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Best State For Hunting 2024. Our Top 9 Picks!

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I absolutely adore hunting more than anything else in this world, and as a result, have had the privilege to explore lots of states and meet hunters from all over the country (and the world). I always encourage new and experienced hunters alike to seek out new hunting adventures in unfamiliar territory when possible.

If you’re a US hunter, you quite frankly have too many places to choose from. The country is massive and almost all states offer some form of hunting opportunities, and this might feel overwhelming at times.

In this article, we’ll cover our top 9 picks for hunting in 2024 and find out once and for all: what is the best state for hunting? Trust me, the answer will not surprise you!

Man with rifle hunting in woods with dog

9. Wisconsin

Wisconsin would have to be on this list one way or another, because in addition to being the deer capital of the world – it also has the most reported active hunters with a whopping 4 million inhabitants holding a hunting license!

In addition to its abundance of white-tailed deer in a beautiful landscape, you also have tons of opportunities for turkey, upland game birds, and for the more ambitious hunter: the black bear.

Most importantly, Wisconsin provided the New York Jets with Aaron Rodgers, and that’s a big win in my book.

Check out our Wisconsin Hunting Guide to read all about its seasons, regulations, and game potential!


  • Abundance of game
  • Deep hunting tradition
  • Massive public land access


  • A LOT of hunters create a lot of hunting pressure
  • Strict hunting regulations/tag availability
  • Unpredictable weather
best state for hunting

8. Pennsylvania

In a similar vein to Wisconsin, hunting is a core part of the Keystone State’s very identity. With almost a million hunting licenses sold every year, the state offers bountiful hunting opportunities for all sorts of game and skill levels.

The real beauty of Pennsylvania hunting is the history it comes with, and almost everyone from the state that I’ve actively hunted with will tell stories of great grandfathers heading out into the same wilderness we were.

We only went small-game hunting here because of tag availability, but the state offers tons of opportunities for deer, bear, and turkey hunting as well!

Check out our Pennsylvania Hunting Guide to read all about its seasons, regulations, and game potential!


  • Gorgeous landscape (national forests!)
  • Beautiful hunting history
  • Cheap license and hunting courses!


  • Limited tag availability
  • A lot of the land is privately owned so the public parks can get busy
Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains rural landscape a rural road

7. Kansas:

Kansas is the place to go if you’re looking for a buck to hang on your wall. It has one of the healthiest and most easily accessible white-tailed deer populations in the country, and let me tell you: these bucks are gorgeous.

Because of the state’s expansive grasslands, there’s also an abundance of upland game birds!

Kansas is known for a strong commitment to wildlife conservation and responsible hunting practices, which is part of the reason why the wildlife is so healthy. They have well-managed hunting seasons and opportunities for a great variety of games outside of deer.

But the deer is the best.


  • Amazing and healthy wildlife, trophy deer all around
  • Lots of upland game birdies
  • Diverse public land


  • The best locations are on private land, in my opinion
  • A lot of predators around to watch out for
  • You have to be in the presence of Chief’s fans
Roe deer buck running through a meadow wet from morning dew in summer

6. Idaho

Looking for elk? Idaho is your place to go.

Idaho might be a surprising addition to this list for many, but hear me out: we love big game hunting, and Idaho offers by far the cheapest and easiest way to do so. They’re also one of the few states that allow for wolf tracking in an intuitive way, which just makes it such a diverse addition.

You can of course chase after lots of upland birds and white-tails — but if you’re headed out of your own state to pursue Idaho opportunities, I recommend expanding beyond your comfort zone.


  • Tons of big game opportunities + wolves!
  • All the best hunting land is public!
  • Pristine beauty


  • Tough terrain, not for the faint of heart
  • A lot of predators around
  • Not as beginner-friendly as other states on the list
Bull Elk Portrait

5. South Dakota:

South Dakota has an amazing reputation as an absolute paradise for pheasant hunting enthusiasts and is more friendly to out-of-state hunters than anywhere else.

The state has tons of options for hunting, but if you’re planning on a trip to The Pheasant State, I recommend you go after… well, pheasants.

South Dakota is also one of the only states that offer pronghorn antelope hunting, and because of the lakes and wetlands has some really great waterfowl opportunities as well.

