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8 Best States For Hunting (2024)

Last updated 03/29/2024 by

Benjamin Locke

Edited by

We highlight the top 8 hunting states in the United States, each offering unique hunting experiences due to their diverse ecosystems, game species, and conservation efforts. States like Alaska and Colorado are praised for their vast wilderness and abundant game populations, while others like Arizona and Arkansas offer specialized hunting opportunities. We also emphasize the importance of sustainable hunting practices and the role of conservation in maintaining healthy wildlife populations.
Hunting is different in each state because of the rules, animals, and seasons. Some states have lots of deer, while others might focus on birds or bears. Each place has its own rules about when and what you can hunt.

The 8 best states for hunting in the United States

  • Alaska – Known for its vast wilderness and diverse game species.
  • Colorado – Famous for its large population of elk and beautiful mountainous terrain.
  • Montana – Offers a wide range of hunting experiences across vast public lands.
  • Wyoming – Favored for its resident hunting opportunities and diverse game.
  • Arizona – Highlighted for the “Quail Trifecta,” offering unique bird hunting experiences.
  • Arkansas – Recognized for its black bear and rabbit hunting opportunities.
  • Wisconsin – Known for its rich hunting traditions and wide range of species.
  • Idaho – Offers diverse hunting opportunities, including deer, elk, and bear.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Alaska: The last frontier

Homer alaska bayside
Alaska is renowned among hunters for its vast wilderness and diverse wildlife, making it a top hunting destination. Here’s why:

Diverse game species

From big game like moose and brown bear to small game and waterfowl, Alaska offers a rich variety of species. This diversity provides hunters with opportunities not found elsewhere.

Vast public lands

With millions of acres of accessible public land, hunters in Alaska can enjoy secluded and abundant hunting grounds, away from overhunting pressures.

Unique hunting experiences

The challenging terrain and remote locations offer adventurous hunts that demand skill and endurance, providing a deeper connection with nature.

Regulations and conservation

Alaska’s hunting regulations aim to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, balancing hunting activities with wildlife preservation.

Hunting seasons and accessibility

Carefully regulated seasons and various licenses cater to both residents and non-residents, making Alaska’s hunting experiences accessible to all.

Alaska’s Subsistence Hunting

In Alaska, subsistence hunting goes beyond sport, playing a crucial role in the cultural and physical survival of many indigenous communities. This practice, deeply rooted in respect for the land and wildlife, is a way of life, with traditions passed down through generations. Subsistence hunters balance modern regulations with ancient practices, ensuring that their heritage remains alive while contributing to conservation efforts.

Colorado: A hunter’s paradise

Tellurdie main street
Colorado is a haven for hunters, offering majestic landscapes and a wide array of wildlife. Here’s what makes it special:

Abundant elk population

Colorado is famous for having one of the largest elk herds in the world, making it a premier destination for elk hunters seeking both quantity and quality. One of Colorado’s most unique hunting traditions occurs during the elk bugling season in the fall. Hunters use calls to mimic elk bugles, a method that requires skill and understanding of elk behavior. This tradition is not only a hunting technique but also a way for hunters to immerse themselves in the wilderness, experiencing the natural world in a profound way.

Diverse terrain

From the Rocky Mountains to vast plains, Colorado’s varied landscapes provide habitats for different game species, including deer, bear, and mountain lions, offering hunters a variety of experiences.

Public access

A significant portion of Colorado’s land is public, including national forests and BLM lands, providing ample hunting opportunities without the need for private land access.

Conservation efforts

Colorado’s wildlife management practices are designed to sustain healthy populations of game species, ensuring a balance between hunting and conservation.

Montana: The big sky hunting ground

Bozeman main street
Montana, known as the “Big Sky Country,” offers hunters an expansive and wild landscape teeming with game. Here’s why it’s a top choice:

Extensive public lands

With millions of acres of public lands, including national forests and wilderness areas, Montana offers unparalleled access to prime hunting territories.

Scenic beauty

The state’s stunning natural beauty, from mountain ranges to river valleys, enhances the hunting experience, making each outing memorable.

Conservation and management

Montana’s wildlife management strategies focus on maintaining healthy game populations and habitats, ensuring sustainable hunting opportunities.

Wide range of game

Montana is home to a variety of game species, including elk, deer, and antelope, providing hunters with numerous options and challenges.

Wyoming: The untamed wilderness

jackson overhead view
Wyoming stands as a beacon for hunters seeking the essence of wilderness. Its expansive landscapes and robust wildlife populations create a hunting experience that’s both raw and rewarding. Here’s what sets Wyoming apart:

Premier Pronghorn Antelope hunting

Wyoming is unrivaled in its pronghorn antelope populations, offering the best antelope hunting in the United States. This abundance makes it a must-visit for hunters aiming for this swift and elusive game.

