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Which State in the Midwest is the Best for Whitetail Deer Hunting

Which State in the Midwest is the Best for Whitetail Deer Hunting?

I have been a Whitetail Outfitter in the Midwest for 13 years. I have watched the personalities of the Midwestern States change due to the popularity of the deer hunting here. While our whitetail deer outfitter website contains much information on each of the States we are in where we hunt deer, I thought it might be wise to post a new article on the current status of Illinois deer hunting, Iowa deer hunting, Missouri deer hunting, Kansas deer hunting , and Ohio deer hunting. Afterall the biggest question is, “Which Midwestern State is the best for whitetail deer hunting?” Even if you have your next trip selection narrowed down to IMB Outfitters, we still present hunting in 5 States and are working hard on another State for 2012, as well as a wild hog division. Thus let us look deep into THE TRUTH surrounding the aforementioned states as well as whitetail deer hunting in the Midwest.

13 years ago I recall boarding clients at a nasty little house and sleeping in my truck with an alarm clock in order to get the rest needed to guide whitetail deer hunters in Pike County, Illinois. This was just how I started without a clue of where IMB Outfitters was headed. (With all the fancy lodges and thousands of acres of prime ground, leading the way in 2011 among Midwestern Whitetail Outfitters.) Much time has elapsed since the “good old days”, and I have literally watched the deer herds in each State, as well as deer behavior in each State change. Some has been, for the good of whitetail deer hunting and some for the bad. Because I am an honest man I will attempt to paint an honest picture of what Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio hold for your next deer hunting adventure.

First you know I gotta preach a little bit. The reason I have to preach a little bit is because the very devices that irritate me are the same things that have posed negative effects on deer hunting. However many thing have posed positive effects on whitetail deer hunting. For example: Quality Deer Management Programs, While I respect many celebrities in the hunt industry it is also true that we have witnessed some hideous things occur. The MOST HIDEOUS event I have witnessed is watching outfitters in keynote locations such as Pike County Illinois go get a real estate license and groom wealthy East Coast business men for real estate purchases of hunting ground. The reason this has been hideous is because it is my opinion as a local resident that many of the farms that have sold have in a word been “average” in regard to hunting quality. I watch as hunt celebrities attach their names to each real estate sale to risk their character and reputation for money. As I have said before watch out for any whitetail outfitter or hunt celebrity that is trying to sell you a farm. (I sure with I could name some names for you but you know that would create a liability for IMB.)

I’ve also watched as about every country boy in the Midwest has attempted to become either an outfitter or a television hunt celebrity. Truth is there are few “dinosaurs” (knowledgeable whitetail outfitters) left that truly know what they are doing, such as IMB with 13 years of full time experience and multiple awards and sponsors. This has made many a hunter skeptical and many a beginning outfitter jealous.

Another thing I have witnessed is many hunt products sold to naïve consumers in the hunt industry, endorsed by hunt celebrities which do not work. Oh how I am sick of hunting products being sold that don’t work and everyone buying them because a popular hunt celebrity endorsed them. Think before you purchase.

In conclusion to the preaching, I want to also say that it is my opinion that much of the hunting footage we are watching on the television is being filmed within the constraints of 20 acre high fences in an effort to sell hunt real estate and products. In fact I can prove much of it is. Don’t believe everything you see. I have literally been asked by more than one hunt celebrity to go to a 20 acre high fence and shoot tame deer for television programs, and then say we were in the wild. I REFUSE TO DO THIS, EVEN IF IT KEEPS ME OFF THE TELEVISION SHOWS. IMB will never jeopardize their character and integrity for money. Perhaps I’m getting grumpy in my mid life age of 45, but to shoot animals behind a fence and then claim to be in the wild should be treated as false advertisement and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In a word this type of deer hunting is sickening. In fact I call it “shopping.”

