Whitetail deer are the most common species of deer in North America. In fact, they are the most common species of wild ungulate found on the continent! Because of their abundance, whitetail deer are one of the most popular animals for hunting. They can be found in almost all of the 50 states. Let’s learn about whitetail deer population by state.
However, the distribution of whitetail deer is not even. Some states have much larger populations than others. We’ll learn that and more in this article, including:
- Which state has the most whitetail deer?
- Are there whitetail deer in all 50 states?
- Which state has the biggest deer?
- Best whitetail deer hunting states
- Whitetail deer population history in the United States
Which State has the Most Whitetail Deer?
Without a doubt, Texas is the state with the largest whitetail deer population. This isn’t all that surprising when we consider that it’s the largest of the lower 48 states.
In other words, there’s a lot more room for deer in Texas. The climate is also ideal for this species.
Within Texas, the area we call Hill Country is the most densely populated with whitetail deer. This is a popular spot for hunting and tourism.
Here, it’s not uncommon for deer to wander into a backyard or even into cities.
Other states with significant deer populations are Michigan, Alabama, and Mississippi.
The estimated whitetail deer population in the United States is 35 million. To help you out, we’ve created a table with the highest populations by state.
Keep in mind that population measurement is not an exact science. The number of deer in a state can change from year to year.
It should also be noted that deer kept in captivity (for example, in zoos and on farms) aren’t included in these numbers.
|State||Whitetail Deer Population|
|Michigan||1.7 – 2 million|
Are There Whitetail Deer in all 50 States?
No, there aren’t whitetail deer in all 50 states.
Whitetail deer aren’t native to Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico.
There are no species of deer that are native to Hawaii. Deer have become an invasive species there because humans have introduced them there, creating disruption to the natural environment.
Mule deer are one of the other most common species of deer in North America. That species lives mostly in the western part of North America.
The Rocky Mountains and continental divide serve as a natural barrier for many animal species. Whitetail deer live mostly on the eastern side of the continental divide.
Canada and Mexico also have whitetail deer.
Which State has the Biggest Whitetail Deer?
In terms of population, Texas has more whitetails than any other state. Thus, it’s not surprising that many hunting records come from Texas,
But when it comes to the state known for the biggest whitetail bucks, Wisconsin comes out on top.
The state with the biggest deer trophies will change from year to year. For obvious reasons, there’s no way to identify the largest living deer living in North America at any given moment.
Deer size will vary by population. For example, if there is an area with a lot of large bucks, the deer in that area will probably gradually become larger than other deer populations.
When hunters score a deer, they usually measure its size by its antlers. Generally speaking, a larger buck will have bigger antlers, so this isn’t always the case.
A deer could have smaller antlers but be taller or heavier.
Hunters usually use the antlers to evaluate a buck’s size. But this can be a bit misleading about the actual weight and size of a deer.
The deer’s weight will also decrease after the deer has been shot. This makes it difficult to figure out what the largest deer is.
Best Whitetail Deer Hunting States
You might think that Texas would be the best location for hunting since it has the largest number of whitetails.
That’s not necessarily the case. Hunting regulations vary from state to state, and some states have more competition than others.
A lot of hunting in Texas takes place on private land. This can make it harder for amateur hunters who don’t have connections.
And hunting is very popular in Texas, so there’s a lot of competition.
Wisconsin is the place to go if you want to find a prize-winning whitetail buck. But there will be competition there, too.
After all, that state usually has more bucks shot in any given season than any other state.
Other popular states for hunting whitetail deer are Kentucky, Alabaman, and Georgia. If you’re looking for something different, Canada and Mexico have great hunting areas.
Keep in mind that each state has different rules regarding hunting. It’s important to be familiar with these.
Failing to follow hunting laws will get you in trouble. It can also interfere with the natural deer population levels.
Whitetail Deer Population History in the US
There were about 500,000 whitetail deer in the United States about one hundred years ago. That’s nothing compared to the population of 35 million today!
This is a bit surprising considering how popular hunting has become.
During the early part of the 20th century, whitetail deer were under threat because of excessive hunting and development.
Wildlife protection plans were put into place. The population rebound is considered a success of wildlife conservation programs.
Whitetail deer have probably been in North America for a very long time. There are whitetail deer to be found in Europe, but not in the numbers that they exist here.
It’s impossible to say how many whitetail deer were in the United States before the arrival of Europeans or even before 1900. Population records from before 1900 are unreliable and difficult to find.
Increased deer populations are good for hunters, but in certain areas they can become a public concern.
Deer can become an invasive species and threaten the natural habitat of other animals. They can also be dangerous for drivers.
Final Thoughts On Whitetail Deer Population by State
Whitetail deer are the most commonly found species of deer in North America. They are predominantly found east of the Rocky Mountains.
Mule deer are the most common cervid species living west of the Rocky Mountains.
Other deer species in North America are moose and elk. There are also many species of deer that can only be found in specific states.
Texas is the state with the highest whitetail deer population. However, it is difficult to accurately measure the population of deer.
Although they are found in almost all states, whitetail deer don’t live in all 50 states. Whitetails are one of the most popular species for hunting.
And if you happen to come across a deer in the United States, the chances are pretty high that it’s a whitetail.