What are the best states for deer hunting?

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Don’t mess with Texas! Or Texans, for that matter. These guys had a total of 725, 368 registered firearms in 2019. Perhaps it’s the cowboy fun that Americans so desire. Or maybe it’s the pride of being one of the best states for deer hunting. Whatever the reason, hunters are flocking into Texas in their thousands. 

As a matter of fact, Texas has:

  • More than 1.6 million acres of public land available
  • A population of more than 5.4 million Whitetail deer

Considering a hunter success rate of 78%, it is no wonder many hunters prefer Texas for deer hunting. This may be part of the reason why the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission allowed the use of the best air rifles for deer hunting in mid-2018.  No looking back now! Get your hunting license and get into the woods.

While Texas may make the best state in the US for deer hunting, it’s not the only amazing place to try it out. Check out the list below, bring to you exclusively by Air Gun Maniac!

1. Texas

For all the reasons we mentioned above, as well as the fact that the landscape is rugged and beautiful, Texas is the best state in the US for deer hunting. Need we say anymore?

2. Missouri

With an estimated whitetail deer population of about 1.4 million, and the numbers increasing by the day, you can be sure to have some hunting joy in Missouri.

Jason Isabelle of the Missouri Department of Conservation records that their hunting regulations have led to a constant increase in numbers both in Southern and Northern Missouri. The diverse landscape of the state, as well as fertile soils additionally keep the deer population high.

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Between 2018 and 2019 alone, hunters were able to harvest 290, 224 whitetail deer. That’s awesome to say the least.

With only 8.3 hunters per square mile, you stand a great chance of going home with the deer.  

3. Iowa

Characterized by rugged and steep terrain, Iowa State is known for hiding its deer from the hunters’ eyes until they mature. Therefore if you do come encounter a deer, it could well be a pretty big one! 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates the current deer population at slightly less than half a million. That is laudable, given the state has only 107,446 acres on which the public can hunt.


In this regard, the authorities have reduced the number of licenses issued. The price has also gone up, so you’ll have to cough about $550 bucks for the license and tags. Don’t let that put you off though — it’s worth the investment!

4. Ohio

For the 2018-2019 hunting season, hunters downed a total of 172, 049 deer. Note that this was only on 651,000 acres of land. That’s impressive.

For best results, Hunting Locator recommends September as the best hunting month. Not only will you find whitetail deer, but also a whole lot of other species like feral pigs, foxes, coyotes, doves, pheasant, squirrels and turkey. 

What more, most hunting leases provide you with a horse so that you have an edge over the deer. 

Your first stop should definitely be the Woodbury Wildlife Area, with an approximate coverage of 20,000 acres. The trophy buck is yours for the take!

5. Kansas

Boone & Crockett ranked Kansas number eight for trophy whitetail entries for the period 2005-2010. Numbers don’t lie. So if you really crave that trophy buck, go to Kansas.

The total public land reserved for hunting is about 420,000 acres. This small parcel of land hosts over 600,000 whitetail deer and about 52,000 mule deer. To start you off, consider the Walk-In Hunting Area.

Here are the proposed deer season dates by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.

Youth and Disability Season5th Sept 202013th Sept 2020
Early muzzleloader season14th Sept 202027th Sept 2020
Archery season14th Sept 202031st Dec 2020
Pre-Rut Firearm Whitetail Antlerless Season10th Oct 202012th Oct 2020
Firearms Season2nd Dec 202013th Dec 2020
1st Extended Whitetail Antlerless Only1st Jan 202110th Jan 2020
2nd Extended Whitetail Antlerless Only1st Jan 202117th Jan 2021
3rd Extended Whitetail Antlerless Only1st Jan 202124th Jan 2021
Extended Archery25th Jan 202131st Jan 2021


6. Arkansas

There are 1 million deer in this US State! That sounds inviting enough. More so, you have a whopping 4.5 million acres of public land to hunt. And you’ll be competing with only 300,000 deer hunters.

7. Wisconsin

Coming to Wisconsin, I can’t fail to mention that it ranked position 1 in the Boone and Crockett trophy whitetail entries. This state is such a revered producer of giant bucks. 

hunting at winscosin

With over 1.8 million Whitetail deer and 6 million acres of public land available for hunting, you have all the reasons to visit this state for deer hunting.  

What more, it is one of the most affordable states to hunt in for both residents and non-residents. Won’t you have a look at their non-resident hunting license costs?

TypeCost (USD)
Gun deer160.00
Gun Deer (Under 12 years)7.00
Student Gun Deer20.00 – 24.00
Military Gun Deer24.00

8. Alabama

Chris Cook of the Alabama Department of Conservation of Natural Resources suggests the Barbour Wildlife Management Area as the best public hunting area in Alabama. The Black Warrior WMA follows close behind.


And these are but only two areas in the vast state, which has a total deer population of about 1.25 million. Count on this state. It is one of the most consistent in terms of the number of deer harvested.  

9. Indiana

You can’t go wrong in this state with an estimated consistent annual harvest of more than 100,000 deer and a hunter success rate of 50%. If you are looking for trophy bucks, consider hunting in the Northern region of the state. They abound there. Otherwise, the Southern end is the most populated. 

hunting in indiana

The hunting pressure is relatively decent, not forgetting the vast public hunt land. 

10. Kentucky

The final state on our list is Kentucky. Particularly consider the Bluegrass, Green River, and Purchase Regions.  You will surely enjoy the long seasons and favorable regulations.


Authorities approximate the current deer population at slightly less than a million. It boasts one of the highest numbers of harvested deer in the entire US – 145,753 for the 2018-2019 period. Have your share of these. The hunting pressure is reasonable. 


To sum it up, it is worthwhile to know the best states for deer hunting. It is a fact that not all states are overwhelmed with deer. They particularly like areas with lots of food to sustain them and favorable weather. Go look for the deer where they are. Do not wait for them to come where you are. 

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