3-5 day DIY deer hunting destinations

asdew1880

New member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
17
Location
Louisville, KY
Last year I made it a point to travel to a new state for a 5 day deer hunt in Nebraska and had an awesome time getting worn out on public land and camping from my truck. I decided to try and travel to a new spot for deer hunting every year and am looking to hear any input for cool places to hunt. I'm in Louisville, KY so within 15hrs of most whitetails in the country. I plan to do at least one major western hunt so this list is more looking at everything east of the Rockies. I prefer muzzle loader/rifle hunts but not too concerned about that right now. A couple places I'm considering for this year outside of weekend trips in KY/OH:

1.) OK/KS- mostly walk in areas so not sure on being able to explore much but very different place to hunt than I'm used to.
2.) VA- Probably similair to hunting SE OH and most Appalachian states?
3.) MS- seems to have a lot of deer and public land, no idea on terrain/environment
4.) Adirondacks in NY - not too sure about pressure/deer densities but I'm assuming very low deer densities
5.) UP in MI
6.) BWCA in MN
7.) Back to NE
 

kylemcintyre67

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
157
Location
El Paso, TX
I spent 7 days in the Three Rivers/ Honobia Creek WMA of southeastern OK. Very fun time. Lots of thick timber land. OnX helps a lot in there sorting out what is public access and what isn't. I took home a little spike buck. This year I am heading to a WMA in central OK a little closer to my buddies house. Rifle season in OK is over thanksgiving week so it helps with the time off for me at least.
 

brownbear932008

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
1,624
Location
Abingdon VA.
As far as VA. The western side is very much like SE OH except deer are much smaller in size. Eastern part of the state is a much different type of hunting thick and flat coastal type terrain way more deer and better trophy potential. A really good buck is tough to find on public land in western Virginia. They are there though. Early muzzy is a good time to be in the woods pre rut.
 

Rzrbck918

Active member
Joined
Aug 13, 2016
Messages
716
Location
Bixby Oklahoma
I lived in Shelbyville for a couple years and London, KY for about 4 so Im familiar with the terrain. I now live in Northeast OKlahoma. OK has some decent places to hunt on public. I lease ground so I haven't hunted much public land except for Turkeys. That said, much of the land in SE OKlahoma is going to be dense hilly dark timber. If you are interested in different terrains, Id look in Western OK and the panhandle.
 

beagle001

Active member
Joined
Aug 14, 2015
Messages
399
Location
Central WI
Northern Wisconsin has some big woods stuff to hunt, cheap non resident tags, and is steeped in tradition.

Might be a good year to bow hunt South Dakota with some of the new limitations coming. Could be a poor year because of them too.
 

Scott85

Active member
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
415
As far as VA. The western side is very much like SE OH except deer are much smaller in size. Eastern part of the state is a much different type of hunting thick and flat coastal type terrain way more deer and better trophy potential. A really good buck is tough to find on public land in western Virginia. They are there though. Early muzzy is a good time to be in the woods pre rut.
Agreed! I will say that a lot of the National Forest in the Western part of the state produce some monsters year after year but going after a ridge running mountain buck is like banging your head against the wall. There are some military bases in the eastern part of the state that might be worth a look and have higher deer numbers than any public land.
 

WATERMAG

New member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
24
Location
Ohio
I would like to try Nebraska or Kansas myself. If would be a little different than the small woodlots we have in northwest Ohio
 

tzone

Active member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
108
Location
MN for now
I would vote for KS or the Boundary waters in MN. A deer hunter should experience both places in their lifetime.
 

FLS

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
73
Bulls Island in SC. Unique hunt and nice weather later in the season. It’s archery only and you’ll have to arrange transportation to the island.
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
467
Location
Iowa
BWCA - have spent a lot of time there spring, summer, and fall. Never saw any deer or deer sign. Now bear and moose, that's a different story. A basic rule of thumb in this area is if you are in moose habitat, deer are rare. Access is difficult because of the terrain and lack of roads. While the lakes might not freeze over until the last week of Oct or so, the narrower inlets and areas near the portages are the first to freeze up, and this can end the canoe access in a hurry. Seeing as rifle is first week of November, and ML is later, a canoe hunt is usually out of the question, eliminating the majority of the hunt area. That leaves hiking in, as ATV/snow machine is pretty restricted. If you're up for a slightly different hunt, some of the areas in the national forests in northern MN, WI, and even MI can be quite remote, and not have many hunters. This is largely due to lack of access and low deer densities. If it weren't for the wolves a lot of bucks would die of old age. It can present an opportunity for a big woods buck hunt where tracking skills can be useful, and a lot of the time may be spent just trying to locate deer. If you do try one of these areas, I'd suggest targeting food sources. Big blocks of timber don't offer much for deer to eat. Timber/marsh transitions are better, as are regrowth areas from logging or blowdowns from windstorms.
 