These types of situations have created a hunt industry that is thriving but is not flawness. Whatever happened to good old fashioned honest hunting? The truth is that honesty and whitetail hunting still walk hand in hand however the hunter needs to be know they are hunting with the right whitetail outfitter. While this article is not a sales pitch but will concentrate rather on “What State you should hunt for whitetail deer in the Midwest”, the truth is IMB Outfitters provides more content than any other deer outfitter in the nation online, possesses 34 sponsors (15 of which are Fortune 500 Companies), has been in the industry 13 full time years, is in the Hall of Fame with North American Whitetail, and won more awards in the hunting industry than any other whitetail outfitting service in my opinion. Thus in this day and age I would select IMB Outfitters for my next hunt due to the sheer fact no other whitetail outfitter compares.

NOW WITH THAT OUT OF THE WAY. LET’S GET BACK TO BUSINESS AT HAND. What State should you book your next trophy whitetail deer hunt in? Let us investigate each State that is producing monster bucks on a consistent basis.

Iowa Deer Hunting is perhaps the best of any State in the nation as long as you stay within the constraints of Zone 5. Zone 5 is located in extreme South Central Iowa and is literally rewriting the Boone and Crockett Record Books. To God be the Glory, however I have harvested 18 record book bucks, am on 34 pro staffs in the hunt industry, an accomplished Outdoor Writer, and have been a Whitetail Deer Outfitter for 13 years. Iowa without a doubt in the camps of IMB is second to none. It is here that your dreams of a Boone and Crockett buck will best be served. Of course you can’t guarantee anyone a 170 inch plus buck, however if I had to pick just one location to try and kill a “Booner” it would be Iowa, Zone 5, with IMB Outfitters.

The Boone and Crockett Club indicates a 1.4 million to 1 chance exists in regard to a hunter ever killing a whitetail buck scoring over 170 inches. In 2009 I watched 20 men get 14 shot opportunities at bucks over 170 inches with IMB Outfitters. A 196 inch hit the dirt as well as two other Booners. Getting a chance to shoot a buck in our camps in Iowa with a gun whether it be the 1st gun hunt, the 2nd gun hunt, or the late muzzleloader hunt that scores between 130 and 150 is almost a certainty. Ernie Calderone states, “I hunted with IMB Outfitters in Iowa in 2010 in Iowa. I had 13 record book buck opportunities the first 2 hours of hunting at deer over 140 inches. I finally got sick of watching it all and killed a 164 inch bruiser.” This is the type of hunting that awaits you with IMB Outfitters in Iowa.

Iowa has that mystique wherein just about anything is possible and does happen. Think of this for a minute. While it is hard to get a Iowa bow tag it is almost a sure bet you will get a gun tag in Iowa. In fact I know hunters that have drawn 3 years in a row on gun tags in Iowa. Thus what you need to know is despite the fact IMB Outfitters is the largest and highest quality whitetail deer outfitting service in the Nation, IMB has not taken more than 7 bowhunters in any year for at least 5 years in Iowa. Therefore when Iowa gun hunters take to the field with IMB they are literally headed to locations that have not been hunted. That spells success for hunters of deer in Iowa.

To obtain a Iowa bowtag the hunter purchases a preference point for 2 years at the cost of $50 per year, and then normally year 3 the hunter will draw a tag. This is an awesome experience. In 2011 every single one of the Iowa bowhunters of IMB killed a record book buck. That again is KILL. Not shot opportunity. Wow!

NOTE: Here is some Iowa information straight from Iowa DNR in regard to regulations, history of Iowa deer hunting, etc.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were reported to be quite abundant when white settlers arrived in Iowa in the early 1800's. Although the clearing and cultivating of land for agriculture may have initially improved the suitability of the landscape for deer, uncontrolled exploitation for food and hides rapidly reduced deer numbers. By 1880 deer were rarely sighted in much of the state and in 1898 the deer season was legally closed. By this time deer had been virtually eliminated from all parts of the state.

Reestablishment of Deer
Reestablishment of deer into the state can be traced to escapes and releases from captive herds and translocation and natural immigration from deer herds in surrounding states. A conservative estimate of the population in 1936 placed statewide numbers at between 500 and 700 animals. This small herd grew steadily. By 1950 deer were reported in most counties and the statewide estimate topped 10,000. Concentrations in some areas were beginning to cause problems by damaging agricultural crops. In response to these problems the first modern deer season was held in December of 1953 and 4,000 deer were killed. Currently, the deer herd is estimated to be about 200,000 after the hunting season, and harvests have approached 100,000 in recent years.

