Deer Hunting Season: Ranking Top Spots in the U.S. for Big Bucks

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2011

STEAMBOAT - SEPTEMBER 22:  Nordic combined skier Johnny Spillane scouts for elk near Buffalo Pass on September 22, 2005 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Spillane also lives in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

While deer hunting isn’t as accepted in the mainstream today as it was in the past, the culture of hunting and hunters is still very much alive and thriving in the United States.

Hunting white-tailed deer is usually a tradition in families in rural areas. But many hunters come from generations of hunters, and no matter where they make residence they will find a spot to hunt.

As a hunter myself, there is no sensation like the thrill of the chase and the adrenaline rush of getting that big buck, and these following states are the best for getting big bucks.

1. Iowa

While the number of deer in Iowa isn’t nearly as abundant as the other states on this list, Iowa will produce deer far bigger than anything you will find anywhere else in the USA.

Whether it’s the abundance of farmland and consistent food sources for the deer, the estimated 200,000 deer in the state will be some of the biggest bucks taken each season.

Iowa has taken the initiative several other states have taken in that they are controlling and limiting the number and size of the deer a hunter can take to ensure the population stays strong but controlled.

Overpopulation of deer in a state predicated on farming would cause problems for the farmers and the deer.

Great Link: Iowa’s Record Bucks

2. Ohio

While it was hard to put one state above or below the next, Ohio was as close to being No. 1 as any state on this list besides Iowa.

Ohio is one of the best places in the entire nation to hunt bucks, and the sizes of the bucks taken from this state are rivaled by few others. Monster buck after monster buck gets pulled from these woods, and if you have a chance to go on a hunt in Ohio, take the chance.

Not only does Ohio boast the second biggest non-typical buck ever recorded, the state has the right terrain, habitat, crops and genetics that consistently produce big bucks. You won't regret this experience.

Great Link: Guide to Hunting Ohio

3. Texas

The wide open spaces of Texas have been known for many animals, but for white-tailed deer hunters Texas is a hunting Mecca. While I don’t agree with hunting deer at confined ranches with guaranteed kills, Texas is the capital of these phenomena.

With over 2 million acres of huntable land (both private and public) across the state of Texas, there is plenty of room for deer to grow and develop into the kind of trophy bucks hunters are looking for.

With over 2,600 deer taken last season on record, the plethora of deer in the state allows for a consistent revival of the population year after year and a consistent quality of the hunt.

Great Link: Photos from One of the Hundreds of Hunting Ranches in Texas

4. Kentucky

Kentucky is one of the must-go places on this list because of the beautiful scenery and the even more beautiful abundance of big bucks.

The Bluegrass State boasts 1,602,978 acres of state game lands or 6.3 percent of the land in the state that can be used for hunting. That makes for plenty of room for deer to grow during the year, and the possibility of finding the big one isn’t too far-fetched.

Daniel Thomas of eHow is reporting about the kind of yield Kentucky has come to expect:

[Kentucky] ranks in the top five nationwide for whitetail deer production and falls at number two in the harvest of "specialty" types of bucks, the Boone and Crockett bucks, per square mile.

Not only is there an abundance of deer and land to hunt on, Kentucky has friendly people  known to offer trips and hunting excursions to outsiders looking to hunt.

Great Link: The Best Counties in Kentucky for Deer Hunting

5. Pennsylvania

While Pennsylvania has been known for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the truth of the matter is that some of the biggest bucks taken each year come from the mountains of Pennsylvania.

As a Pennsylvania resident and an avid hunter, there is no place in the United States I would rather hunt than my state and seeing the deer plucked from the woods each year keeps me coming back.

The biggest buck taken in the history of the state was in Bradford County, which is conveniently where my cabin is located, and the area around northern Pennsylvania is a hotbed of huge bucks with over a million acres of state-commissioned hunting land.

Great Link: Pennsylvania Game Commission