8 of the Best States for Hunting in the US: Find Your New Lease (2020)

Hunting, fishing, and interacting with wildlife is a national past time. Did you know that over 101 million Americans each year hunt, fish, or otherwise engage with wildlife, in activities such as bird or animal watching? 

If you're a hunter and are looking for new hunting grounds to enjoy, you're in the right place. Here are seven of the best states for hunting in 2020. 

1. New Mexico

The terrain of New Mexico is diverse, offering hunters options ranging from mountains to forests, like the Gila National Forest. Not only does the terrain offer something for everyone, but the wildlife you can hunt is also diverse. 

From coyote to feral hogs to bison to quail and grouse, there are hunting opportunities big and small. New Mexico also offers the ability to hunt for some animals year-round and also offers hunting of animals you can't find anywhere else in the US. 

You can hunt feral hogs, cougars, bison, oryx, and coyotes year-round. Some require a license, but some do not, so be sure to check current regulations. If you want to hunt unique animals, New Mexico also allows hunters to hunt for Persian ibex, oryx, and Barbary sheep. 

2. Arkansas

Arkansas offers a variety of hunting. Alligators or frogs anyone? From small game to big game, Arkansas has it. If you want year-round hunting like New Mexico, you can hunt feral hogs anytime during the year. It has to occur on privately-owned land (that you own or that you have permission to be on).

If you want to hunt feral hogs on public land, you'll have to wait until deer, bear, and elk season. Those seasons vary. If you want to hunt or trap something more unique, Arkansas permits alligator hunting in certain areas of the state to hunters chosen through a lottery. They also allow you to trap and kill up to 18 bullfrogs a day during frog season. 

3. Texas

Did you know that hunters in Texas kill more deer than any other state? They're number two in the number of does killed as well. Everything is bigger in Texas, after all.

Texas offers over 1 million acres of public land for hunting animals like whitetail deer, alligators, ducks, goose, squirrel, and snipe. You do need to have a license to hunt anything in Texas, and part of the requirements include passing a hunter safety course.  

4. Missouri

Missouri has a ton of public land available for hunting. Since there's not a ton of hunters, you get more square miles per hunter there. Aside from the traditional deer, you can also hunt bobcat, badgers, and foxes in Missouri. 

If you're a resident who owns 5+ acres of land, you and anyone in your immediate household can hunt, fish, and trap on your land (except turkey and deer). If you're over the age of 65, you can fish and hunt (except for deer and turkey) without a permit. 

If you're under the age of 15, you can also fish and hunt without a permit. If you're under 15 and you aren't hunter certified, you have to hunt in the presence of a licensed adult hunter who has a valid hunter-education card.  

5. Indiana

Like Missouri, Indiana is a state that hasn't always been a hunter's paradise, but it's on the uptick! Indiana offers the highest chance in the country that you'll take home a record-breaking whitetail deer.

Hunters in Indiana have a decent success rate, there's a lot of public land available, and there aren't a ton of hunters, making this a great hidden gem for hunters in the Midwest.  

6. Kentucky

Kentucky is another hidden gem for hunting! They have long seasons, hunter-friendly regulations, a large herd, and plenty of public lands available for hunters. Your likelihood of bagging a Booner buck in Kentucky is second only to your chances in Indiana (for the novice hunters, a Booner is a buck that exceeds the minimum Boone and Crockett score). 

You can even bag multiple deer in many areas of the state. In some zones, there's no limit on antlerless deer, but most places only allow you to kill one antlered deer. You'll need to make sure you complete a harvest log and keep that on your person whenever you are hunting.  

7. Oklahoma 

Oklahoma offers a wide variety of hunting, including deer, turkey, bear, elk, waterfowl, doves and other migratory birds, feral hogs, quail, antelope, and pheasant. Whatever it is that you want to hunt, chances are Oklahoma has it!

Oklahoma tends to have fewer deer die-offs and is less drought-prone than neighboring Texas, making the turkey and deer hunting much more reliable. 

8. Pennsylvania

You can't deny how hunter-friendly Pennsylvania is. For decades, the Monday after Thanksgiving was an informal holiday, with most schools across the state closed for the first day of buck season. That only changed this year when the legislature voted to move the first day of hunting season to a Saturday, giving hunters one extra day to hunt. 

While you won't find any feral hogs to hunt in Pennsylvania, you will find plenty of deer, pheasant, ruffed grouse, rabbits, and there's even a short trapping season for river otters that you can take advantage of. 

The Best States for Hunting: Where Will You Hunt Next? 

As you start thinking about your late fall and early 2020 hunting destinations, this list of the best states for hunting will give you a good starting point to start planning your next trip. Whether you want to head out west, down south, or explore the middle of the country, excellent hunting is to be had all over the US.

If you're looking for somewhere to stay and hunt, take a look at our hunting leases. Many of our leases offer lodging, stands, feeders, and feed. We've got all of your hunting needs covered! 

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