.

Bottom line:

It goes without saying that Oklahoma does indeed have a lot of growing potential as a deer hunting destination and it’s definitely worth giving a shot. Provided you stick to the recommended hunting hotspots and are willing to pay the slightly larger fees for the hunting permits, you’ll be set to go.

8. Kentucky

Whereas in the past few years this could not be said for Kentucky, it has risen to be one frequently mentioned state as an ideal whitetail destination for deer hunting. After all, it ranks as the 5th all-time in the Boone and Crockett whitetail entries. Let’s take a closer look at what it really does have in store for hunters.

As far as quality deer management is concerned, you’ll be limited to bagging only one deer a year, per hunter. This being the case, it won’t come as a surprise that the deer numbers will be fairly high as the policy applies to both the residents of the states and the locals as well. with lots of bucks reaching maturity and the reproduction rate will, in turn, be higher than in most states.

As much as the buck limit may seem like a limitation, you will, on the bright side be more selective of the deer you bag and as such, chances are high that you may end up getting a trophy kill.


Similar to Ohio, this is also quite a hunter-friendly state since the non-residents can get an annual deer hunting license at quite a reasonable price. To add icing to the cake, the permit gives you the ability to give up one buck to 3 antlerless deer which, of course, is dependent on the county in which you are hunting.

As for the hunting grounds, there is plenty of public ground available and in addition to this, there is quite a large network of Wildlife Management Areas all over the state.

Bottom line:

From the large tracts of land to the friendly and versatile hunting licenses, Kentucky proves to be quite an amazing destination for deer hunters. provided you adhere to the state laws on how to hunt, you should be good to go.


9. Ohio

Well, I’ve got to say, it’s no surprise at all that Ohio has made it to our list of the best deer hunting destinations. Boasting to have some of the best statistics when it comes to deer hunting, I’d really recommend this as a good enough destination for deer hunting. here’s why you should give it a shot.

First things first, when it comes to the production of the best whitetail, this definitely does take the day and this is backed up by statistics from the recent past. By producing the No.3 (198 3/8) as well as the 6th (196 6/8) typical whitetails not to forget the 1st(294 0/8) non-typical whitetail all of which were recorded in the past few years, you’ve got more than enough reason to give this state a shot.

For both the rifle hunters and bow hunters, it serves as equally as good a destination for anyone who is looking to walk home with a prize buck and it’s best that you try out the North-Eastern section of the state.

There’s more…

In addition to having some of the best statistics in deer hunting, it’s also quite friendly to the visiting hunters as compared to the other destinations in the Midwest portion of the USA. With as little as $150, you can be able to secure a license and upon paying an additional $50, you should be able to hunt just as comfortably as the locals and in the longer deer hunting season as well.

What keeps the deer there?

You’ve probably been wondering about this. Well, like most wildlife, it’s always about how well the surroundings favor their well being and I’ve got to say, Ohio does pack enough resources. It boasts a blend of both rugged terrains which is enveloped in the hardwood forest and most importantly, there is plenty of agriculture which will boost the deer nutrition.

However, …

As much as there are plenty of places to eat, this makes it somewhat difficult to be able to pinpoint the deer’s locations and feeders and lures ought to come in handy. Something else you should be worried about is the restriction of gun hunters to only muzzleloaders and shotguns which also does not coincide with the peak rut season. This being the case, it favors bowhunters more at the end of the day

Bottom line:

With plenty of public lands to hunt at in addition to the fact that the terrain does favor the thriving of deer adding on to the license fees being cheaper than in most states, it does prove to be a good enough deer hunting destination.

10.  Kansas

As far as the production of big bucks is concerned, Kansas is hands down the best of the best. But other than this, there are plenty of other reasons as to why you should pay a visit to this state. Here’s what you’ll be looking forward to.

First off, you should be able to find big whitetails all over the states and this holds in the heavily forested hilly terrain in the eastern side of Kansas all the way to the classic prairie terrain in the mid and western sections. Despite there being quite a lot of hunting pressure in the eastern side which hosts most residents of the state, it still is a fraction of what you’ll experience in the eastern coast. This being the case, it would be best that you play your cards well to go for the regions with less hunting pressure.

Whether you are a resident or non-resident, you’ll have to adhere to the one-buck bag limit, something that forces you to be selective of the decision you make. With this little pressure on the bucks coupled up with the favorable habitats and amazing genetics, it’s not in vain that it’s indeed one of the best states.

What about the license?

Though it’s not as cheap as Kentucky, the permit to non-residents permits you to either-sex and antlerless hunting but you need to obtain it through the annual draw system. Other than the deer permit, visiting hunters will also need a general hunting license.

Bottom line:

It’s clear that other than being expensive, the hunting permits can be acquired easily and are quite versatile. The steeper price of the license, however, can be compensated for by the near-sure odds of bagging a buck and if you’re lucky one of the largest as well which altogether makes Kansas worth giving a shot.


Well, there you have it, the top 10 best deer hunting destinations in the USA. Though each state does have its advantages and disadvantages, it’s all about personal preference, proximity and cost irrespective of where you choose to go. That being said, do take your time and narrow down your options to get the best out of this year’s deer hunting season.