20 Best Whitetail States for 2015

20 Best Whitetail States for 2015

Ranging from Maine to Mexico and from the Northern Tier to the Deep South, whitetail deer are America's most widespread and abundant big-game animal. But that doesn't mean that all deer country was created equal, and for years hunters have debated which states were the best bets for big bucks.

Some statistics, like record-book entries, acres of public hunting ground and hunting permit prices are straightforward and easy to access. These statistics alone don't necessarily paint an accurate picture of a state's potential as a deer producer. Some states, particularly western states, offer access to millions and millions of acres of public hunting ground. However, much of it is devoid of whitetail deer.




Some criteria, like genetics and the potential to produce record-book bucks, remain relatively constant from season to season.

Other variables, like weather and disease, can dramatically change a state's position from one calendar year to the next. Outbreaks of EHD and CWD can reduce herd sizes, and the 2015 wildfire season was particularly bad in the Pacific Northwest.


So, what are the factors when selecting the "best" whitetail states for 2015? Primarily, cost to hunt, access to land, and trophy potential play into the final rankings. Each of those three categories was evaluated and states were given scores from 0-30 points based on a number of factors.


Scores for the "access to land" category were based on the amount of public land, the number of licenses sold and the approximate public land acreage per hunter. This coupled with each state's score in the "cost to hunt" and "trophy potential" categories gave a total of 90 possible points. States could earn up to an additional 10 "big buck points", as told through the records from Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett.

How does your state rank? Check out the final tally here to see how your home turf fared in our 2015 selection of the best whitetail states.

15. Alabama

Breaking into the top 20 whitetail states for 2015 is Alabama, which offers plenty of public land and affordable hunting.

Residents have to pay $26.20 for a license, but a yearlong hunting license with deer tag costs non-residents $301.35. However, Alabama has affordable lease rates and guided hunts, especially in the Black Belt region along the northern portion of the state. Alabama has a lot of licensed hunters, but also offers 1,060,000 acres of public land.

Though it'™s not well known for producing massive bucks, Alabama has one entry in the Boone & Crockett top 50. Deer management practices are improving, but the state is not as likely to produce a book buck as others on this list.

License Costs: Residents: $26.20, Non-Residents $301.35
Lease Rates: Low
Deer Population: 1,800,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 1,060,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 2.0
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 29
Access to Land (Out of 30): 19
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 18
Big Buck Bonus: 1
Total: 67/100

12. Arkansas

Over the past few decades, the Land of Opportunity has become just that — a great place to take a deer or two (or six, as some licenses allow).

Arkansas has long been known for low-cost, high return deer hunting, but as of late the state has garnered national attention for producing outstanding bucks. A non-resident 'œAll Game' hunting license will cost you $350, but includes six deer tags. There'™s also a non-resident one day tag that allows the hunter to harvest one deer for just $55, which is less than some states charge residents!

Additionally, you can hunt on over three million acres of public land — the kind of figure you'™d expect from much larger western states. That gives Arkansas a respectable figure of 8.3 acres per licensed hunter.

Though it doesn'™t produce top-end bucks with the regularity of some other states, Arkansas needs to be on the top of your list as a deer-hunting destination.

License Costs: Residents: $25, Non-Residents $55-$350
Lease Rates: Low
Deer Population: 1,100,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 3,230,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 8.3
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 29
Access to Land (Out of 30): 22
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 15
Big Buck Bonus: 2
Total: 68/100

18. Colorado

Colorado is normally associated with elk, pronghorn and mule deer, but the state is also home to some of the very best whitetail hunting in the west. The state'™s eastern prairies produce really big deer without the panache or crowds that you'™ll find in neighboring states.

One category in which Colorado stands out is access to public land. With a little over 81 acres of public hunting per licensed hunter, there'™s lots of space in the Centennial State. The bulk of that land, however, is in the western portion of the state, and much of eastern Colorado is private.

It'™s also a relatively expensive state to hunt, with non-resident tags costing $364 while residents will pay $34. Lease prices in the eastern portion of the state are still fairly affordable, though.

Colorado'™s deer population is low at 25,000 and that number is holding steady. Colorado wasn'™t hit by the same wildfires that burned so much land in the Pacific Northwest this year, either.

