A look at the best whitetail hunting states in the Great Plains
Our second Antler Nation roundup centers on the Great Plains region. These six flyover states offer great deer hunting, and we’ve updated each one’s page with current hunting regs, license costs, and other vital information.
The Sunflower State’s public-land hunting isn’t as good as it once was. Non-resident hunting license sales have steadily increased throughout the years, and public lands reflect it. Overall harvest isn’t close to what it was in the late 90s and has been declining ever since 2010. However, while the program isn’t as robust as in past seasons, some Walk-In Hunting Areas (WIHAs) and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) still offer good hunting, according to state officials. Kansas still cranks out pretty good harvest totals and plenty of trophy bucks.
This state is only 3% public, but its Open Fields and Waters (OFW) and Passing Along the Heritage (PATH) programs are special. Also, the Cornhusker State does offer three different deer permits that are limited draw. That process occurs in June, but remaining over-the-counter tags go on sale August 3 at 1 p.m. Many of these tags go quickly, so don’t procrastinate.
Hunting the Peace Garden State is sometimes overshadowed by the hunting in South Dakota, but the deer hunting opportunities in North Dakota are solid. Gun tags are hard to come by, but archery tags are easier to obtain. With about 2 million acres of land open to public hunting, opportunities are plentiful.
This state is both overlooked and underrated, with plenty of deer, reasonable licenses, good trophy potential and 1.7 million acres of public ground to roam. In addition to WMAs and lands managed by the Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters also enjoy access via the Oklahoma Land Access Program (OLAP).
The Mount Rushmore State took a hit when non-resident tags became more difficult to obtain. Still, it boasts approximately 5 million acres of public land, including massive acreages with Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Game Production Areas (GPAs), Grasslands, National Forests, WIHAs, and more.
It’s 95% private land, but pieces of public ground are scattered throughout the Lone Star State. Land ownership aside, South Texas and the Western Rolling Plains region are best-known for consistently producing quality bucks. If big numbers of deer are your thing, some Hill Country counties boast densities of 290 deer per 1,000 acres.
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