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thusby

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2019
Messages
79
Boundary Waters is not a deer hunting destination. I know some really good deer hunters that have hunted the entire rifle season there and struggled to cut a track. 99% of the public land is devoid of deer. The few deer in there are closer to the cities. I only live 2 hours away and I would not waste my time in there.
 

tzone

Active member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
108
Location
MN for now
BWCA - have spent a lot of time there spring, summer, and fall. Never saw any deer or deer sign. Now bear and moose, that's a different story. A basic rule of thumb in this area is if you are in moose habitat, deer are rare. Access is difficult because of the terrain and lack of roads. While the lakes might not freeze over until the last week of Oct or so, the narrower inlets and areas near the portages are the first to freeze up, and this can end the canoe access in a hurry. Seeing as rifle is first week of November, and ML is later, a canoe hunt is usually out of the question, eliminating the majority of the hunt area. That leaves hiking in, as ATV/snow machine is pretty restricted. If you're up for a slightly different hunt, some of the areas in the national forests in northern MN, WI, and even MI can be quite remote, and not have many hunters. This is largely due to lack of access and low deer densities. If it weren't for the wolves a lot of bucks would die of old age. It can present an opportunity for a big woods buck hunt where tracking skills can be useful, and a lot of the time may be spent just trying to locate deer. If you do try one of these areas, I'd suggest targeting food sources. Big blocks of timber don't offer much for deer to eat. Timber/marsh transitions are better, as are regrowth areas from logging or blowdowns from windstorms.

There are not a lot of deer up there. But you actually have to hunt them. Being in the rut, calling them can be pretty successful. Even if you get into the outskirts of the BWCA and hunt, it's quite an experience!
 

jmveverka

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
37
Location
Shenandoah County, Virginia
A few for you to add to the list to see if you want to research them:
Eastern Shore MD - Whitetails and Sika and a chance to hunt a totally different type of terrain and vegetation
Georgia - The mountain hunting would be similar to other states but also has some unique coastal opportunities. Some public hunts are on draws but building points in them is free.
Pennsylvania - lots of hunters, but there is tons of public land and the antler restrictions in the state have really increased deer quality
 

thusby

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2019
Messages
79
I’ll throw my home turf in there, Douglas County, WI . 5th ranked county in Wisconsin for Booners and piles of public land.
 

mdunc8

Active member
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
3,417
Location
Not Virginia anymore!
I grew up hunting and fishing the Blue Ridge. I found a couple nice bucks but they were needles in a field full of haystacks. If you want to spend some time in some beautiful country and not see a ton of people, do it. If you’re looking to shoot a big buck, go elsewhere.
 

crock239

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
86
Location
Iowa City, IA
I live in IA and honestly it wouldn't be real high on my list for nonresidents because tags are expensive and relatively hard to get (draw w multiple points).

The bottom two tiers of counties in IA are often considered some of the best deer hunting.....which borders MO.

MO nonresident tags I am pretty sure are OTC and comparatively cheap (especially youth tags) and I'd have to believe there are some really good bucks there. And you can rifle hunt.

KS and WI would also be interesting for sure although I haven't looked into NR tags situations
 

jlmatthew

Active member
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
1,727
Location
Colorado
Just drove across the country to take the wife back to see her folks in Pennsylvania. Of all the States we were in (KS, NE, IA, IL, IN, OH, NY, PA) I would say Iowa was the one the really grabbed my attention. Lots of deer seen from the interstate, beautiful country too! Rolling farmland with lots of treelined creekbottoms. Looked up tags and crock239 aint a kidding about the cost!

Missouri, Arkansas, Texas & Idaho is on my list for a roadtrips
 
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