Although deer are normally associated with forested areas, deer will utilize many different types of habitat as long as the area provides adequate cover. Examples of these types of areas include brushy draws and fencelines, marshes, and grassy areas like those provided by the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Standing corn also provides ideal habitat for part of the year since it provides food, cover and easy travel lanes. Deer utilize almost all plants for food at one time or another during the year. Deer feeding habits can best be described as being erratically selective as deer will sample many plants while feeding but often utilize a single source of food for the majority of their diet.

Deer Do Well in Iowa
The white-tail's ability to thrive in Iowa is likely the result of an abundant, reliable food source and a winter climate where snow depths rarely exceed 12" for a prolonged length of time. These factors combine to allow deer to come through the "winter bottleneck" in excellent condition. The excellent nutrition also enables deer to have high reproductive rates. Many deer in Iowa have a single fawn their first year and 2 fawns each subsequent year. Deer in the wild can probably maintain these high reproductive rates until they are 10 years old. Past research in Iowa has found that 8 to 12% of adult does have 3 fawns.

Another reason that deer do so well in Iowa is that they are very mobile. Although many deer stay near the area where they were born, a significant number leave and travel to new areas before establishing a core area. These core areas may change seasonally with deer shifting between wintering areas and breeding areas. These movements allow deer to fill voids left open due to deaths and easily pioneer into new areas when habitat is suitable. High rates of movement occur during 2 periods of the year. The first is in the spring when deer move to their fawning areas. Many of last years fawns are forced to find areas of their own at this time. The second period is in the fall during the breeding season. The breeding season begins in mid-October and runs through mid-January, although the peak of activity occurs during the first 3 weeks of November.

Careful management of deer populations by man has also played a crucial role in allowing deer numbers to return to the levels enjoyed today. Management consists of carefully regulating the harvest since hunting provides the only major source of mortality for deer today. Unchecked, Iowa's deer herd could grow at a rate of 20% to 40% each year. At this rate, deer numbers would double in as few as 3 years. With Iowa's abundant agricultual crops providing food, densities could potentially reach 100 or more deer per square mile before natural regulatory mechanisms would begin to affect deer health and slow the rate of growth. Deer numbers this high would cause economic hardship to Iowa's landowners as well as alter the natural vegetative community. Maintaining a deer population in balance with the wants and needs of the people in the state is a difficult task, but hunting is the only viable management option to achieve this goal.


Missouri has been under a 4 pt. antler restriction wherein the buck must have 4 points on one side of the rack for almost 6 years now. The restrictions began in the Counties of Macon, Shelby, and Knox. It is these North Central and North Eastern Counties where one MUST hunt Missouri. If you get into other areas of Missouri you will be disappointed, however these counties are freaking awesome. I have watched Missouri deer hunting come in a close 2nd to Iowa deer hunting for many years now. With all the publicity that Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin receive little ole Missouri can soon be forgotten but don’t be foolish and underestimate Missouri deer hunting.

The 2011 success rates for getting our whitetail deer hunters a shot in Missouri were as follows: (any percentage above 100% simply means we had more chances to shoot record book deer than we had hunters in camp.)
Nonrut Bow 137%, PreRut Bow 150%, Rut Bow 147 %, 1st Gun 166%, 2nd Gun 130 %, with late muzzleloader still to come.
It is in Missouri the hunter can kill 3 legal bucks, making the State even more exciting. Combo hunts of bow and gun are very rewarding here with IMB Outfitters. Take home multiple bucks in 2012 from Missouri.

Literally due to the fact Missouri deer hunting doesn’t get the due media attention it deserves it continues to fly under the radar, as what I deem to be the 2nd best State for deer hunting in the United States of America. Yeah I said it.
The problem with Missouri deer hunting is that Missouri is very strange in that, most of the land tracts are below average. It takes many years of wisdom and research to land awesome farms. Picking a lease in this State is sheer work. I have leased Missouri deer hunting farms over 13 years that looked awesome that turned out to be nothing short of my imagination running wild. However as a 45 year resident of Missouri, if I know anything it would be Missouri deer hunting.