License Costs: Residents: $34, Non-Residents $364
Lease Rates: Average
Deer Population: 25,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 23 million
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 81
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 18
Access to Land (Out of 30): 28
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 15
Big Buck Bonus: 2
Total: 63/100

20. Georgia

Georgia ranks in the top 20 whitetail states thanks to a large population of deer and ample public hunting opportunities. With just over 360,000 licensed hunters and more than a million acres of land open to public hunting, Georgia provides plenty of opportunities to connect with a buck.

Lease rates are affordable, but Georgia typically doesn'™t produce the giant bucks you'™ll find in the Midwest. There are more and more Georgia deer entering the record books, though, thanks to sound management practices. Still, the state hasn'™t produced any bucks in either the Pope & Young or Boone & Crockett top ten.

License fees are affordable. Residents can get a license and tag for $19 while non-residents pay $195, making the Peach State a cost-effective destination for hunters. Though it may not have the reputation for producing huge bucks that other states enjoy, Georgia is certainly one of the best options for deer hunters.

License Costs: Residents: $19, Non-Residents $295
Lease Rates: Average
Deer Population: 1,200,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 1,220,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 3.3
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 26
Access to Land (Out of 30): 19
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 15
Big Buck Bonus: 1
Total: 61/100

6. Illinois

In terms of the number of record book deer harvested annually, Illinois is at the top of the list. Twelve of the top 50 Boone & Crockett bucks came from Illinois, and it'™s one of just three states with top ten deer in both Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett.

Big deer usually don'™t come cheap, and Illinois is one of the most expensive states for non-residents. Out-of-state hunters will have to fork over $474.25 for a tag, and lease prices, guided hunts and acreage are also among the most expensive. However, Illinois has 698,000 acres of public hunting land, which equates to 2.17 acres for every licensed hunter.

Despite the higher costs to hunt here, the potential to land a real monster will keep hunters coming back, and that'™s what placed it just ahead of Kentucky.

License Costs: Residents: $38.50, Non-Residents $474.25
Lease Rates: High
Deer Population: 850,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 698,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 2.17
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 3
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 3
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 14
Access to Land (Out of 30): 18
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 30
Big Buck Bonus: 10
Total: 72/100

17. Iowa

Iowa tags are doled out on a draw basis and lease and guided hunts are very expensive in the Hawkeye State.

If you'™re a non-resident, you can expect to pay $423 for a tag (plus $112 for an Iowa hunting license and $13 for a non-resident habitat fee, bring the total to a whopping $551), which is one of the highest rates in the country. Things aren'™t so bad if you live in state, since residents pay $47.50 for their license and tag.

Much of Iowa'™s best deer hunting is on private ground. With over 200,000 licensed hunters and 266,000 acres of public land, you can expect big crowds.

But if you manage to draw a tag, there'™s always a chance you'™re going to kill a huge buck here. Ten of the top 50 typical and non-typical bucks in the Boone & Crockett Record book hail from Iowa.

License Costs: Residents: $47.50, Non-Residents $423
Lease Rates: High
Deer Population: 400,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 266,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 1.17
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 3
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 2
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 14
Access to Land (Out of 30): 14
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 27
Big Buck Bonus: 10
Total: 65/100

8. Kansas

By now, most every hunter knows that Kansas is a prime place to find big whitetails. However, all the best deer leases are either under contract or priced accordingly, so there are very few steals in the Jayhawk state.

That'™s not taking away from the state'™s record-book potential, though, as hunters in Kansas are just about as likely to kill a top ten buck as anyone else in the country. Like Iowa, Kansas has a draw and charges a pretty stiff fee for non-residents.

The state has a healthy deer population of about 650,000, and there are roughly 420,000 acres of public land available for hunting. That equates to 1.85 licensed hunters per acre of public ground, so most of the hunting in Kansas is on private land.

If you can get your hands on a Kansas tag and find a good place to hunt, you might make history. Kansas has produced almost a third of the top 10 non-typical bucks in the Pope & Young record book.

License Costs: Residents: $53, Non-Residents $364.96
Lease Rates: High
Deer Population: 650,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 420,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 1.85
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 3
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 16
Access to Land (Out of 30): 15
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 27
Big Buck Bonus: 10
Total: 70/100

7. Kentucky

The Bluegrass State is best known for bourbon and fast horses, but it'™s also gaining a reputation as one of the very best places to find a heavy-horned whitetail buck. Since Robert Smith dropped the number five all-time Boone & Crockett whitetail in Pendleton County in 2000, hunters nationwide have been keeping an eye on Kentucky.

