5 Improving States on the List of Best Deer Hunting in America

If you're planning your next whitetail adventure, consider these states that have been offering some of the best deer hunting year after year.

When naming the states moving up on the list of best places to hunt whitetails, it's all relative and depends on what makes prime deer hunting to you. If you're looking for world record trophy whitetails, the Boone & Crockett Club ranks states by the number of record book entries it has. Currently the top state is Wisconsin, followed by Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas.

But some of us are less concerned with antler records and more excited about good hunting and the opportunity to kill a mature buck. If that's more your speed, consider the findings from the latest Deer Report from the National Deer Association (previously the Whitetail Report from QDMA).

For the 2019-2020 season, Michigan had the top buck kill per square mile at 3.7, while Mississippi had the most bucks killed per 100 hunters at 70. With its vast area of private land and limited hunting pressure, Texas recorded the largest buck harvest at 460,242.

Some of these states are easy for anyone to hunt on sprawling acres of public land, while other states in the Midwest are nearly inaccessible to non-residents without preference points or booking through outfitters.

The stats and success rates also vary based on archery, muzzleloader and rifle seasons, so consider your tackle before booking your bucket list hunt.

With all these factors in mind, here are five of the top best states for whitetail hunters that are moving up the list.



With over 1,800 B&C entries and six of the best-producing counties in the country, Wisconsin has to top the list. Non-residents can buy OTC licenses, and the long archery season allows for plenty of opportunity.


deer hunting

Ohio also boasts OTC tags for non-residents, long seasons and over 1,000 Booner trophy bucks.


Luke Brewster killed the non-typical whitetail that now ranks third on the all-time list in Illinois in 2018. Ease of securing a non-resident tag here depends on the season and region.


Kansas certainly has the big bucks - over 860 record book whitetails. Non-residents must draw a license through a lottery, so this one isn't a guarantee if you're planning a trip.


deer hunting

Kentucky offers OTC tags for non-resident deer hunters and currently sits at #6 on the Boone & Crockett list for most record bucks.