Missouri deer hunting allows the hunter to use rifles during the rut, which is something no other of the 5 States offer. Troy Shirery, IMB Guide, states, “If you can’t kill a buck with a rifle during the rut in Missouri on IMB Outfitters land tracts, you must have really bad luck.” Troy is so correct with this statement. I wish I could tell you everyone kills a trophy buck in Missouri but I can tell you this. Very few do not kill a shooter buck with a rifle in Missouri whether its 1st Gun or 2nd Gun unless they miss the shot. In fact IMB rebooked over 95% of its 2nd Gun hunters. Now that’s saying something to rebook over 95% of your 2nd gun. 1st gun always rebooks strong, but 2nd gun can sometimes be challenging because everyone believes the 2nd hunt is not as good. Not so. Even the late muzzleloader hunting is awesome in Missouri which occurs around December 16 and runs for 12 days or so.

Simply put, you must hunt Missouri and forget all the “hype”. Also tags can be purchased right over the counter at WalMart.

NOTE: Here is some general information about Missouri deer hunting. The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife. During presettlement times, the whitetail was abundant in Missouri, especially in the more fertile and diverse habitats of northern Missouri. The influx of European settlers to Missouri during the last half of the 19th century coincided with a rapid decline in the deer population. Unrestricted market hunting and habitat destruction, such as cutting, burning, farming and grazing forest lands, contributed most to this decline.
Token laws restricting the killing of deer were passed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but they went largely unenforced. In 1925, the state’s deer herd was estimated to be only around 400. In response to these findings, the Missouri State Legislature declared deer season closed and made the first substantial effort to enforce its regulation. At the same time, deer brought to Missouri from Michigan were released onto five refuges in the Ozarks. In 1931, deer season reopened but resulted in a small harvest, which indicated a low population that was stable or declining.
Only when the first Conservation Commission formed in 1937 did significant efforts to restore the whitetail begin to succeed. The Commission closed deer-hunting season from 1938 to 1943. During this closure, additional deer were stocked from Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and existing refuges within the state. Enforcement of the Wildlife Code of Missouri by professionally trained conservation agents helped deter poaching. By 1944, the statewide deer population soared to 15,000, and Missouri held its first deer season since the recovery effort had begun.
Missouri’s deer management program has come a long way since 1944. That year, 7,557 hunters took 583 deer during a two-day, bucks-only season in 20 southern Missouri counties. In recent years, nearly 500,000 gun and bow hunters typically harvest around 300,000 deer annually during statewide seasons. Missourians can take pride in the widespread restoration of this major wildlife species.
Successful deer management requires flexibility in response to changing conditions. The white-tailed deer is strongly affected by hunter pressure; populations can be underharvested or overharvested. The penalties for either are great. With underharvest, crop damage and deer-vehicle accidents may increase. Overharvest means several years of slow recovery, especially in Ozark habitat where forage quality is lower. Successful management is maintaining the delicate harvest balance.
Many tools are necessary to accomplish this balancing act. In the 1950s and early 1960s, Missouri had short any-deer seasons. As hunting pressure increased, this type of management became outdated because harvest of does could not be controlled. Since then, deer management has gradually evolved from a quota system based on deer management units to a county-based system where quotas are no longer used. Today harvest and deer populations are managed by allowing various numbers of archery and firearms antlerless permits to be used in each county.
The firearms deer-hunting season is now composed of different portions that provide the varied hunting opportunities Missourians enjoy. The current season structure accommodates different hunting methods and styles, and also specific user groups. Consequently, it satisfies the great demand for deer hunting without harming the resource, and also provides multiple weekends of hunting for those who cannot hunt on weekdays.

Pike County Illinois deer hunting continues to produce some of the best deer hunting in the Midwest. Pike County is “what it is”. It’s so good, it’s famous. Who hasn’t heard of Pike County Illinois deer hunting? In fact according to all record books, Pike County Illinois has placed more deer in the record books than any other County in the Nation. I will agree that this County is not the Pike County Illinois that is was 10 years ago, however with dozens of outfitters the Quality Deer Management Programs that are in place from farm to farm have produced a situation wherein the whole County is managed strictly to produce monster record book bucks and that is exactly what is does. Pike County Illinois continues to be the “thing” that no matter the pressure the results are phenomenal.

