The 7 Best States to Hunt Deer
Traveling the nation putting on shoots, dinner events & attending union conferences, we get asked a lot – what states are the best for deer hunting?
While our staff has quite a bit of pride for where we hang our hats and would say that the best deer hunting is that outside our doors. We have put the bickering aside to compile our list of the best states for deer hunting around the nation based on three (3) separate criteria:
- The states with the earliest starting deer hunting seasons.
- The states with the most deer hunting bag limits.
- The states with the most affordable deer hunting licenses.
The states with the earliest starting deer hunting seasons.
Many states begin their deer hunting seasons in early-mid September with opportunities for Archers to have a jump on the big bucks. However, the friendliest states for hunters with the earliest deer hunting seasons will be well into their rifle/firearm season.
- South Carolina opens their Gun Hunts on private lands Sept. 1. They also have a longer season which ends January 1.
- Wyoming begins their General Season for deer hunting on Sept. 1 as well. Their season is slightly shorter, ending Nov. 30. Opening day also varies by region in the state, so make sure to check with your guides or local game offices before planning a hunt.
- Florida hunters begin their firearm deer season on Sept. 18. Florida boasts one of the earliest starts in the nation for Archers – with their bow season beginning on July 31!
The states with the most deer hunting bag limits.
Buck bag limits is a topic that is always changing state to state as bag limits (or tags available to each hunter) continue to remain the same or even decrease. No state has increased bag limits in recent years according to the National Deer Association (NDA) – in fact, many states have drastically reduced the number of tags allocated each year for bucks. Since 2017 states like Connecticut, New Jersey & South Dakota who used to have larger tag limits (upwards of 5+ per season) now have limits as low as one antlered deer/season.
So, what states have the friendliest bag limits?
- Florida has a limit of 5 deer per season – of which, no more than two (2), can be antlerless.
- South Carolina Residents are allowed to bag 5 antlered deer per season. Non-residents have the chance to bag 4 through the season.
- Connecticut Bow Hunters are allowed to take 4 deer total, 2 of which can be antlered.
The states with the most affordable deer hunting licenses.
Looking to go out of state for your deer season? When it comes to hunting as a non-resident – the mid-west dominates with the most affordable deer hunting licenses in the country:
- Indiana welcomes hunters with a very affordable non-resident deer license cost of $150
- Grab a deer license in Wisconsin for $160 – just $10 more, and… we hear they have better cheese curds.
- Michigan hosts world class fishing on their Great Lakes, but they also have some of the most affordable deer hunting licenses in the nation. For just $171 you can get a tag for yourself.
There it is, the definitive list of the best places to hunt nationwide. But y’all know just as well as we do that the best hunting is usually right in your ‘back yard.’
So get out, stay safe, and enjoy yourselves this season.