18 Great Gun Hunting States for Deer Hunters

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do You Deer Hunt with a Rifle?

Are you a gun hunter? (Bill Konway photo)

Deer hunters are very diverse. Some prefer treestands while others choose to hunt from the ground. Others use calling and decoying tactics while others would rather go the low-key route and just wait for a deer to walk down the trail on their own. And yes, most hunters prefer either the boom stick or stick and string. If you’re among the former, you might want to look into these 18 states if you don’t hunt there already.

1. Arkansas

This state has approximately 1 million deer and 300,000 licenses sold annually. That’s a pretty good deer-to-hunter ratio. Not only that, but the rifle season coincides well with the rut. Rifle hunters have it good in Arkansas.

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Click here for more information about deer hunting in Arkansas.

2. Georgia

Chances of killing a rutting buck during the firearms season are high. It opens October 22 and runs through January 8. Those are pretty good odds for those heading to the woods with the boom stick. Reasonable license costs and a steady deer population means good hunting and on a budget, too.

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Go here for more on deer hunting in Georgia.

3. Idaho

The state has approximately 200,000 whitetails, but only 23,000 deer hunters. That’s an incredible deer-to-hunter ratio unlike most states in the country. Rifle season runs from mid-October to mid-November, offering a great opportunity to fill your tags.

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Check out our ranking of the deer hunting in Idaho.

4. Indiana

This state is the dark horse in the race. Indiana has slowly crept up in the Boone & Crockett rankings and makes the top 10 list for most Booners entered since 2010. It’s on the uptrend. Better yet, although somewhat confusing, the state just allowed a list of rifle cartridges legal to hunt whitetails.

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Click here for more information on deer hunting in Indiana.

The Tikka T3 in Realtree Camo

Tikka T3

5. Kentucky

This is where I hail from and I can speak firsthand on the benefits of being a gun hunter in Kentucky. I’ve killed several nice bucks during the firearms season and know how good the hunting can be during this time.

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Click here to read more about deer hunting in Kentucky.

6. Michigan

There area a lot of deer hunters in Michigan, but there are also a lot of deer. Michiganders have a long history of rifle hunting during deer season. In fact, it might even be home to one of the best rifle-hunting traditions in the country.

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Go here for more detailed information on the deer hunting in Michigan.

7. Minnesota

There are almost as many deer hunters as there are deer. So that’s a check in the negative column. However, there are a lot of big deer and great opportunities to tag a deer during the rifle season. Also, it’s home to some of the largest whitetails ever taken. Don’t overlook this state if rifle hunting is your forte.

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Check out our latest report on deer hunting in Minnesota.

8. Missouri

I’ve always considered Missouri as the state that everyone knows about but never speaks of. That’s something I’m sure the local residents are thankful for, because Missouri offers some of the best deer hunting in the heartland, especially rifle hunting. It’s nothing to see a mature buck dog a doe across a field while you have a rifle in hand.

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Learn more about deer hunting in Missouri by clicking here.

9. Montana

It’s the land filled with Pope-and-Young-class whitetails. Better yet, the rifle season spans a good while and falls during the rut. If a western deer is on your bucket list, look no further than the great state of Montana.

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Find out more about hunting this state by clicking here.

10. New York

Want to go to see New York City and be close to good deer hunting? Try out the deer hunting in New York. With quite a few more deer than hunters, it’s still a great place to find and kill a deer with a firearm. The season lasts from late October into early December.

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Learn more about deer hunting in New York here.

11. North Dakota

We don’t know what the total deer population is, but it is apparent that the deer numbers are doing pretty well. With less than 50,000 licenses sold annually, competition is still fairly low. Gun season runs throughout most of the rut and offers deer hunters a great opportunity to kill a good buck.

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Click here for more information on North Dakota deer hunting.

12. South Dakota

This state is one of the finest deer hunting destinations in the Upper Midwest. Also, it has a gun season ranging from early November to early December, depending on location. It doesn’t have a lot of Boone & Crockett bucks, but the number of Pope & Young class deer are many in number.

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Click here for more detailed information on deer hunting in South Dakota.

13. Tennessee

Good ol’ Rocky Top country is also good deer hunting country. Tennessee has started to really see an increase in their deer population and deer age class. With 700,000 deer and 240,000 licenses sold, and a gun season that runs from mid November into early January, it’s a great place for gun hunters.

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Check out our most recent grading report for deer hunting in Tennessee.

14. Texas

This state might just be the most famous rifle-hunting state of all. The number of bucks that fall to rifles in the state of Texas is extraordinary. It boasts a deer herd of 4 million strong and only sell approximately 1 million licenses each year. That’s a solid deer-to-hunter ratio. Furthermore, gun hunters have plenty of time to hunt and wait for that big buck to come by trailing a doe during the rut.

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Click here for more on deer hunting in Texas.

15. Vermont

Rifle season runs from November 12-27, offering ample opportunities to kill a rutting buck with a gun. Vermont has a pretty good deer population for the size of the state. The deer-to-hunter ratio isn’t the best, but hunters still have a good opportunity to see a good number of deer while rifle hunting.

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Go here for more on deer hunting in Vermont.

16. Virginia

With 1 million deer and only 75,000 licenses sold annually, there are plenty of opportunities to see deer here. For most, the firearm season runs from mid November to the end of November. So gun hunters should catch plenty of rut action.

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Click here for more information on Virginia.

17. Wisconsin

This state has the record for most Boone & Crockett (B&C) entries of all time and the most B&C entries since 2010. Needless to say, Wisconsin has the deer. Better yet, gun season runs from November 19-27, providing a good window to catch the tail end of the rutting activity with gun in hand.

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Go here for more detailed information on hunting in Wyoming.

18. Wyoming

Most people don’t think about Wyoming when it comes to deer hunting, and that’s exactly why you should. There are a lot of big deer coming out of Wyoming right now. Guns seasons vary greatly but range from early October to late December, depending on the zone.

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Click here for more information on deer hunting in Wyoming.

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