Hunting Destinations In The USA
If you do it in an ethical fashion, hunting is actually quite an enjoyable pastime. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys spending a bit of their time basking in the splendors of the great outdoors. Once you’ve really gotten into hunting, you’d, of course, want to do it more often and with bigger game. The problem is, not everyone knows where to even start looking for these animals. Luckily for you, today we’re going to be talking about the ten best places to go hunting in the United States.
Ethical Hunting Practices
Before we go any further, let’s first discuss the principles of ethical hunting. They can be divided into three major tenets – “knowing and respecting the game,” “obeying the law,” and “behaving in the right manner”. Let’s go over these basic principles that every responsible hunter should be following in a more specific manner. If you don’t follow even just one of these principles, then it may be time to put the gun down. If you do follow these, it would be for the betterment of everyone and everything involved, even the animals.
When you respect the animals you’re hunting, you should give them the right to a “fair chase.” Simply put, a fair chase is when you give the game that you’re going after a reasonable chance to evade being hunted down. You shouldn’t use tactics that are unfair or are meant to harass the animal you’re hunting. For instance, you should avoid any form of mechanizing your pursuit. Enlisting the help of machines simply just isn’t fair under any circumstance whatsoever.
Respecting animals while you’re hunting also means you should concentrate on where you place your shot. Don’t shoot with the intent of simply maiming or hurting an animal. If you’re going to shoot an animal, make sure you’re going to dispatch it. Do it quickly so that its pain ends as quickly as possible. It would be good to know where the animal’s vital areas area – the lungs and heart area are a good place to shoot at – so you would have a good idea on where to set your sights. In the case of your first shot not being a fatal one, follow it up with one that would be. Again, it’s important that you end any animal’s suffering instantly.
Once you’ve dealt with the animal you were hunting down, dispatch of its remains in an orderly fashion. This entails taking as much useful resources from the animal as you can. You should also remember not to leave the carcasses of dead animals near roads, railways, or water reservoirs. These may cause accidents in the former two, while they may contaminate the latter. Don’t hunt down an animal if you know you can’t dispose of it properly. When carrying a carcass home, try to cover it up as much as you can to avoid offending those who aren’t the biggest fans of hunting.
Aside from respecting the animals themselves, you should also be respectful towards their natural habitat. This is especially true if the game you’re hunting down is endemic to where you are. Don’t hunt in habitats that you know have a scarce supply of wildlife. If possible, also bring your own firewood from home to avoid cutting down the trees or branches in and around the area. Get rid of your trash properly as well, so it won’t pollute bodies of water. Even if it’s not yours, pick up the garbage of other people also. The habitat you’re in could also be home to people who aren’t that welcoming to hunting. Keep your firearms in as discreet of a fashion as you can.
We should also follow the law at all times while hunting. Know that hunting may not be allowed on private property. Even if you were allowed to hunt in a private piece of land, you should still try your absolute best to be respectful. Ask the owners where you’re allowed to hunt as well as which areas you should not tread to. Do as little damage as you can and leave everything just as you found it when you started your hunt. Avoid tagging along with people who act recklessly during hunts or who don’t obey the law.
In terms of being responsible, you should make sure you’re fit. Accidents may occur if you’re not ready to go after animals in different kinds of terrain. Also, be certain that you’re aware of your personal safety. A good example of this would be to wear bright colored clothing instead of camouflage. While some may argue that the latter is the better clothing option when it comes to hunting because it prevents the animals from seeing you, you should remember that when they can’t see you, chances are high that other hunters can’t as well. Who knows? The worst case scenario is that you might get accidentally shot at.
Now we can talk about where the best places in the U.S. are to hunt as well as what kinds of animals you can see in these locations. First up, we have the state of Wyoming where you can find an abundance of wild antelope. One of the best things about going hunting in Wyoming is that you don’t have to go to remote fields or high-up mountains to spot game. The weather over there’s also pretty nice, which is a big pull for a lot of hunters.
Antelopes are great beginner animals to hunt, since they’re not difficult to drag out of a particular area. However, if you want to level up from them, you can also find bigger game such as moose and elk nearby. Sure, you probably won’t find your next trophy in this neck of the woods, but at the very least you’ll get to sharpen your hunting skills.
Utah (Mountain Goats)
Utah is another great option, especially if you’re looking to hunt down mountain goats. Getting a goat tag is tough work, but you’ll have the best chances of doing so here. Compared to the last entry on the list, you’ll have to put in a bit more effort to get into prime hunting territory. This includes a five to six-hour hike from the farthest point accessible by a vehicle. We promise though, that it will all be worth it after all that trekking. If you really want to increase your chances of hunting down a goat with full, white coat, you should go hunting in the Wasatch Range in the latter part of the season – from late September to mid-October would be ideal.