Although it'™s not as well-known for producing big bucks as neighboring states like Missouri and Ohio, Kentucky offers really good genetics, affordable hunting and lots of access to public land. With a deer herd that'™s estimated at 900,000 and over 800,000 acres of public land, Kentucky is a prime destination for non-resident hunters.

Out-of-state hunters pay $260, making Kentucky an affordable option, and lease rates remain lower here than in spotlight states like Illinois. Unlike Ohio, Kentucky'™s rifle season coincides with the rut, meaning a lot of young bucks don'™t reach full potential. Despite this, the state still has three deer in the top 50 in Boone & Crockett.

License Costs: Residents: $50, Non-Residents $260
Lease Rates: Low
Deer Population: 900,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 804,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 2.44
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 22
Access to Land (Out of 30): 19
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 24
Big Buck Bonus: 7
Total: 72/100

1. Minnesota

We'™ve arrived at our top destination for whitetails in 2015 — Minnesota. Several states did well in various categories, but Minnesota took the crown by offering affordable hunting and lots of public land that is home to the kind of bucks that can make you instantly famous.

From the farmlands of the southern and western part of the state to the massive boreal forests in the north, Minnesota is home to a wide variety of whitetail habitats. With 580,000 hunters spread across more than 8 million acres of open hunting ground, chances are good that you can find a huge buck.

Minnesota bucks occupy top ten positions in both the Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett, and there are bucks with record book genetics that die every year of old age in the deepest corners of the Superior National Forest.

Non-resident licenses cost just $165, and property is available for lease or purchase at modest prices. Tags are sold over-the-counter and if you'™d like to book a week long guided hunt, that'™s also an affordable option here. Good bucks with easy access at a good price — that'™s what helped Minnesota grab the top spot in our 2015 state roundup.

License Costs: Residents: $30, Non-Residents $165
Lease Rates: Low/Medium
Deer Population: 1,000,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 8,200,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 14.14
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 2
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 22
Access to Land (Out of 30): 25
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 26
Big Buck Bonus: 7
Total: 80/100

5. Mississippi

Surprised to see Mississippi this high on the list? When you consider that the Magnolia State offers 1.27 million acres of public hunting land and some of the lowest lease rates in the country, you can understand why Mississippi is a growing star in the world of whitetail hunting.

All four states ranked ahead of it have far more record book entries, but Mississippi offers affordable hunting and lots of public land. Don'™t be fooled, though, into thinking that Mississippi doesn'™t produce big bucks. The number seven Boone & Crockett non-typical of all time was taken there in 1995, and the state continues to produce big bucks every single year.

Non-resident license costs are a little high. A full season non-resident license with a deer tag will cost you $311.58, but there are week-long hunting license options as low as $136.58.

License Costs: Residents: $34.29, Non-Residents $136.58-$311.58
Lease Rates: Low
Deer Population: 1,800,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 1,270,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 5.77
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 30
Access to Land (Out of 30): 22
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 20
Big Buck Bonus: 2
Total: 74/100

2. Missouri

Missouri'™s impressive track record is laid out in black and white on the pages of the record books. The state has produced seven of the top 50 typical and non-typical deer, and there is a Show Me State buck in the top ten in both the Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett record books.

In short, there are a lot of big deer in Missouri. The state is home to 1.3 million deer, and 487,000 licensed hunters have access to more than 2.5 million acres of public land. That equates to a ratio of 5.13 acres per hunter.

Unlike some other states, virtually the entire width and breadth of Missouri has the potential to produce good deer. Lease rates certainly aren'™t cheap, but nor are they astronomical. In fact, with non-resident licenses available for $225, this is actually one of the more affordable states to hunt if you aren'™t leasing ground or booking with a guide.

License Costs: Residents: $19, Non-Residents $225
Lease Rates: Medium/High
Deer Population: 1,300,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 2,500,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 5.13
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 2
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 2
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 23
Access to Land (Out of 30): 23
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 26
Big Buck Bonus: 8
Total: 80/100

14. Nebraska

Nebraska is a perennial top-20 state thanks to low hunter densities and the potential for really big bucks. Even though it isn'™t mentioned as often as Iowa or Ohio for producing big whitetails, Nebraska holds four of the top 50 typical and non-typical spots in the Boone & Crockett record book.

Not only is there potential to bag a big buck in Nebraska, but also there'™s ample public land. Though its 699,000 acres of public land open to hunting is less than you'™ll find in neighboring states like Colorado, there are also just 178,000 licensed hunters.

