America is one of the best places in the world to go hunting for whitetails. Successful deer hunting requires a considerable amount of preparation.
Hunters have long debated which states are the best for hunting this popular game animal. Record books offer an insight into hunting success rates, but they do not paint the full picture. Factors like acres of accessible land, hunting pressure, affordability, total harvest number, the average age of bucks harvested, and typical weather conditions must also be considered.
Many of these factors remain constant from year to year, but variables like weather, wildfires or other natural disasters, or even diseased populations will change a state’s ranking. Based on this criteria and records from Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett, these are the best southern states to go hunting for whitetails.
Texas is home to one of the best whitetail hunting experiences in the nation. More hunts for bucks have taken place in Texas than any other state, and it has consistently ranked in the top ten states for whitetails over the last decade.
Texas has nearly two million acres of public hunting land. Ox Ranch in Texas is considered one of the best hunting spots in the nation. It has more than 18,000 acres of free-range hunting.
While Georgia is usually better known for its southern charm and peaches, it holds some serious weight when it comes to quality whitetail hunting. Georgia’s deer harvest stats are very high, and it has even ranked number one in this category in the past.
Additionally, there is ample acreage of public hunting grounds and license fees are very affordable—starting at about $20 for residents. It also has continually produced a hunting success rate of about 55%, and it has a good age structure and population density.
Georgia has also seen the most significant year-to-year rise in harvest rates, increasing from 30 to 45%. All these factors make it a prime location in the southern United States for whitetail hunting.
South Carolina boasts an impressive, record-breaking hunting success rate of about 70%. It also has ranked number one multiple times for having the highest number of bucks harvested per square mile.
While your success rate is likely to be high, it is unlikely you will rack in a monster-sized buck like you can in Texas.
South Carolinians are some of the most engaged hunters. It leads the nation in the number of enrolled members of the Quality Deer Management Association, an organization promoting ethical deer hunting standards.
The city of Orangeburg is one of the best areas for whitetail hunting in the state. It has widespread public hunting lands and many deer hunting clubs.
Mississippi has about two million acres of public hunting ground and regularly scores an A in ranking lists. The deer-to-hunter ratio is very favorable, and it also continually gains the number-one spot for harvest age. Over 77% of deer harvested in this state were 3.5 years of age or older.
The Magnolia State also has some of the lowest and most affordable hunting rates in the nation. It ranked number five in the nation for deer harvested per square mile, which is attributed to its high hunting success rates.
The high percentage of older deer combined with its acreage and population rates makes Mississippi an excellent state for whitetails.
It has even produced some trophy bucks. Boone & Crockett’s 7th non-typical of all time was hunted here in 1995.
When thinking of Arizona, most have visions of desert land and do not consider this state a prime hunting ground. In fact, there is a large number of hunting areas and varied game beyond whitetails.
Arizona is also home to the prized, rare Coues deer. It is the only place you can find them beyond New Mexico and the Mexican border. This rare deer is best known for its diminutive stature, and they are one of the most sought-after deer breeds in the game.
Coues deer are notoriously challenging to hunt, and they make Arizona one of the most exciting and exotic hunting areas in the nation. Stick to the southern parts of the state because that is where public hunting land is most abundant.
Oklahoma offers a consistent hunting experience with large populations, a ton of acreage, and very low hunting fees. It is often underrated, being left off Helmer’s lists, but it provides a favorable hunt for those in the know.
It is a beautiful state to include in your hunting planning, and it is particularly favorable for bow hunters. With 12.45 acres of hunting land per licensed hunter and high deer-to-hunter ratios, this is a quality hunting stop.
Caddo County is one of the best areas to hunt in the state. It consistently ranks as one of the highest whitetail producing counties, in terms of number and quality harvested.
No matter which of these fine southern states you choose to visit on your next hunting trip, make sure you are prepared.
Ensure you pack the essentials: water, a map, a compass, a lighter, a flashlight, ammo, a parachute cord, camouflage gear, your preferred hunting rifle or bow, and a fixed blade knife like the Borka Blades SBK-L.
The United States’ massive public hunting land combined with millions of deer makes it an ideal country for hunting whitetail. Even the best hunter with a great skillset isn’t going to succeed if deer populations are low or there is inclement weather. It is always important for a hunter to investigate the area beforehand and research the best hunting spots.
To recap, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Arizona, and Oklahoma are the best southern states for whitetail hunting in the United States. These states are ranked by acreage, harvest age, deer-to-hunter ratios, and more, and they continue to top the charts every year. They also offer a diverse hunting experience, one that is most likely to lead to a successful hunting trip.