This is one of the toughest and priciest hunts on this list, but it also has the some of the biggest rewards. The chances of you bringing home a trophy in Utah are pretty high. So if you want to snag one for the record books, you’ve got to get yourself and your bank account prepared.
South Dakota (Elks)
South Dakota is also famed for its hunting and fishing spots, especially those in Rapid City. Over here, you can go after elks as well as white-tailed deer and turkey. If you head on over to the grasslands in the area, you’ll find a lot of pronghorns, coyotes, and even prairie dogs. This place is perfect for hunters who are just starting out since there is a selection of different kinds of big and small game. The hunting country in South Dakota also isn’t that far from the big city, so not a lot of walking and climbing is required.
Montana (White-Tailed Deer)
Up next we have Montana which is famed for its abundance of white-tailed deer. You may be thinking that there are lots of hunting destinations in the United States with whitetails. However, what makes this place unique is the unrivaled amount of trophy bucks being found, especially in the discreetly named District 285. This district of Montana is popular among logging companies, who open up patches of land, which in turn attract the deer. Be wary though, since there have been a couple of grizzly bear sightings in the area. You can take a buck in this area with just your general deer hunting license too, so there’s no longer a need for a draw.
Oregon (Bighorn Sheep)
Oregon and its bighorn sheep are up next on this list of the best hunting spots in the United States. If you’ve followed hunting for long enough, then you know how hard it is to get a sheep hunting tag. However, that doesn’t stop persistent hunters from trying to apply for one over and over again, until after some time they eventually do get their permit. If you’re a hunter with less patience but deep pockets, you can always purchase one at an auction. If you have more persistence than money, you’ll have the best odds of a draw at the John Day River units up north.
It would be a good idea to hire a guide when making your way through Oregon’s sheep country. You could go on your own, but you have to understand that this will require you to cross large expanses of both land and water. You’ll need to be in peak physical condition to pull this off without the slightest hitch. In our opinion, you shouldn’t go cheap here, as a getting a guide could help guarantee your safety.
New Mexico (Black Bears)
If you’re one to take a bit of a risk, then hunting for black bears in New Mexico might pique your interest. The best way to hunt bears down is to get a pack of bear dogs or to hire a guide who has good knowledge of the area. If you don’t have the means or access to either of those, then your best bet is to do a spot and stalk hunting. This means you’ll have to look for a bear and follow it around until you get a clean shot. Some people actually prefer this method for the adrenaline rush. Look for bears along valleys and hillsides that are rich in acorns and berries – their favorite food sources.
Nevada (Mule Deer)
When you ask people about the first thing that comes to mind when they’re asked about Nevada, chances are they’ll tell you it’s the bright lights of Las Vegas. However, Nevada is also known for the great hunting experiences it has to offer, especially if you want to take down a mule deer. Nine-tenths of the state is public land so you won’t have to go through the trouble of securing permits to have access to these animals. That’s not even the best part. What’s even more amazing is that the population of mule deer in the area is on the rise again and with that, you’ll have higher chances of securing a trophy buck.
Next on this list is Arizona, which is famous among the hunting community for its booming elk population. Like in Oregon, it could take some time to get a hunting tag, but when you do it’ll be worth it. Head on over to Unit 10 when you get the opportunity to hunt here. In this area, a lot of elk are available in a wide open area, so you won’t have to put in that much effort into locating them.
Kansas (White-Tailed Deer)
On the penultimate spot on this list, we have Kansas, more specifically its south central portion. This state is another popular spot for whitetail hunting. What’s great about hunting in Kansas is that there are lots of wide open areas, including flatlands and lush hills, that are open to the public. If you’re looking to score your next trophy buck, try going to Kansas’ Unit 16 during September.
Idaho (Mountain Lions)
Finally, we have Idaho, which is a mecca for mountain lions, bears, and deer. One of the best places to hunt here is the Seven Devils Range, which is a cluster of mountains that span thousands of miles. This means you won’t run out of unique areas to hunt in. Another great thing about hunting here is that you can get a combo tag that’s good for a bunch of game for only a few hundred dollars more.
If you’re looking for a good hunt, book your next trip to one of these ten destinations. You might just spot your next record-breaking game.
- The best places in the country to hunt big game, The Washington Times
- Where to Hunt: Guide to the 8 best Big-Game Hunts in the West, Outdoor Life
- The 35 Best Hunting and Fishing Towns in the US, Outdoor Life