License costs are moderate, with non-resident tags under $300. Lease and purchase prices on the best hunting land are pretty steep, though, thanks to the state'™s solid reputation for producing large bucks.

License Costs: Residents: $44, Non-Residents $290
Lease Rates: Medium/High
Deer Population: 375,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 699,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 3.93
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 19
Access to Land (Out of 30): 19
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 23
Big Buck Bonus: 6
Total: 67/100

13. North Dakota

North Dakota might provide hunters with the best opportunity to take a really big buck at an affordable price.

Non-resident licenses are just $272 and some of the cheapest you'™ll find anywhere. Although the state hasn'™t produced any top-of-the-book-bucks, there'™s always the possibility that you'™ll cross paths with a large whitetail in the Peace Garden State.

With just under two million acres of public hunting and 156,000 licensed hunters, there'™s plenty of space for everyone. Leasing ground is affordable, and guided hunts don'™t cost nearly as much as they do in some Midwest states.

Tough winters and diseases like EHD have hit North Dakota whitetails hard, so the state'™s deer population is more variable than in other parts of the country. For this reason, you need to do your homework. Contact state wildlife biologists and ask outfitters tough questions before you put your money down. Still, North Dakota is one of the best bets for big bucks.

License Costs: Residents: $51, Non-Residents $272
Lease Rates: Low
Deer Population: 90,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 1,980,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 12.70
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 25
Access to Land (Out of 30): 24
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 15
Big Buck Bonus: 4
Total: 68/100

4. Ohio

The Buckeye State is home to some very impressive bucks, and few places in the country consistently produce larger deer than Ohio. With six bucks in the top ten in Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young, it'™s easy to see that Ohio has the genetics to produce incredible bucks. More telling, perhaps, is the fact that three of those deer were harvested in the last decade.

The toughest part about hunting in Ohio is finding a spot, since lease prices and guided hunts are so expensive. Even though Ohio has 651,000 acres of public hunting, there is a lot of competition. The days of kindly knocking on a farmer'™s door and gaining permission are largely over.

On the bright side, non-resident license fees are some of the least expensive in the country, especially given the trophy potential in this state.

License Costs: Residents: $43, Non-Residents $149
Lease Rates: High
Deer Population: 800,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 651,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 1.60
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 3
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 3
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 20
Access to Land (Out of 30): 17
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 28
Big Buck Bonus: 10
Total: 75/100

19. Oklahoma

Oklahoma may not produce bucks like those found in Kansas or Iowa, but record book entries from the Sooner State are on the rise and the future looks very bright.

The state offers just under a million acres of public land, and much of which has the potential to produce really good whitetail bucks. Non-resident deer licenses will cost you $280 and residents pay $45, which makes this a relatively affordable state to hunt.

Leased land and guided hunts are priced well below neighboring states like Texas and Kansas, so Oklahoma remains an affordable option that retains the potential to produce big deer.

With 2.45 acres of public land per licensed hunter, you can expect there to be crowds and should consider leasing. Your money will go farther here than in other states. With proper management practices, Sooner bucks have the potential to become Booner bucks.

License Costs: Residents: $45, Non-Residents $280
Lease Rates: Low
Deer Population: 500,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 932,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 2.45
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 25
Access to Land (Out of 30): 19
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 15
Big Buck Bonus: 4
Total: 63/100

16. South Dakota

The South Dakota prairie is one of the best places to hunt whitetails thanks to plenty of public land, relatively affordable tags and the potential to tag a bruiser buck.

With 2.38 million acres of public land and just over 250,000 licensed hunters annually, South Dakota offers plenty of wide open spaces. Lease rates and guided hunts are relatively affordable and non-resident tags are priced at $286.

Deer in South Dakota are subject to severe winters, but the herd seems to be stable at around 300,000. Even though this state hasn'™t produced any top ten entries, there'™s a growing list of Dakota bucks in the books.

License Costs: Residents: $40 Non-Residents: $286
Lease Rates: Average
Deer Population: 300,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 2,380,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 9.30
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 22
Access to Land (Out of 30): 25
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 15
Big Buck Bonus: 4
Total: 66/100

9. Texas

The Lone Star State has been at the forefront of many movements in whitetail hunting — it was the birthplace of deer management and was the first state where deer leases became popular. Everything is bigger in Texas, especially the whitetails.

The state is home to more than a million licensed hunters and four million deer. What may surprise you, though, is that there are just over 1.6 million acres of land in Texas that is open to hunting. You can lease land for relatively cheap, but not the kind that'™s holding big whitetails.

