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Though deer season has just drawn to a close, many avid whitetail hunters are already looking forward to the year ahead and the vast opportunity that it presents. Daydreaming gives way to planning as hunters from around the country begin formulating a strategy for the upcoming fall.

As part of this planning, several hunters ponder the notion of an out-of-state excursion.

Every year, hunters are driven to hit the road in search of fantastic hunting. Trips of this nature are planned for numerous reasons, though few are as prevalent as the desire to take a trophy whitetail of epic proportions.

Luckily, those harboring such desires are left with many opportunities to consider and an endless array of destinations to choose from.

10 of the Top States in America for Trophy Whitetail Hunting


Over the past decade, Iowa has gained quite the reputation as a perennial producer of monster Whitetails. For this reason, hunters from around the country flock to Iowa for their shot at tagging a corn-fed bruiser. However, those fancying a trip to Iowa should begin applying for a tag sooner rather than later, as the state only allows non-residents via an annual drawing. On average, hunters wait 3-4 years to compile enough preference points to acquire an Iowa tag.


For many years, Illinois has been hunted heavily by those seeking to take the buck of a lifetime. Few locations are as well known for their big buck-producing potential as Pike County, Illinois. The state offers a lengthy archery season, which allows hunters ample opportunity to punch their tags. Nonetheless, one should carefully consider the regulations within any zone they intend to hunt, as some units require hunters to draw a tag while others do not.


The Bluegrass State has accounted for a significant number of Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young entries over the past 20-years, as the state’s trophy potential only continues to increase. Non-resident hunters can readily purchase over-the-counter tags for an extremely reasonable fee, granting one access to hunt Kentucky’s nearly 5-month long archery season. The state’s early opener also presents an excellent opportunity to harvest a trophy whitetail in velvet.

deer harvested


Kansas has come to be known as the land of giants and is routinely mentioned by some of the nation’s most dedicated hunters as the state that carries the greatest true trophy potential. Many Boone & Crockett bucks have been harvested in Kansas over the past decade, with the occasional 200”+ buck not being out of the question. However, non-residents must enter a lottery for their chance at this coveted tag, though most find success within a couple of years, even in the most popular units within the state’s eastern-most expanse.


The Buckeye state has come on strong in trophy potential over the past decade. Ohio has routinely served as one of the top producers of Boone & Crockett whitetails over the past several years. It offers a long archery season, which runs into early February. This presents hunters with trophy potential even beyond when most states’ seasons have concluded. Perhaps even more intriguing is the fact that Ohio sells an abundance of over-the-counter non-resident tags.


Bordered on nearly every side by other big buck-producing states on this list, it is easy to reason that Missouri is ripe with potential. The state is also quite diverse in landscape, offering hunters more than one unique adventure with every trip. Interestingly, Missouri allows youth hunters (even non-residents) to purchase a deer permit at half price. In years past, this has totaled to a price of less than $10, making Missouri a bargain of a hunt for anyone looking to put their child in contention to take a trophy whitetail.


While Wisconsin might not receive the same amount of notoriety for being a producer of trophy whitetails as several other states on this list, the numbers do not lie. Wisconsin has produced more Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young entries than any other state in the nation, and by quite the margin at that. The state also offers abundant over-the-counter tags, which are priced quite economically compared to those of other states.


Indiana is yet another state that is often overlooked in raw trophy potential. Nonetheless, Indiana has proved every bit as capable of producing trophy-caliber whitetails as any of its midwestern neighbors. The state offers over-the-counter non-resident tags and is home to more than 55,000 acres of public hunting land, all of which spells opportunity for the savvy traveling hunter. The bulk of Indiana’s big-buck potential lies in the state’s western-most counties.


The state of Texas is enormous, both in size and trophy whitetail potential. However, one is advised to conduct plenty of research when planning their hunt. While Texas is an excellent producer of trophy whitetails, most of this potential is contained in a handful of prominent countries. Nonetheless, Texas offers over-the-counter non-resident tags and allows hunters to take three bucks per year. Because of this, visiting hunters are left with no shortage of opportunities.


Tennessee is quickly gaining a reputation as a hidden gem in the world of trophy whitetail hunting. The state first gained significant notoriety as news broke Stephen Tucker’s World Record whitetail in 2016. Since then, numerous trophy bucks have been taken in the Volunteer State, leaving little doubt about Tennessee’s trophy-producing potential. Like many other states on this list, Tennessee also offers over-the-counter non-resident tags for sale.

Striking Out For Adventure

If you have ever dreamed of expanding your horizons and hunting new and diverse terrain, there is no better time to plan such an adventure than during the months ahead. By choosing any of the states mentioned above as your destination, you also increase your odds of crossing paths with the buck of a lifetime. With great determination and a little bit of luck, you might return home with one less tag in your pocket.

also read.. Hunting Regulations for every State


Q: What is the typical price of an over-the-counter deer tag?

A: The price of an over-the-counter deer tag ranges from $10 (Missouri) to $300 (Texas), depending on the state.

Q: How many bucks can I take in the top 10 deer hunting states per year?

A: The number of bucks you can take per year varies by state but typically ranges from 1-3 bucks.

Q. What are the top destinations for trophy bucks?

A: The top destinations for trophy bucks typically include Texas, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa.

Q: What is the best time of year to hunt for trophy bucks?

A: The best time of year to hunt for trophy bucks varies by state, but typically peaks during the early-to-mid November rut.

Q: How much should I expect to spend on a hunting trip to one of the top 10 deer hunting states?

A: The amount you should expect to spend on a hunting trip varies by state and depends on the type of hunt you are after. Typically, expenses will range from $1,000-$4,000.

Q: What are the license requirements for non-residents in the top 10 deer hunting states?

A: The license requirements for non-residents in the top 10 deer hunting vary by state, but typically require a hunting license and/or deer tag. Please contact your state’s wildlife department for specific requirements.

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