Here are the top 10 most hunting-loving states. And here’s a newsflash: Texas ain’t one of them. . . not even close.
Coming in at number 10 with 71,807 Paid Hunting Licenses, approximately 11.5 percent of the population hunts.
According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, there are more bucks taken per square mile in Vermont than in any other New England state.
Ranked third worst deer hunting state by Wide Open Spaces, the Green Mountain State has been making quite a comeback over the last few years. A combination of mild winters and hunting regulations enacted to protect yearling bucks, Vermont has high hopes that 2017 could be their best hunting season ever.
2016 was the largest buck harvest since 2002, the season brought 9,968 legal bucks harvested which was 19 percent more than the past three years averaged.
But Bucks aren’t the only thing Vermont is hunting. It’s abundant in black bear and moose too. Apparently, Vermont has one of the densest black bear populations in the country, approximately one bear for every three square miles.
9. West Virginia
With 219,990 paid hunting licenses, West Virginia is sitting pretty at number nine, with 12% of the population being hunters.
West Virginia consists mostly of rural land and forest, which makes this state deer heaven. The Mountain State has so many deer the state’s taken “creative measures” to encourage more hunting such as urban deer hunts. Also in abundance in W.V., black bear and grouse.
At number eight with 700,843 hunting licenses and 12.2 percent of the population hunting.
With 9,250 dairy farms, 1,279,000 dairy cows and 3,503,000,000 gallons of milk production per year, you’d think the Badger State was only cray about cows. Maybe so, but the cheese-loving farmers are also growing some big deer. Check out the 2015 and 2016 Deer of the Year harvested in Wisconsin. Them deers is bigguns (country accent). Also hot in the cheese state: turkey.
Maine’s home to 66,051 hunting licenses, with 12.5 percent of the population hunts. Moose, deer and bears oh my!
Speaking of bears, OMG Maine has a 16-week fall bear hunting season! And there’s no shortage of black bears in Maine; they have the largest population in the lower 48.
I wonder if that’s why there aren’t any hogs in the Pine Tree State? (Click here to watch video of bear vs. wild hog.) The deer hunting in Maine is not so flexible. You practically need clearance from the CIA to get a permit (sigh).
The state of Alaska comes in at six on the list with 108,487 hunting licenses and 14.6 percent of the population hunting.
I’d think it very strange to find a vegan in Alaska. In fact, the Last Frontier is the extreme hunting Mecca of the world. On the menu: bison, caribou, elk, black bear, dall sheep, moose, brown bear, grizzly bear, mountain goat, muskox, wolf, and oh, boring old deer.
After hearing that amazing list of options does anyone want to hunt Bambi in Alaska? Not me. I’ll take a wolf and a grizzly bear please. There goes my life’s savings and kids college fund.
Coming in at number five with 273,887 hunting licenses and 16.2 % of hunters, Idaho makes my personal top three.
Idaho is a hunters paradise where you can take a multitude of big game. Hunting wolves is legal. And Idaho has an abundant elk population of about 107,000. Did I mention you can hunt wolves? Seriously, the Gem State is like a mini-Alaska without all the bad weather, strange bush people and UFO’s.
On the menu in Idaho: elk, deer, wolf, black bear, mountain lion, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, pronghorn, grouse, partridge, California quail, pheasant, and Wild Turkey (capitalized for you whiskey drinkers). If I ever leave Texas, you’ll find me in Idaho.
4. North Dakota
Coming in strong with 140,243 hunting licenses and 18.5 percent of the population hunting, we’re now entering serious hunter territory.
Most coveted hunting in North Dakota? Mule Deer. The Western Badlands has the highest concentration of Muley’s in the country. The vast majority of land is public and the hunting method of choice to harvest your muley in the Peace Garden State: archery. Wrong answer! (IMHO)
Coming in at number three, with 127,198 hunting licenses and 21.8 percent of the population being hunters, Wyoming, y’all some huntin’ fools. With a total population under 600,000 almost the whole dang state is hunting. Not to mention the fact that the Equality State has the highest concentration of gun owners in the country at 53 percent.
And the runner up is . . . Montana. With 240,702 hunting licenses, 23 percent of this state is made up of hunters.
When I think of great deer hunting, I think of Montana. (Next to Texas of course.) Though this state isn’t known for producing booners, it’s the best public land hunting state in the country.
Big Sky Country has 31 million acres of public land hunting and another eight million enrolled in their block management program, encouraging private land owners to allow their land for public use. This state has plenty of land to chase deer around on.
The Treasure State has a treasure trove of other species: bison, black bear, deer, elk, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, turkey and last but not least wolf.
1. South Dakota
South Dakota scoops first place with 25.9 percent of hunters making up the population nd 223,394 hunting licenses purchased.
World renown for pheasant hunting, the Mount Rushmore State has harvest records averaging one million birds. That’s yearly. Two hundred thousand hunters participate in pheasant hunting yearly in South Dakota.
Deer hunting is also a big deal in this state. Available by lottery only though. With that many hunters don’t get your hopes up. Also, bow hunters have better chance than rifle hunters for securing a deer license.
How does your state rank on the list? Is your state hunting obsessed? (Click here to see my list Hunting By State).