For a state to be optimal for hunting, it must have a wide area of public land open to hunters. Moreover, a percentage of the population of the state must engage in hunting regularly. Other factors to be considered in selecting the best hunting state are the regulations, amount, and variety of games and hunting traditions.
But before we enumerate the best hunting states in the US, we must answer two frequently asked questions. First, we will discuss how much money hunting generates in the US. After which, we shall clarify whether or not it is legal to hunt wolves in the US.
In 2018, hunting contributed $36 billion to the gross domestic product of the country. That cost alone is higher than the gross domestic products of 107 other countries. Moreover, these monetary contributions also support occupations and generate tax revenues. Hunting supports approximately 525,000 jobs and generates $21.5 billion in wages and salaries. On the other hand, hunting federally generates $5.3 billion and $3.4 billion in local and state taxes.
As of the moment, it is legal to hunt wolves in Alaska only. In this state, wolf populations remain steady and do not show any signs of decline. Alaska currently has a wolf population of 7,000 to 11,000 wolves, which is the largest number in the US. These wolves freely roam the land in large numbers, so the state government never placed wolves on the endangered species list.
Hunters classify wolves as both furbearers and big game. Licensed hunters in the country are legally allowed to trap and hunt wolves in Alaska. Additionally, Alaska utilizes aerial hunting, a controversial method. The state uses this method in its programs to regulate and control wolves. The said programs involve helicopters finding and shooting the wolves tracked on the ground.
To hunt legally in the United States, you must obtain a hunting license from the state where you will be hunting. Moreover, you must comply with all of the wildlife and fish regulations and requirements of that state.
The age at which you are allowed to purchase a hunting license is different from state to state. You must take a hunter safety education course before acquiring your license. Also, you have to pass a final exam to become a licensed hunter. Different states have different lessons and requirements.
Without further ado, here are the top hunting states in the United States. Read through this article to have a glimpse of how hunting takes place in this destination. From this list, pick your next spot for your upcoming hunting trip.
Hunting in the state of Alaska generates billions of dollars annually. Nearly 15% of Alaska’s residents are licensed hunters, and others engage in wildlife activities such as trapping and fishing. Alaska is a great place for hunters.
For one, Alaska has a ton of big game opportunities. The state is home to large brown bears and grizzly bears. Alaska also has elks, mountain goats, and mooses. Furthermore, musk oxen freely roam the Alaskan tundra. Since 90% of the state is owned publicly, this percentage of land is open to hunters seeking the wilderness experience.
Since Alaska has miles of untouched forests, mountains, and glaciers, it is the best state for both hunting and fishing. As long as you are willing to endure the unforgiving Alaskan cold, Alaska is the best hunting destination for you.
A lot of traveling hunters have long dreamt of hunting in the state of Montana. Montana has a wide variety of game animals and some of which are pronghorn antelope, deer, and elk, which are the most sought-after animals. Montana also offers moose, bison, bighorn sheep, and black bear.
A fifth of the population of Montana are licensed hunters. Thus, some crowds may develop in the field. 50% of Montana is owned by the public, and 30 million acres of public land are available for hunting. Montana hunters continuously cultivate the state’s economies that are hunting-dependent. Thus, hunters are well-loved by small towns during hunting season.
Idaho is a very hunter-friendly state, with 15% to 17% of its residents being licensed hunters. A variety of species reside in diverse habitats across the state of Idaho. Furthermore, over 60% of Idaho’s land area is open to the public. Idaho is home to mountain lions, turkeys, black bears, and elk. Hunters may also hunt for antelope, moose, and bighorn sheep in this US state. Moreover, Idaho is known to be home to the stud mule deer and the whitetail deer.
The town of Salmon in Idaho is home to bountiful species of salmon, trout, and other hunted fish. These fish are available all year round, so fish hunters visit this town throughout the year. If you prefer to hunt for bigger game, Salmon is also home to numerous deer and elk. However, wolves have slightly thinned the herd of these animals. You may have to go against these wolves when you hunt for elk and deer.
Salmon also takes pride in its large population of mountain lions and bears. Moreover, if you would want to hunt for a grizzly bear, you must employ the help of the best electric hunting bike. The area where the grizzly bear is is of steep hills and rough terrain, and so you would need to ride anelectric hunting bike.
Like North Dakota, South Dakota is a state well-known for its upland bird and pheasant hunting. Moreover, South Dakota also has other hunting opportunities such as mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and buffalo.
Furthermore, you can also hunt for deer and antelope in South Dakota. This state is home to quality herds, with its mixed habitat of shelterbelts and agriculture. South Dakota will give you the true Western deer-hunting experience.
A quarter of South Dakota Residents are hunters and are enrolled in hunting ranks. South Dakota also has 5 million acres of public land open for hunting. Thus, this state ranks high among the best hunting states in the United States.