While it is controversial to talk bad about the competition, let’s visit the biggest problem I see with Pike County Illinois in the year 2011. It appears many major Pike County Illinois Outfitters possess real estate licenses and when you go to hunt with them they are literally grooming their hunters for real estate sales, giving special treatment to the richest men in their camps in order to sell them a farm. This is dishonest in my opinion, as the outfitters who do this type of thing are not providing outfitting services of high quality, but rather looking for real estate prospects. Also with the growing interest in Pike County Illinois there have been also many lower level whitetail outfitters that literally just have the best intentions in the world but don’t’ have a clue what they are doing. THUS WITH ALL DUE RESPECT. When you book a deer hunt in Pike County Illinois, go with a responsible whitetail outfitter with plenty of experience like IMB Outfitters.

Any deer hunting County that is famous has many snags and traps wherein a fella could spend his money at the wrong place. (I’m I being too honest?)

NOTE: Here is some historical information on Pike County Illinois deer hunting. Illinois has gained world renown for our deer population - and particularly for our big bucks. Illinois’ modern firearm deer season began in 1957, after being closed for more than 50 years, and white-tail herd growth and hunting opportunities have expanded ever since.

Reports during the early 1800s indicate that deer were more abundant than when Europeans first began settling the area. The population grew in response to reduced pressure from predators, as people eliminated wolves and cougars, and from an increase in available edge-habitat as forests were cleared to make way for agriculture. The large numbers did not last long. White-tailed deer were virtually eliminated from Illinois by the late 1800's due to over-hunting, the lack of hunting seasons and regulations, and intensive land use changes.
Prior to the 1950s, occasional escapes and releases of deer from privately-owned preserves, translocations conducted by the Illinois Department of Conservation (currently IDNR) and the United States Forest Service, and possibly immigration of deer from adjacent states led to the reintroduction of white-tailed deer in Illinois. Even into the 1970s, it was not that common to see deer in Illinois. However, the high reproductive potential of healthy white-tailed deer, their ability to rapidly colonize suitable habitat, and favorable land use practices resulted in a rapid increase in deer numbers and distribution statewide.
By 1950, white-tailed deer were known to inhabit 68 Illinois counties, and 33 counties were opened for deer hunting in 1957. By 1976, every county except the four counties in the Chicago metropolitan area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, and Lake) were opened to firearm deer hunting. In 2004, the western portion of Kane County was also opened.
The numbers of white-tailed deer have increased substantially during the past 25 years. This population increase has been mirrored by increases in annual hunter harvests and hunter success rates. Hunters harvested record numbers of deer every year during the 1980s while (firearm) hunter success appeared to stabilize at 45-47 percent. During the 1980 firearm deer season, 20,700 deer were harvested by 75,800 permittees statewide compared to a peak harvest of 123,792 deer with 329,940 permits in 2005. Projections based upon population trend data indicate a stable to slightly declining statewide population from 2004 through 2008.
A large deer population provides ample opportunities for those who enjoy watching, photographing, or hunting white-tailed deer. Unfortunately, higher deer numbers statewide have also contributed to increased deer-vehicle accidents. Reported accidents involving white-tailed deer peaked at 25,847 in 2004 and since then have been in slight decline to 24,212 in 2008. This type of deer-human interaction is probably most pronounced in the four highly urbanized counties in northeastern Illinois, with Cook County ranking highest among Illinois counties in the number of reported deer-vehicle collisions on state highways. Additionally, deer may pose a threat to human safety when allowed to reside on airport properties and to wander unimpeded onto active runways.
Deer dispersal movements can result in deer appearing in areas of high human activity including urban centers and fenced compounds. Reflections in windows can cause deer to jump into and through windows in much the same way birds collide with reflections in windows. In areas of high deer density, deer can also cause extensive agricultural losses; damage to nursery and orchard stock, ornamental plantings, cemeteries, and golf courses; and the loss of natural vegetation that negatively impacts important ecosystem functions.
Due to the increase in negative deer-human interactions statewide, the Illinois deer hunting seasons were significantly modified during 1991. The firearm season was lengthened from 6 days to 7 days, a 3-day muzzleloader season was added during December, a 3-day antlerless-only handgun season was added during January 1992, an additional antlerless-only archery permit was made available, and emphasis (via permit allocation and public education) was placed on the need to harvest more female deer. Beginning in 1995, deer hunters were able to purchase archery deer permits over-the-counter (OTC) from license vendors throughout the state. Each OTC archery permit consisted of one either-sex permit and one antlerless-only permit, in an effort to increase the issuance of antlerless-only tags. No limit was placed on the number of permits that an individual could purchase, but in 1996 a limit of two antlered bucks was adopted to alleviate hunter concerns about buck age structure. The OTC archery permit program has resulted in significant increases in doe harvest during archery seasons. An antlerless-only youth deer season was added in counties with “surplus” deer in 2001; and was changed to a statewide, any deer season in 2007. The handgun season was changed to “late-winter” season allowing the use of any legal firearm in January 2005, and use of unfilled previous fall’s firearm/ muzzleloader permits beginning January 2007.
Joint Task Force recommendations were implemented in 2009. These recommendations included: 1) expanding the late-winter season to 7 days (adding 4 days in late-December/ early-January), with OTC permits available in open counties as “limit 1” or “unlimited” based upon doe harvest needs, 2) adding 3 days to archery, concluding with late-winter season, and 3) adding OTC permit issuance for youth, Chronic Wasting Disease deer seasons, and firearm/ muzzleloader permits remaining after random daily draw period were made available OTC, up to county quotas.
Deer harvest quotas have been, and will continue to be, set on a county-by-county basis. A county is the smallest unit (with the exception of public sites) that the IDNR has the data or personnel to manage effectively. Allowable deer densities must be based upon biological as well as social and economic considerations, must be determined on a site-specific basis but in a regional context, and must be continually evaluated over time.

