Here is our list of the top five hunting states west of the Rockies.
There are truly very few places on Earth as exciting and challenging to hunt than the western United States. The vistas are incredible, and the peaks are high, but one thing is a constant: the game animals are abundant.
For those experienced in western hunting, you can at least observe once again, maybe even hatch a new plan to a spot you hadn't thought to try. In any event, you'll still want to throw your two cents in and see if you still have a bucket-list hunt in mind.
Remember, there are a ton of possibilities and this doesn't need to be an end-all, be-all list.
Oregon could be considered one of the most sought after hunting destinations in the United States. If you're looking for bear, antelope, or even cougar, you've found the right place. But if its bull elk, deer, or a once-in-a-lifetime bighorn sheep hunt, welcome to paradise!
You can even hunt chukar on the river's edge, or pheasants in the beautiful valleys. Either way, the state has something for everyone.
Sure, not every inch of Wyoming is west of the Rocky Mountains, but it will still suit our purposes. Wyoming hunting has become a mecca for big game hunters across the nation. It's the tenth largest state by land mass, but one of the least populated.
If whitetail and mule deer aren't enough for you, then the elk hunting is superb. The best part might be a lifelong bucket list hunt for a bighorn sheep, but did you know that you can also hunt moose in Wyoming?
All that is only the tip of the iceberg since, as the WGFD says, "If you want to hunt antelope, you've come to the right place. Wyoming has more antelope than all the rest of the continent, and harvest success commonly exceeds 85%."
The Nevada Department of Wildlife lists no less than bear, bighorn sheep, bighorn ewe, elk, mountain goat, mountain lion, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope as the prime species to hunt. There are also migratory game birds, multiple grouse species, upland game, and even furbearers.
Even at all that, this may be the single best place to finally tag out on that trophy mule deer you've been longing for. There are some big bucks, and early season hunts can end with some beautiful velvet antlers. Nevada has over 100 mountain ranges and vast, grassy plains that provide perfect habitat for deer that it may seem easy to find one. If you're lucky you can draw a mule deer tag in Nevada and go on a Non-Resident Guided Mule Deer Hunt.
California may seem like the perfect place to find the big game that you're looking for, but it also is replete with upland game birds, furbearers, and some of the best waterfowl hunting in the U.S. Add to that the fact that there is blacktail deer and multiple types of mule deer hunting to be had, and that may be enough.
But for those seeking some of the greatest hunts ever, the list goes on with bear, wild pig, elk, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. You'll have to get in line, as the tags are popular and difficult to obtain. For those who don't mind waiting, it is an amazing place to hunt.
It seems like there is no end to the possibilities when it comes to the Alaskan wilderness. From sportfishing the coast or the array of inland rivers, you might struggle to find time to hunt.
Truth be told, Alaska is like a who's who of wild big game hunting: Plains and wood bison, black bear, brown bear, and grizzly bear, caribou, Dall sheep, Sitka blacktail deer, elk, Rocky Mountain goat, muskox, and some of the largest moose in the world.
There is also unique upland bird hunting and waterfowl hunting experiences for those who want to do some wingshooting.
Let's not forget to talk about Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico since they all have excellent hunting opportunities. Hunting the western states whether on public land or private land, especially for big game usually comes in the form of hiring a reputable outfitter.
Each of these states have archery seasons, rifle seasons, some type of deer seasons, and generally high success rates. Many sportsmen can obtain over-the-counter tags, but many still will have to endure draw odds for the tag they want.
First time hunters to these areas are encouraged to beat the hunting pressure by identifying a responsible hunting trip guide with plenty of experience. If any of these are your home state, feel free to be happy that you live in one of the best hunting states in the country.
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