Check out our South Dakota Hunting Guide to read all about its seasons, regulations, and game potential!


  • Rich and diverse landscape
  • A trillion pheasants
  • Out-of-state friendly


  • Pricy
  • Lower bag limits
  • It was raining sideways the whole time when we went. Get ready to embrace the elements baby!
Common pheasant walking on meadow in springtime nature

4. Colorado

If you’re looking to hunt anything that has a pulse, Colorado might just be your paradise. The state offers a tapestry of diverse hunting opportunities that few other states can offer up.

Elk? Got it. Mule deer? Check. Pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep!? You bet! All kinds of uplands birds, waterfowl, and predators to go after as well in a landscape that is world famous for its beauty.

What’s better is I heard that Russel Wilson’s house has over 12 bathrooms, so no squatting in the bushes!


  • Diverse game species, more than any other state
  • Scenic beauty beyond the human comprehension
  • Great hunting culture with lots of likeminded folks


  • Competitive tags through a draw-system
  • Altitude can quickly become an unexpected challenge
  • A lot of the hunting land is privately owned
Selective focus shot of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

3. Washington

Yes, I am biased, and no, I will not apologize for it. Washington State is truly a hidden gem for hunting enthusiasts and offers a wealth of hunting opportunities in literally the most gorgeous landscape in the world.

I will be honest: the big game tag lottery is so competitive I won’t even mention it here (there’s a reason I travel out of state so much) — but if you’re sated with waterfowl, upland birds, and small game, Washington is truly your dream destination.

Just a few hours out of Seattle and you will be amidst God’s most prized landscapes, and if you’re really lucky, you might even run into me!

Check out our Washington State Hunting Guide to read all about its seasons, regulations, and game potential!


  • The most beautiful state
  • Lots of waterfowl and upland bird access
  • Great conservation efforts


  • Seattelites might bring out the pitchforks if you tell them you’re a hunter
  • Competitive draw system makes big game hunting difficult
  • Tough terrain: better be in shape!
Single pine tree with Mount Rainer in the distance.

2. Montana

Montana is up here because it is one of the easiest states to get into hunting. Cheap license, easily accessible tags, and an abundance of games in one of the most beautiful scenic views America has to offer.

There’s not much more to say really. Montana is cheap to get into, hosts a population of truly wonderful people, and allows for accessibility to all sorts of games and terrain regardless of your preference.

Additionally, all the best hunting land is public: so assuming that you plan ahead for your license and tags, you can just get out in the wild as soon as you arrive!


  • Abundant game species
  • Tons of public land
  • Wonderful hunting culture


  • Rough weather conditions
  • Hard to get trophy tags
  • Small game hunting is in pretty rough terrain
Montana Forest and Lakes

1. Alaska

Our number one is so far ahead of all the other states it should honestly be in a league of its own. Alaska is absolutely massive, and beckons with untamed wilderness and an abundance of game species.

It is vast, it is diverse, and it will offer you an absolutely unparalleled hunting experience. Alaska isn’t at the top of all hunters’ bucket lists for nothing.

Alaska is synonymous with its iconic game animals, such as the mighty moose, majestic caribou, bears, Dall sheep, and all sorts of waterfowl by the most beautiful lakes. The thrill of pursuing these magnificent creatures amidst the rugged landscape is an adventure straight out of a storybook, and will create memories you couldn’t erase if you tried.

Alaska is the definition of Elite Hunting. If you ever have the opportunity to go out there, I cannot recommend it enough.


  • Too many to list


  • Expensive
  • Cold
Bear in Alaska

Best State for Hunting 2024 – Wrapped!

So there you have it! The Elite Hunter’s top 9 hunting destinations for 2024. Honorable mentions go out to Texas and Wyoming, as they have raving reviews on all forums I peruse — however, I haven’t had great personal experiences there so I just couldn’t bring myself to put them on the list.

Regardless, the best state for hunting will always be up to personal preference. The beauty of hunting is the variety in the sport: which means that my top picks might not be yours, and that is all good with me!

If you’re trying to give hunting a go in a new state this year, I hope you keep these 9 in mind.

Happy hunting!

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Hunter dog is passing by and the man is resting with the shotgun in the background
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