7 Best States to Kill a Velvet Buck This Season

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do You Hunt Any of These States?

(Heartland Bowhunter photo)

Do you dream of killing a velvet buck? You like seeing all the fuzzy stuff on antlers? Don’t wait any longer. Go to one of these seven states and make your dream come true. These are the best locations for legitimate chances at killing a buck still in velvet. Below is some of the best insider tips for each state from Realtree’s Antler Nation grading system.


Opening Day: September 1

Nebraska is one of the few states that publishes detailed harvest data in its annual regulations book. And that data is worth looking at. You'll find a breakdown of each region, how many deer were killed, how many bucks per square mile were killed and the age class of the bucks taken…(continue reading)…


Opening Day: Varies by location

Because the Cowboy State has an early archery opener, hunters have a chance at a velvet buck (which few states offer), minimal hunting pressure and a great opportunity at a Pope and Young class buck…(continue reading)…


Opening Day: September 2

Tenzing TX 15 in Realtree Xtra

Tenzing TX 15 in Realtree Xtra

Although many states offer public access to private ground, none is as impressive as what Montana provides public land hunters. Their Block Management Program is a cooperative effort between Fish, Wildlife & Parks and private landowners to help landowners manage hunting activities and provide free public access. What’s unique about Montana’s program is the amount of available ground, which currently stands at nearly 9 million acres…(continue reading)…


Opening Day: September 2

Probably the best thing about hunting deer in Kentucky is the potential for taking a trophy all over the state. Unlike some states where the trophy potential is isolated to select areas, Boone & Crockett bucks are showing up from literally every section of the state. Of course, certain areas and counties have traditionally produced more trophies, but in recent years, B&C bucks have turned up in counties that had never before produced a trophy and also on many different public lands. Kentucky has more than 1.5 million acres of public land and at least one B&C buck comes from public land almost every year. Some of the larger WMAs in the Bluegrass and Green River regions offer the best chance at a trophy. Other places to consider are the Fort Knox and Fort Campbell military complexes. Hunting restrictions there are a little difficult to grasp and negotiate, but the potential is well worth the extra effort…(continue reading)…

North Dakota

Opening Day: September 1

With season dates beginning in late August to early September for archery hunters, North Dakota offers excellent opportunities to bag a heavy velvet antlered buck…(continue reading)… 


Opening Day: August 30 (varies by location)

Become a western border jumper for whitetails. With both Idaho and Washington having solid whitetail numbers in their northernmost regions, much of which is on public ground, as well as excellent trophy potential, they are excellent options for the DIY hunter looking to find some antlered-gold out West…(continue reading)…

South Carolina

Opening Day: August 15 (varies by location)

South Carolina does not have the hunting pressure of some other southern states, so there is opportunity to find some undisturbed hunting spots at times. However, if your sights are set on a trophy buck, another state should probably be on the radar. South Carolina has only placed a total of 13 bucks in the Boone & Crockett record books, so it is certainly not leading the nation as a candidate for producing the next world record. Charles Ruth, deer project coordinator for the South Carolina DNR, says the state is more known for long seasons and liberal bag limits rather than a trophy buck destination. Some of the better areas for finding larger bucks are the counties of Anderson, Aiken and Orangeburg…(continue reading)…

Don't Miss: The 2017 Deer Hunting Antler Nation State Grades Are In

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