Hunters visit Rapid City in South Dakota all year round. In this city, you do not need to wait for a specific season to find a game. The beautiful terrain of Rapid City is a great hunting trail and is a picturesque scene as well. Rapid City has opportunities for both hunting and fishing, depending on what catches the hunter’s fancy. Rapid City lakes are always teeming with rainbow trout, and its mountains are full of wild turkeys, elk, and deer.
North Dakota is South Dakota’s northern brother. About 15% to 18% of North Dakota’s residents hunt in the waterways, fields, or woods. You may find antelope and mallards in North Dakota. Approximately 3 million acres of public land are open to hunters.
Some of the popular pursuits in North Dakota are mule deer and whitetails. Moreover, North Dakota is bountiful in moose, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep. North Dakota’s trees are also home to pheasants.
Wisconsin is one of the ultimate blue-blood trophy whitetail hunting spots. However, this state has a lot more games to offer. Wisconsin consistently ranks as a top hunting state for turkey. Waterfowl and other small games are also popular among hunters in Wisconsin.
7 million acres of public land are free games for hunters in Wisconsin. This state has 700,000 hunting license holders annually. You can also hunt for big games in Wisconsin such as bucks and grizzly bears. However, you have to be extremely patient in hunting for these animals. To help you locate them better, hunters employ the help of their hunting GPS.
Bigger games are smarter and more challenging to take down. Thus, hunters need to hide above ground with hunting blinds. Larger cats may attack the hunters if they do not remain alert and careful. Hunters also go to Wisconsin in the fall to check out the migrant wild geese.
Minnesota has 8.2 acres of public land open for hunting, which is 16% of the state’s land area. This state has 560,000 hunting license holders who usually go for bears, deer, turkey, ducks, or waterfowl.
Bowhunters may also hunt for suburban whitetail around Minnesota. Furthermore, swamp hunting is also a common activity in this state. This is because the state of Minnesota is home to 13,000 lakes.
Wyoming is the home of big game opportunities for eastern and mid-western hunters alike. Hunters in this state usually go for elk, mountain goats, antelopes, moose, goats, deer, bison, and bighorn sheep. However, some tags in Wyoming can only be acquired through a draw process.
Wyoming boasts 31.4 million acres of public land, which is 50% of the entire state’s land area. A quarter of Wyoming’s population are licensed hunters. Wyoming would be a more hunter-friendly state if it were not for its complicated draw system.
Furthermore, Wyoming has a law that requires non-residents to hire resident guides when hunting in the state’s federal wilderness areas. In these wilderness areas, hunters have to use thebest electric hunting bike to help them in their pursuit. Despite these inconveniences, people still regularly return to Wyoming to hunt.
10% to 12% of West Virginia’s population purchases annual hunting licenses. For a lot of the residents in this state, hunting is a tradition passed down from their ancestors. It is not difficult to look for a hunting buddy in West Virginia.
West Virginia offers 1.5 million acres of rural and rugged land for public hunting. Here, hunters may find Appalachian games such as wild turkey, black bear, and ruffed grouse. West Virginia also offers quality opportunities for hunters to chase mountain bucks. Overall, the whitetail deer is the most popular game animal in West Virginia.
Hunting traditions run deep in the state of Pennsylvania. Hunting seasons dictate business hours and school schedules for the state to accommodate 1 million hunters. Pennsylvania is the first in the United States in both bowhunter and hunter density per square mile.
14.5% of the state’s land area is public ground, which is 4.2 million acres. Additionally, private ground with an area of 2 million acres is also opened for hunting through cooperative agreements in the state.
Whitetails are the most popular game species in Pennsylvania. However, the state’s woods also offer the largest black bears in the country and world-class elk. You can only hunt them through a competitive tag draw. Hunters can also go for waterfowl, turkey, and other small games across the state.
The people of Texas are enthusiastic and avid hunters. Texas is popular for its whitetail deer with large antlers. However, hunters in Texas may also pursue javelinas, alligators, mule deer, wild pigs, squirrels, and pronghorn. They may also go for waterfowl, turkeys, quails, and other upland birds.
To add, ranches in Texas have imported large populations of non-native game. These include axis deer, nilgai, blackbuck, zebras, aoudad, and oryx. You may hunt these exotic animals all year round, given that you are hunting on private land. These ranches invite hunters to pursue animals native to Asia and Africa at affordable costs. Furthermore, the hunters do not have to leave the United States for this experience.
Most of the ranches in this state are high-fenced. This is necessary especially for those ranches with exotic animals. Hunting in Texas is hunting despite the large game population because of its bushy and thick flora. Thus, hunting in Texas is done from permanent blinds, especially when hunting whitetails. Baiting is also extremely popular in the state, and the use of automatic feeders is legal.
