Hunting season is now underway, which means you need to know what the best whitetail deer hunting states for big game hunters are this year.
Some people just can’t wait to get out there with their rifles or bows and hunt for a great catch, and whitetail deer are some of the finest. Some are even lucky enough to shoot a Booner, a truly rare and beautiful find. What makes a whitetail a Booner? Their antler size, which must be big enough to qualify for the North American big game record books kept by the Boone & Crockett Club. And according to estimates, this season, only about 1 in 3,000 deer will qualify. But whether you tag a Booner or not, tagging a whitetail alone is an accomplishment. It’s one of the most sought-after beasts in the hunting world, but finding them is almost an art. You have to know where to look, which is why we’re bringing you this list.
Because some locations are better than others for whitetail hunting. For one, whitetails actually have to be prevalent in the state, so whitetail deer population in the state is important. It also helps if the state isn’t highly pressurized by other hunters. Then there’s the risk of EHD, a viral disease found specifically in whitetails. This disease can wipe out massive herds and has at times completely ruined a hunting season in some areas. Weather is also important, because no one wants to be foot-deep in the snow while they look for a deer. These factors all play into the prime hunting location.
To find the ones on this list of best states for whitetail deer hunting, we simply researched the topic using these reliable sources: Wide Open Spaces’ 10 States to Hunt Whitetail Deer, Wide Open Spaces’ 10 Worst Deer Hunting States, North American Whitetail’s Top 10 Whitetail Spots for 2017, American Hunter’s Best States for Whitetail, Trail Camera Expert’s 10 Best Places to Hunt Deer, National Deer Alliance’s Top 10 States for Whitetail Deer Hunters, Deer Hunting Field’s Best Deer Hunting States, Live Outdoors’ Top Places for Whitetail Deer Hunting, Real Tree’s Top 8 States for Nonresident Deer Hunting, Real Tree’s 15 Most Pressured Deer Hunting States, Deer Gear’s Best States to Tag a Velvet Buck, and Game & Fish Mag’s Best Trophy Deer Hunting States in the Midwest.
In consulting those 12 sources, we gave each state 1 point every time it was mentioned as a good deer hunting state by one of the lists. And for the negative lists (like with 10 worst deer hunting states), we subtracted a point from each of those states listed. And since these lists not only name good whitetail hunting states but good deer hunting states in general, we’re sure to get a good mix of states with the most hunting success.
Also to better prepare you for your trek outdoors, check out our list of 5 easiest GPS devices to use for hunting and fishing as well as article on Pixelated Digital Camouflage vs. Traditional Camouflage For Hunting and Combat.
But keep in mind that the “best-hunting state” can also depend on personal preference, the skill level of the hunter and conditions from year to year. For instance, don’t expect to go to one of these states as a first-time hunter and immediately be flocked by a herd of giant whitetails. Also, don’t expect these states to hold up as “the best” for years on end. Things can always change from year to year, so the best deer hunting states for 2016 might not be the same as the best deer hunting states for 2017. And even someone who hunts in a state that’s not on this list can tag a nice whitetail with the right amount of skill.
But that’s all the disclaimers for our list of best whitetail deer hunting states for big game hunters. Hopefully reading this will get you even more excited to prepare your gun for a great hunting season. Let’s start with the last two states which share the 15th place.