Best Public Hunting States for Whitetails

F As TV hunting shows and hunting DVDs keep hunting prices skyrocketing, the little people continue to struggle finding hunting acres of their own. These are the best states containing adequate hunting land that also have the potential to produce cheap trophies.

In no particular order, Nebraska is a heavy hitter with over 800,000 acres of public land on about 300 state and federal public hunting areas.  Nebraska is an above-average state with super trophy potential and extremely uncrowded. The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a notable area for big bucks.

Believe it or not, New Jersey is a great state for public hunting with over 750,000 acres of public land to hunt on 117 wildlife management areas (WMA).  The state’s deer population is approaching 250,000 animals and with a yearly harvest now at around 40,000 animals, the state has good potential for older deer to be found, but watch out for wise guys with open trunks.

Wisconsin also boasts hundreds of thousands of square miles of public hunting land, but the trophy potential is top tier and everyone knows Wisconsin is a major player in all the record books.  Clark County public forest and Jackson County public forest combine for 250,000 acres of some of the best public hunting land in the country. Waterways can let a hunter silently penetrate honey holes with a small canoe or kayak.

Believe it or not, the state of Idaho offers around 1 million acres of hunting land accessible to the public. Whitetails are mainly found in the western portion of the state, mainly along the Salmon River drainages and the entire Washington/Idaho border is prime Whitetail country.   It is impossible to drive any road in western Idaho during the Whitetail rut without seeing bucks.  This is a great state that is friendly to non-resident hunters.

Ohio is a special deer hunting state that has had some mega bucks come out of its diverse hunting lands.  There are tons of public hunting areas, including the Brush Creek State Forest where the famous Metzner buck was shot.  In Adams County, Justin Metzner shot a monster 196 buck right on the border of the Brush Creek area, which is around 13,000 acres.  The Shawnee National Forest is another trophy hotspot with over 60,000 acres. Don’t forget, one of the best bucks of all time, the Hole in the Horn Buck came from Ohio and his gene pool is still alive. 

Access to public land is either cheap or free, so take advantage of those acres and good luck.