Feral hogs are overabundant in Texas. Since these animals are exotic, unprotected, and non-game, you may hunt hogs at any time of the year without season or bag limits. However, you must have a landowner’s permission and a hunting license to pursue them.
The cheapest hunting land in the US can be purchased in Texas. This land costs $1,590 per acre on average. This price is far from the national average, which is $4,100. The reason why hunting land is cheap in Texas is that buyers do not have to compete with farmers.
The hunting grounds of Louisiana have games all year round. In this state, you may hunt for fish such as swordfish, marlin, and tuna. However, always remember to wear your waterproof hunting boots to protect your feet from moisture when hunting. A number of hunters have fallen victim to toe fungus because of the marshes in Louisiana.
Alabama is home to immense natural diversity with over 1.3 million acres of public land for hunting. Animals that can be hunted include whitetails, wild turkeys, bobwhite quails, mourning doves, waterfowls, alligators, etc.
With a deer population of over 1.75 million within 170,000 acres, you are in for a big haul hunting in Dallas County. Hunters of all kinds are welcome here as there are no restrictions to any form of hunting. All kinds of weapons are permitted. Although there is no shortage of games, hunting could still take days due to the large land area. Make sure to wear your comfortable hunting gear to prepare for lots of game tracking.
You may find all sorts of games on the hunting grounds of Arizona. Take your hunting GPS on your trip and pick a spot where the animal of your choice is rife. If you want to pursue antelope, deer, elk, or other large game, proceed to the Pinetop region. On the other hand, if you want to start small and work your way up, begin at Yukon. There, you can hunt for pheasants, rabbits, doves, and quails.
If you are feeling brave and you want to pursue black bears and mountain lions, proceed to the Kingman area of Arizona. In hunting predators, you must muster all the stealth and strategic positioning you have. You may also want to use the best electric hunting bike for maximum speed and power.
Kentucky boasts over 143,000 acres of hunting grounds with terrain and habitat diversity. However, it is necessary to note that hunting with firearms is not allowed. If you are into bow hunting, this is the perfect place for you.
You must expect high hunter traffic at this place since most of the hunting areas are public or open lands. But, there is an annual two-day hunting quota event or known as youth gun hunts. The event takes place in a 7,998-acre area by the proximity of Grayson Lake.
Hunters first need to hike to remote areas before getting to the hunting geometry due to the vast land area. You can also use boats to reach other locations 5 miles within your hunting site. Night hunting is also allowed for the duration of the event.
If you are into hunting whitetails, Missouri is a great hunting ground for you. It boasts over 100,000 acres for whitetail hunting alone, with more than 140 tracts. Its largest tracts include the 12,960-acre land where the Four Rivers Conservation Center is and the 7,532-acre with the Schell Osage Conservation Center.
You can also opt for the 6,300-acre area for less hunter traffic, which has only been opened for 30 years. You can also yield trophy whitetails from this area. Pro-tip for hunting in these areas: utilize a tree stand. Hang on a tree stand along the whitetail routes and pursue them as they go out to look for food.
Tennessee is one of the best places for bow hunting because of its bow hunting-exclusive areas. Some of which you can find in three zones within the 37,000-acre Oak Ridge WMA. It is also a well-known area where hunters keep records of great hunts of whitetails.
Tennessee is also popularly known for its annual quota hunt on a 6,000-acre island downtown of Memphis by the Mississippi River. Other bow hunting exclusive areas include the 5,400-acre land north of Chickamauga Creek and the 1,107-acre fractional township area.
To participate in the annual quota hunt that lasts for three days, you must first apply for a permit. However, only 80 of these permits are available annually. Given that many hunters aim for that coveted permit, persistence is the key so that you may obtain a draw.
You may hunt for various species of fish in South Carolina, specifically Georgetown. This state's abundant rivers are perfect for water hunters. Moreover, South Carolina has more than 250 million acres of land for hunting. If you enjoy the taste of free-range wild poultry, South Carolina is the place for you. This state is full of quail wild turkey, and other small games.
However, if you are in the mood for a much larger game, you may also pursue deer in this state. For a much easier pursuit, use hunting tree stands to help you with deer sightings. These will keep you comfortable while on the lookout for your game.
A lot of people may be against hunting, but hunting advocates actually do support the conservation of nature. The industry of hunting generates revenue, and the money from these taxes is used for environmental efforts.
For example, money earned from hunting may be allocated for maintaining and managing wildlife parks. This will then enhance the wildlife habitat. Moreover, hunting earnings may also be utilized for research regarding animal species. This will contribute to the body of knowledge, helping us understand nature further.
With that, we wish you all the best on your next hunting trip! Take note and keep in mind all the pointers we listed down in this article. Hunt or be hunted—remember to always hunt wild, run free, and keep safe.
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