The Best Hunting States in the US

Traveling around the country in pursuit of a good game is one thing every hunter wants to do.

There’s no doubting the fact that some states are just better for hunting than others. The best states not only have a better game to hunt, but they also offer larger public land open to hunters.

However, not all of us can explore all the states and gauge which states are the best for ourselves.

To help you plan your next hunting trip with ease, here’s my list of the best hunting states in the US.

Best Hunting States

#1 South Dakota

South Dakota is the number one state to visit if you’re looking to go on a hunting adventure for a variety of reasons.

The first of which is the sheer volume of the game available to hunt. Some estimates report that over a million birds are hunted in the state annually.

The state also allows hunters to hunt deer, which is always exciting. However, getting a hunter’s license in the state can be difficult if you prefer using a firearm.

If you hunt with a bow, though, getting your hands on the license will be much easier.

#2 Wyoming

Wyoming has a very active hunting community, which is evident by the percentage of gun owners. Over 53% of the state’s population owns a gun. 

But for some reason, the state doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. 

If you live close to Wyoming, visiting to hunt mule deer is an excellent idea. However, if deer hunting isn’t your thing, the high elk population makes taking a trip to Wyoming worth it.

#3 Montana

If you were to use the public hunting area available per state as your measuring stick, Montana would rank among the top.

That state’s massive hunting community also serves as an advantage – you’re bound to make some friends there.

Plus, Montana’s lush grounds offer a large variety of game to hunt. If small game hunting is what you’re into, you’ll find a lot of turkeys here.

There’s a lot more big game in the area – you’ll find black bears, mountain lions, bison, and even antelopes. 

#4 North Dakota

North Dakota is also very underrated – it’s one of the best states you could hunt deer in.

About a fifth of the population of the state has a hunter’s license. While the state doesn’t have the most active hunting communities, it’s undoubtedly sizeable enough to make some friends.

However, you will likely need to learn to hunt with a bow (if you don’t know how to) if you want to hunt in North Dakota.

You could use a piece, but bows are the tool of choice in the state.

#5 Alaska

Besides the ice, the other thing Alaska is known for is hunting.

A decent chunk of the state’s population has a hunting license, and every year, more and more hunters visit the state. Alaska’s finally getting the recognition it deserves among the country’s hunters.

Hunters love to visit the state because of the abundance of game to go after.

Deer, moose, bears, and elks are known to wander the state – but you can also hunt bison, sheep, wolf, goats, and various other animals there.

With such a wide array of game available to hunt, most hunters don’t even bother about the deer. It’s undoubtedly one of the best hunting states to visit for big game.

#6 Idaho

Idaho is a lot like Alaska, but it’s smaller and doesn’t have bad weather. The pleasant climate and the lush spread make it one of the best spots to hunt in the country.

The state has a relatively small hunting community; however, the big game in the area makes it one of the country’s most serious hunting communities.

You can find a variety of big game in the state, including mountain lions and black bears. However, if you want to hunt deer, moose, or goat, there’s no scarcity of those, too.

Hunters from around the country travel to Idaho because it’s one of the only three states that allow hunting wolves.

What cements the state’s reputation as the hunter’s paradise is the over-abundance of elk. 

You’ll also find small game like pheasant and quail in the area – there’s a lot to hunt in Idaho, and it’s one state I think every hunter must visit at least once.

#7 Wisconsin

If you live in America’s central region and have never visited the Great Lakes before, you have one more reason to visit Wisconsin.

The primary purpose of your visit being to scout and hunt down one of the humungous deer that thrive in the area. The state is a deer-hunting haven.

While Wisconsin is mainly known for its dairy, you may be surprised to find that it’s also an excellent spot for bird hunting.

The overabundance of Turkey in the area is what attracts hunters from many nearby states to Wisconsin.

#8 Maine

Maine is another state you could visit if you’re looking for big game to hunt. Finding deer, moose, and bear in the area shouldn’t take much effort.

The state has a 16-week long bear-hunting season for good reason. The state has an over-abundance of them.

However, if you’re looking to hunt deer, Maine may not be the right state to visit. The deer hunting regulations in the state are super strict, and visiting this next state will be a better option:

#9 West Virginia

The state of West Virginia offers just the right conditions for deer to thrive in. The regulations are a lot less strict when compared to Maine.

If you live in a nearby state, you can also visit West Virginia if you want to hunt black bears and grouse.

#10 Vermont

While it isn’t a big state, it has one of the highest concentrations of buck per square mile in the country.

The regulations are mildly strict, but you’ll be able to find and hunt down a buck with relative ease.

You’ll also find black bears and moose in the state.

This is me, Steve Coffman. I'm the Chief Editor of IGFA. I'm retired military personnel who is now into shooting and hunting. As an outdoor expert, I have experience in dealing with all kinds of guns, from light to heavy firearms. Currently, I'm spending my time hunting, shooting and writing on my blog.