We never have a year wherein hunters do not want to hunt Kansas. Kansas deer hunts provide the largest whitetail deer in all the nation. Kansas is the home of booners. In fact Kansas deer hunting ranks as the #5 State in the Nation for number of deer in the record books despite the fact is was almost impossible to obtain tags in Kansas until 2010. Kansas is definitely the place to kill the biggest deer of your life. Those Kansas bucks have mass, mass, and more mass!

The very reason a hunter can expect to see monster bucks in Unit 11 of Kansas is due to the literal truth that prior to 2010 a lottery system to obtain tags was in place that made it almost impossible for any non resident to hunt. Now Kansas allows non residents to obtain a tag easily, thus we live in a time period wherein we can go to Kansas deer hunt and pursue old giant boone and crockett bucks that have been produced because of this transitional period.

If Kansas has any problem it would be that the deer population is lower than that of its bordering States such as Missouri or Iowa. Thus when you go to Kansas one can expect to see a dozen deer a day, which can be less than entertaining however when you get a shot at a buck it is usually the deer of a lifetime. Thus you must have patience to book a Kansas deer hunt.

Tags are obtained easily by phone with our help for both an early muzzleloader hunt, bow, or their rifle season in December. Kansas rocks for nasty big old deer that perhaps will be the deer of your lifetime if that’s what your looking for.

