20 Best DIY Whitetail States for 2014

20 Best DIY Whitetail States for 2014

No matter where you hunt, killing a big, mature buck is no cake walk.

In some states, however, the opportunities are next to nonexistent. For that reason, hardcore whitetail hunters pack their bags in the fall and travel to new locales in search of greener pastures.

If you're one of those hunters who dream of chasing whitetails away from home, you should absolutely go for it. A big part of the planning process is choosing the right state to hunt. And while there are plenty of great destinations for DIY whitetail hunters, the opportunities in some states are definitely more plentiful, affordable and realistic.

To better understand how each whitetail state stacks up for the DIY hunter, we considered a broad range of criteria relevant to the quality of an out-of-state hunt. From my own experience as a DIY hunter, I want a relatively affordable hunt with plenty of options for land access, a good opportunity to see lots of deer, low pressure from other hunters and decent odds to harvest a quality animal.

Keeping that in mind, we ranked states based on criteria like the cost and ease of acquiring a license, quantity (and quality) of public land, and hunter density. We also wanted to get a better idea of odds for success, not just by looking at sheer quantity of kills or record book bucks, but also by the ratio of kills to the number of hunters. We wanted to understand, per hunter in each state, how many deer total and record book bucks were harvested.

We looked at overall harvest, Pope & Young record book kills and Boone & Crockett bucks together as a ratio compared with how many hunters were in each state. This gave us a much better understanding of just how likely a hunter is to have success in each locale.

I'll be the first to admit that while we used as much hard data as we could to develop these rankings, this is still a largely subjective analysis. I'm sure a few of you (or a few hundred of you!) will have different opinions on how certain states rank. We welcome the debate.

Mark Kenyon runs Wired To Hunt, one of the top deer hunting resources online, featuring daily deer hunting news, stories and strategies for the whitetail addict.

Recommended for You

Land Management

No Matter the Season, Deer Orchard Work Brings Big Benefits to Whitetails

Lynn Burkhead - June 27, 2019

Sponsored By
Chestnut Hill Outdoors

Scouting Deer Bedding Areas: Locating, Creating and Observing

Bernie Barringer - June 28, 2016

Many people have the mistaken notion that mature bucks have one area where they spend their...


Real-Time Intel: Moultrie Mobile

Gordon Whittington - July 22, 2019

Who says you can't be in two places at once?

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Fundamentals of the Bow Selection

On this edition of "On Target," Pat Hogan highlights the importance of applying the fundamentals of the draw cycle when it comes to the bow you select.

Deer Factory: Northern Climate Warm-Season Food Plots

Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss warm-season food plots on this deer factory in Minnesota.

North American Whitetail - South of the Border

Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan head south of the border in pursuit of whitetails in old Mexico.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Early Season

3 Types of Late-Summer Bucks & How to Hunt Them

Garrett Tucker

Here's how to crack the summer code.


The Best Arrows for Deer Hunting

Tony J. Peterson - June 10, 2019

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season.

Land Management

What Do Deer Eat?

Dr. James C. Kroll - November 03, 2015

Understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets to meet changing nutritional...

See More Stories

More United States

United States

Don't Bypass Nebraska Hunting

Gordon Whittington - August 21, 2017

East and West Coasters jetting across the U.S. often refer to Nebraska a "fly-over" state....

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...

United States

Tag A Trophy Whitetail at the Tenn-Tom Waterway

Bernie Barringer - February 22, 2018

In 1972, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) completed a gigantic project creating a...

See More United States

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.