Deer are some of the most abundant animals in the United States. In fact, there are deer found in every state. In Alaska, however, the only deer species is moose. We’ll focus on white-tailed deer here, as that’s the cervid species most deer hunters target. Keep reading to learn about the worst deer hunting states.
The states with the worst deer hunting are Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Let’s find out why these states are poor deer hunting locations. We’ll then discuss some of the best deer hunting destinations in the United States.
The Worst States for Deer Hunting
There are a variety of factors that we considered when determining the worst deer hunting states.
While some of these states have strong deer populations, there are other factors that make them a waste of time for deer hunters.
Here’s our list of the eight worst states for hunting deer. Keep scrolling afterward to find out the reasons they’re not worth a visit for deer hunters.
The Eight Worst Deer Hunting States
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
And here’s why these 8 states rank as the worst for hunting deer:
Yes, there are a few viable hunting lands in Florida. However, this state certainly isn’t one you would head to for deer hunting.
For one thing, the terrain can be challenging. Remember, a lot of the natural space here is swampy.
And Florida swamps are known for their alligators and snakes.
Like Florida, Louisiana has plenty of swampy land that can make deer hunting difficult and even treacherous. Deer hunters with permission to hunt on private property in Louisiana may have a good hunting trip, but you should avoid this state otherwise.
New Jersey is known for having low numbers of harvested deer. In other words, don’t waste your time trying to hunt in this state.
While New Jersey does have a decent annual harvest of yearling bucks, overall, it’s a state to avoid.
Vermont doesn’t tend to have many large bucks. Northern Vermont especially isn’t a good place to hunt deer.
If you’re determined to hunt in Vermont, stick with the southern region of this state.
While New Hampshire has strong deer populations, hunting here isn’t practical. Deer can be quite difficult to locate, partly because of how plentiful their food supplies are.
Deer love acorns, and this food source tends to be everywhere in the fall. This means they don’t usually have to leave their safe bedding areas to get all the food they need.
Massachusetts is too small a state to be a viable deer hunting destination. Hunters seldom have much success here.
Massachusetts also has a labyrinth of regulations that make trying to hunt here more trouble than it’s worth for most hunters.
The small size of Rhode Island is a major reason why hunting here is impractical. There are very few areas of the state that are suitable and safe for hunting.
If you want to hunt in Rhode Island, you will have to do your research and be willing to find places where hunting is possible.
While there are certainly deer populations in Connecticut, this is a small state. And it has an extremely dense population, so it can be tricky to find appropriate hunting spaces.
Excellent Deer Hunting Destinations in the United States
Now we know the worst deer hunting states, let’s discover outstanding deer hunting destinations in the United States.
Here’s our list of the five best states for white-tailed deer hunting:
While there are other excellent deer hunting destinations (you may want to review our list of states with the biggest deer), here’s why the five states we listed here stand out:
Ohio is famous for its enormous bucks (male deer). Many of this state’s characteristics, including its habitats and terrain, are ideal for deer to thrive and grow.
Experts also believe that Ohio deer populations have genetics that facilitate larger sizes.
Iowa is another well-known deer hunting destination. This state boasts an impressive number of enormous deer in proportion to its relatively small deer population overall.
It seems that the abundance of food consistently available in this state contributes to deer’s ability to grow large. Every hunting season, many of the largest deer taken will always come from Iowa.
If you want the chance to take a prize-winning buck, Iowa is definitely a hunting destination you won’t want to miss.
Kentucky boasts a higher than average number of large bucks. Additionally, its state game lands stretch over more than one million acres.
Hunting is a popular activity in Kentucky, meaning it’s easy to find hunting guides and the chance to take part in group excursions. This is invaluable if you’ve never hunted before in this state.
Are you interested in hunting on a deer hunting ranch? If so, Texas has plenty of them.
And even if you don’t want to hunt in that kind of setting, you can find plenty of deer in this state.
Land appropriate for hunting stretches over two million acres in Texas.
Pennsylvania’s mountainous areas are known for producing large bucks.
Should You Travel to Hunt?
Now you know which states are good for deer hunting and which you should avoid, maybe you’re wondering whether you should plan a hunting trip.
Perhaps you’re an experienced hunter but you have stuck with hunting in your own region or state. Is it worth your while to go to a different state to hunt for deer?
Of course, if you plan to travel to another state for a hunting trip, you must acquaint yourself with the hunting laws and regulations in that region.
Many hunters going for out-of-state hunting trips prefer to go to a state that is close to them. This is especially advisable if this is your first time hunting in a different state.
Things to Consider Before Traveling to Hunt Deer
Delve deep into the hunting rules and regulations of the state where you will be hunting. Print out all the information you find online and go through it more than once.
Hunting rules and regulations can vary quite a bit from state to state. It may take a significant amount of time for you to figure it all out and feel comfortable.
You should also take a look at your destination state’s deer harvest reports. The information you’ll access in these reports will give you a much better idea of the specific areas of the state where you are most likely to have success.
Make sure to carefully plan out your trip. If you are going on a hunting expedition with other people, talk it through with them and ensure they have access to all the same information.
Share your research on the state’s hunting rules and regulations.
Also, plan for how you will transport back the deer meat, keeping it fresh. This can be difficult, so don’t underestimate the task.
When it comes to scouting, Google Earth can be an invaluable tool. This will help you get a much better idea of the terrain and what is happening on the ground in the area where you want to hunt.
In some cases, it may even indicate where deer have been spotted in previous years.
Final Thoughts On the Worst Deer Hunting States
Knowledge is power when you’re planning a hunting trip to another state. Don’t go to all the trouble of planning an expedition without doing your research first.
After all, a lot of planning goes into these trips. You don’t want to end up disappointed.
Avoid the states we’ve listed as the worst for deer hunting, and focus on our list of good deer hunting states instead.