NOTE: Kansas deer hunting information is as follows. Whitetailed deer numbers have increased dramatically in the last 20 years, and they can be found virtually statewide. Highest whitetail densities are in the eastern one third of the state or Unit 11. Whitetails in Kansas are abundant here where both shelter and food exist in plenty.
The State of Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department provides the following information regarding big game and whitetail deer hunting in Kansas, “Big game hunting in Kansas is a relatively new heritage because nearly all big game species were extirpated from the state by 1900. Prior to settlement, the prairies of Kansas were home to tremendous herds of bison, elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. In the timbered areas of eastern Kansas, white tail deer are abundant. The first modern deer season was held in 1965, and permits were limited. Today, white-tailed deer thrive statewide and permits for residents are sold across the counter. Mule deer are still common in western Kansas, through permits to hunt them are limited. Pronghorn antelope are limited to far-western counties where large areas of native prairie are still found, and residents can hunt them if they receive a coveted permit in the annual drawing. Similarly, elk are hunted through very limited permits. The only free-ranging elk herd in Kansas is found on the Fort Riley Military Reservation in Riley County. Hunters can receive a Kansas Trophy Certificate if the antlers or horns from a deer or antelope they kill achieves a minimum score. The department also maintains an unofficial Top 20 list for deer and antelope.
Mule deer are restricted to the western one-third of the state, primarily on the High Plains, Smoky Hills, and Red Hills regions. As you travel west to east, mule deer are less abundant, and whitetail numbers increase.
Whitetailed deer numbers have increased dramatically in the last 20 years, and they can be found virtually statewide wherever suitable habitat exists. Highest whitetail densities are in the eastern one-third of the state. Whitetails have adapted well to Kansas’ modern landscape, finding cover in natural woodlands, shelterbelts, old homesteads and grasslands, and abundant food in cropfields


Ohio deer hunting ranks #4 of all states in regard to the number of record book bucks entered in SCI, Boone and Crockett, Buckmasters, and Pope and Young. Ohio is a great State and produces monster record book deer due to the fact hunters are not allowed to use a rifle during its firearm seasons. This gives way to longer life spans for whitetail bucks in Ohio. Of course as IMB guide John Fralas states, “The longer the life span of a buck the bigger the rack.” Frala sums this up very quickly and accurately in layman’s terms. Ohio has monster bucks due to the restrictions placed on firearms hunters during the deer season.

2011 was IMB’s first year to pursue Ohio deer. As records reflect we have seen less deer in Ohio per hunter than any other state but just as Kansas, when hunters harvest a book deer in Ohio it is a monster. Ohio however is not what I truly believe the other 4 states are. Ohio is the State which East Coast hunters want to access because it’s closer. While Ohio holds some good hunting it is not nearly as good as any other State named in this article. REMEMBER I AM A MAN THAT IS HONEST. Ohio is a great place to get on a record book deer but should only be considered for booking a hunt if you can’t literally find the time to drive the extra miles to Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, or Illinois.

This is a hard thing for me to say since I do business in Ohio, however its true. No matter where you hunt with us we will be “on” record book bucks bucks, but I will always tell the truth.

NOTE: Ohio deer hunting information is as follows. Ohio is the cheapest place to hunt of all 5 states in regard to tags.
Deer Hunting Permits
In addition to your Ohio annual hunting license, you must purchase a Deer Permit ($24) or an Antlerless Deer Permit ($15) to hunt deer in Ohio. The Deer Permit ($24) is good for an antlered or antlerless deer and is valid statewide.
The Deer Permit is valid Sept. 24, 2011 through Feb. 5, 2012.
Antlerless Deer Permits may only be purchased until November 27, 2011.
Deer Permit ($24)

The Deer Permit is good for an antlered or antlerless deer and is valid statewide. No more than one (1) antlered deer may be taken per license year. These permits may be used during any of the deer hunting seasons, for controlled hunts or in designated Urban Units. These permits may be purchased individually throughout the entire deer season. Refer to the Deer Permit Use and Bag Limits per Zone section to determine the number of Deer Permits you can use in each deer hunting zone.
Antlerless Deer Permit ($15)
Hunters are not required to buy a Deer Permit before purchasing any Antlerless Deer Permits.
Antlerless Deer Permits may be used to take antlerless deer ONLY. These permits may be purchased individually until Nov. 27, 2011. Antlerless deer permits are valid statewide between Sept. 24 and Nov. 27. Antlerless Deer Permits may be used in Zone C through Dec. 4. These permits are also valid at Division of Wildlife controlled hunts, the early muzzleloader season, youth deer gun season, and within designated Urban Deer Units (see Urban Deer Units). Refer to the Deer Permit Use and Bag Limits per Zone section to determine the number of Antlerless Deer Permits you can use in each deer hunting zone.

So we have hopefully given the reader the additional information one needs in order to select the next State you wish to hunt trophy deer in the Midwest. Enjoy and good hunting.

Darrin Bradley

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