Free-range whitetail hunts for trophy bucks are very expensive, but cull buck hunts are affordable and many Texas culls are larger than the best bucks you'™ll find elsewhere. Texas whitetail bucks have a well-deserved reputation for immense size, so your odds of finding a giant buck are high here.

License Costs: Residents: $25, Non-Residents $315
Lease Rates: High
Deer Population: 4,000,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 1,600,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 1.54
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 2
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 16
Access to Land (Out of 30): 18
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 26
Big Buck Bonus: 10
Total: 70/100

3. Wisconsin

Wisconsin has earned a spot in our top three by offering affordable hunting and lots of public land in a region where record book bucks are killed every year.

Wisconsin has a lot of licensed hunters at more than 700,000 each year. The state is also home to 1.2 million deer and 5.17 million acres of land that'™s available for public hunting. That equates to more than 7 acres per hunter. In addition, lease rates are low and land is affordable, especially in heavily timbered areas. Even better, license fees in Wisconsin are quite low. Residents have to pay just $24, and non-residents can have a chance to hunt this big-buck mecca for $160.

In terms of record book entries, Wisconsin is right at the top. Each year some huge deer come from the Badger State, and it'™s one place you won'™t have to pay a lot for the opportunity to get your name in the record book.

License Costs: Residents: $24, Non-Residents $160
Lease Rates: Low
Deer Population: 1,200,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 5,170,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 7.34
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 22
Access to Land (Out of 30): 26
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 23
Big Buck Bonus: 8
Total: 79/100

11. Wyoming

Like Colorado, Wyoming is best-known for its western big game, making it a serious contender for the best-kept secret in whitetail hunting.

The whitetails found here are of the dacotensis subspecies, commonly known as the 'œDakota' whitetail. Wyoming whitetails share many of the same characteristics you'™ll see in bucks from the Dakotas, eastern Montana, Alberta and Saskatchewan. That translates to big antlers and in the case of Wyoming, relatively little hunting pressure compared to other areas.

The grassy plains and coulees of the eastern portion of the state are prime buck country. While license fees are reasonable, you can expect to pay a lot for guided hunts or lease property in the best whitetail areas.

There'™s a ton of public land, but just as with Colorado, much of that is in the mountainous western portion of the state. Like deer in the Dakotas and Montana, Wyoming whitetails are susceptible to harsh winters and the effects of diseases like EHD. If you do your homework there might just be a Cowboy State Booner waiting for you.

License Costs: Residents: $38, Non-Residents $312
Lease Rates: High
Deer Population: 60,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 31,400,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 219.58
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 19
Access to Land (Out of 30): 29
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 18
Big Buck Bonus: 3
Total: 69/100

10. Indiana

Indiana sits right between Ohio and Illinois, yet Indiana rarely receives the attention it deserves. With 502,000 acres of public hunting land and 274,000 licensed hunters, you can expect a ratio of 1.83 acres per hunter, which is on par with other states in the region.

Having an estimated deer population of one million animals and extremely good genetics, you might think that license fees would be very high. In reality, Indiana is one of the most affordable places to get your book buck. The state offers 'œdeer license bundles' to non-residents for $295, and that includes your license and tags for two antlerless and one antlered deer.

Lease rates are moderately priced, and if the state offered more public hunting land it would rank squarely in the top 5. The potential for a big buck at a budget price helped place Indiana ahead of Wyoming after the tie.

License Costs: Residents: $24, Non-Residents $230
Lease Rates: Medium
Deer Population: 1,000,000
Acres Public Hunting Land: 520,000
Acres Public Land/Licensed Hunter: 1.83
Pope & Young Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 0
Boone & Crockett Top 10 (Typical & Non-Typical): 1
Cost to Hunt (Out of 30): 25
Access to Land (Out of 30): 15
Trophy Potential (Out of 30): 22
Big Buck Bonus: 7
Total: 69/100

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Kentucky abounds with deer-hunting opportunities, and many would consider it a sleeper state for United States

Hunting In Kentucky Offers Plenty To DIY Archers

Bernie Barringer - November 07, 2017

Kentucky abounds with deer-hunting opportunities, and many would consider it a sleeper state...

Check out our expert's picks for the top 10 deer hunting destinations for 2018! United States

The 10 Best Deer Hunting Spots for 2018

Bob Humphrey

Check out our expert's picks for the top 10 deer hunting destinations for 2018!

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