Deer hunting is somewhat like golf.  Once you become competent playing on your own course, you become interested in playing other courses nearby, in adjoining states, and even out of the country.  The rules are basically the same, yet the variety of scenery and unique challenges that each fairway presents add interest and excitement to the experience.

Whitetail Behavior

From Maine to Florida to Michigan and the Dakota’s deer act like deer and you will need to use the same scent precautions regardless of where you hunt.  Rattling and grunting will probably work at certain times of the year, so don’t leave your favorite deer tools at home.  The rut varies with latitude and you may find that some deer mate in Texas and the “Black Belt” region a month or two later than in the Northern tier.

Cherish the Experience

This post from the Realtree Website uses antler size as a key factor in limiting 10 factors, yet I’d put more weight on geographic features.  I annually hunt the Dakotas and absolutely love the difference of the wide open spaces from the Eastern hardwood forests. Spotting and stalking is very difficult in the deer woods and it’s only when whitetails roam the open prairie that you can spot them and make a stalk.

Jim Schell outfits for whitetails in Wyoming and has great success rattling bucks that respond in early November.  The chances for a Boone & Crockett buck are lower than in Kansas, yet the terrain and the Western ambiance is always record book class.

Realtree’s top 10 

Some hunters are perfectly fine hunting their own states each fall. And that’s okay. In fact, my home state of Kentucky is where I enjoy deer hunting the most. However, like many other sportsmen, I have a drive to see new places and to chase the whitetails that reside there.

The following 10 states received either an A or B on our Antler Nation grading system. You’ll find very specific, interesting excerpts of information for each state that was compiled by the scoring judge who handled that particular state. You’ll also find some of the most comprehensive analyses of these states ever produced. And we’re proud to present this resource to the public to use as it sees fit.