Diverse game options

Beyond antelope, Wyoming’s rugged terrain is home to elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep, providing a rich tapestry of hunting opportunities across its vast plains and mountainous regions.

Large public lands

With access to millions of acres of public lands, including national forests and BLM lands, hunters in Wyoming enjoy a sense of freedom and adventure, exploring some of the most pristine hunting grounds available.

Conservation and sustainability

Wyoming’s commitment to wildlife management and conservation ensures the sustainability of its game populations, offering ethical hunting experiences that contribute to the state’s natural balance.

Arizona: A hunter’s playground

Arizona title loans
Arizona may be known for its deserts, but it offers a surprisingly diverse array of hunting experiences. From its arid landscapes to lush forests, Arizona is a treasure trove for hunters. Here’s why:

The quail trifecta

Arizona is a paradise for bird hunters, offering the unique opportunity to hunt the “Quail Trifecta”: Gambel’s, scaled, and Mearns’ quail. This diversity attracts bird hunters from across the globe.

Big game variety

In addition to its bird hunting, Arizona boasts significant populations of mule deer, elk, and even bighorn sheep, providing big game hunters with a variety of challenging pursuits.

Unique desert hunting

Hunting in Arizona’s desert regions offers a unique experience, where hunters can pursue game like the elusive Coues deer, adding a distinct challenge and beauty to the hunting experience.

Access and conservation

Arizona provides ample public land access through its state and federal lands, coupled with conservation efforts that ensure sustainable game populations and habitat preservation.

Arkansas: The natural state’s hunting haven

Bentonville Street
Arkansas, often celebrated for its natural beauty and diverse ecosystems, is a hidden gem for hunters. From the dense forests of the Ozarks to the fertile floodplains of the Mississippi Delta, Arkansas offers a rich hunting environment. Here’s what makes Arkansas stand out:

Abundant waterfowl hunting

Arkansas is a premier destination for duck and waterfowl hunting, particularly in the Mississippi Flyway. The state’s wetlands and rice fields provide ideal habitats, attracting hunters from all over for some of the best waterfowl hunting in the country.

Diverse game opportunities

Beyond waterfowl, Arkansas offers excellent deer, turkey, and bear hunting opportunities. The state’s varied landscapes support a rich array of wildlife, providing hunters with a multitude of options.

Accessible public lands

With a significant amount of public lands, including national forests and wildlife management areas, Arkansas ensures hunters have access to prime spots for pursuing their game of choice.

Commitment to conservation

Arkansas’s wildlife management practices focus on sustainability and habitat conservation, ensuring healthy game populations for future generations of hunters.

Idaho: A wilderness hunter’s dream

Sun Valley drone view
Idaho, with its rugged mountains, vast forests, and river valleys, is a paradise for hunters seeking solitude and adventure in the wilderness. The state’s diverse landscapes are home to a wide variety of game, making it a prime destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the natural world. Here’s why Idaho is a standout choice for hunters:

Exceptional big game hunting

Idaho is renowned for its big game hunting opportunities, including elk, mule deer, and mountain lions. The state’s expansive wilderness areas provide the perfect backdrop for challenging and rewarding hunts.

Varied ecosystems

From the Rocky Mountains to the Snake River Plain, Idaho’s varied ecosystems support a rich diversity of wildlife. This variety allows hunters to pursue different types of game across changing terrains, offering a unique experience with each hunt.

Access to public lands

Idaho boasts millions of acres of accessible public lands, including national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas. This accessibility ensures that hunters can find their ideal hunting grounds without the need for private land access.

Commitment to wildlife management

Idaho’s wildlife management practices are focused on maintaining healthy populations of game species and preserving their habitats. The state’s efforts in conservation ensure sustainable hunting opportunities for future generations.


Do I need a hunting license to hunt in these states?

Yes, all states require hunters to have a valid hunting license. The requirements for obtaining a license vary by state and may include completing a hunter education course.

Can non-residents hunt in these states?

Non-residents can hunt in these states but often need to obtain a specific non-resident license, which may be more expensive and sometimes limited in availability compared to resident licenses.

Are there any age restrictions for hunting in these states?

Most states have minimum age requirements for hunters and may require young hunters to be accompanied by an adult. The specific age at which you can start hunting varies by state.

How do I know what hunting season it is?

Hunting seasons vary by state, species, and sometimes even by region within a state. It’s important to check the official state wildlife agency’s website for the most current season dates and regulations before planning your hunt.

Key takeaways

  • Alaska and Colorado are renowned for their vast wilderness and diverse game species, offering unique hunting experiences.
  • Arizona is celebrated for the “Quail Trifecta,” providing bird hunters with unique opportunities, while Arkansas is known for its waterfowl hunting.
  • States like Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho offer extensive public lands, allowing for accessible and sustainable hunting.
  • Conservation and wildlife management practices are crucial across all highlighted states, ensuring the sustainability of game populations and hunting for future generations.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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