Deer is arguably the most popular type of game to hunt in North America, and although they move in massive herds, that doesn’t mean they are easy to spot. The best way to find your target is to know where most of the deer travel to.
The states with the most deer are Texas, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Texas holds 5.5 million deer, Wisconsin 1.6 million, and Pennsylvania 1.5 million.
Texas is the second largest state in the U.S so it makes sense for them to hold the largest population of deer too. Many people who aren’t familiar with Texas see this state as an open desert with nothing but cowboy hats and dry air; but in reality, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department protects around 10 different ecoregions in the area.
One of these ecoregions holds a population of 5.5 million white-tailed deer. The land is technically called Edwards Plateau, but most locals refer to it as Hill Country. Not only can you expect a lot of deer to hunt in the area, but they are high-quality deer too.
In fact, Texas has a lot of trophy-quality bucks that get harvested every season. Because there are so many deer in Texas, even a beginner can learn the ropes quickly and hunt alongside the veterans of the sport. We suggest looking at bows for a more authentic appreciation of the experience, click here for advice on Bow Hunting For Beginners.
Although Texas has a large population of deer, a lot of the land which houses them is private. In fact, 97% of the 171,891,25 acres of Texan land is under private ownership. This means you need to use private ranches to gain access to most of the supply.
If you don’t want to hunt on someone else’s property, then head to North Texas where you’ll experience grasslands. Be warned the deer population is rather low in these areas.
Wisconsin is mostly known for its timber, cheese, and the Green Bay Packer, but it is also home to one of the biggest deer populations in the U.S. However, the Wisconsin DNR explains that they don’t count their deer in the same way that other states do. Instead, they survey the average amount of deer in a couple of given areas and then estimate how much that means for the whole state.
The reason for this change in counting is simple: the people of Wisconsin know that the number of deer in an area doesn’t truly help a person’s hunting experience. Wisconsin’s deer areas are so widespread, that one person might see 100 deer, while another just 10.
Instead of counting, the locals know where the high-density areas are and use that information to get the ball rolling.
The reason why the deer density isn’t always clear is that the majority of the hunting spaces in Wisconsin are public. This allows the deer to roam across the land as much as they please, while also adding another layer of difficulty for the hunters to consider.
Using information from the Archery Trade Association, Pennsylvania has 976,000 licensed hunters. This makes them the second largest hunting state, just below Texas. What makes this extremely interesting, is that although Pennsylvania is second in this regard, they are only the 32nd largest state in the U.S.
This means that Pennsylvania has to have a large turnaround of deer to allow for their hunting season to avoid wiping out the deer in the area.
Because of this discrepancy, the wildlife management units, and specifically the deer management units in the state have to deny hunters access to specific areas of dense population when the herds are running low.
This mass control allows the deer to grow to unexpected levels, as trophies as large as 195 inches have been found in the area.
If you are hunting in Pennsylvania, then we suggest heading to Susquehannock State Forest in Potter County. It’s a public area that is easy to get to, but there are long stretches of land completely distanced from roads and disruption.
If you’re new to hunting you should use a well-populated state as your training ground, as it will make finding your target a lot easier. However, just because the state has a lot of deer in its population doesn’t mean they will be spread out. Talk to locals about where the dense populations are before you head off.