Where Should I Bowhunt?

Ed S. from Indiana writes to ask about the best states to bowhunt for whitetails. “If one just looks at the very top of the Pope and Young records, what are the top five states for typical whitetails?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

If we just look at the past two years (2009, 2010), Wisconsin is far and away the top state for typicals (they have 1,088 entered in Pope and Young in the past two years), with Illinois (499), Indiana (325), Ohio (320), and Iowa (317) next. 

This is a bit misleading because Wisconsin has so many hunters. True, they have good numbers of deer, but if you put the same number of hunters you have in Wisconsin, into Illinois, then Illinois would jump to No. 1. Simply said, when you list the bucks entered into any record book by state, then the number of hunters there is part of the puzzle. 

States showing great increases in recent years are Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky. In Pennsylvania and Missouri, it’s all about new antler restriction regulations. In Indiana and Kentucky it’s about a reduction in the limit of bucks one can take per year. 

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of www.sportsmansguide.com‘s content at tkachero@sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for over 31 years.

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