5 No-Draw, Bargain Whitetail Hunts You Can Do This Year
The draw dates have all but passed. Kansas, Iowa, Montana, Colorado. Some of the best whitetail hunting in the nation -- and unless you applied for a license or are a resident, you aren't going to be hunting any of them this year.
But don't worry. There are plenty of options still on the table in states that offer over-the-counter tags and darned good values to boot. Here are five solid options.
Nebraska offers over-the-counter tags and will set nonresidents back just under $300 with the required hunting license and deer permit.
To save cash, camping is allowed on most public wildlife management area properties.
On paper, Nebraska doesn't offer much in the way of publicly-owned land. But the state has an excellent access program that opens private lands to public hunting and when combined with the state's wildlife areas, means you've got a fair amount of available ground. Outfitting operations also offer some fair prices if you're looking to hunt private ground with a little help scouting.
Nebraska produces some darned good whitetails every year and is somewhat overlooked as a top destination for deer.
Kentucky was once a "sleeper" state for big whitetails. Not anymore. The secret is out and Kentucky has been a top producer of top-end whitetails for a number of years and is well-represented each year in the Realtree Rack Report ranks.
Kentucky tags are available over-the-counter and are fairly-priced at $120 plus $140 for a hunting license.
You'll find ample public lands across the state and plenty of outfitting operations as well to choose from.
Kentucky also offers a chance at a velvet whitetail thanks to its September archery opener.
I've never personally hunted Kentucky but have heard enough positive reports from guys I know and trust to comfortably place it on the list.
This choice may surprise a few people. But it likely won't surprise anyone who has chased whitetails in Indiana.
The state offers top-notch public ground -- and plenty of it -- in the southern portions of the state where big, hardwood ridges and rugged terrain dominate. And big bucks call the place home.
Indiana also has over-the-counter tags and will set nonresidents back just $150. Indiana is a one-buck state but antlerless tag are usually available as well.
Bow season opens in October and gun season comes in mid-November. Plenty of small towns dot the landscape and that often means no-frills motels with bargain pricing and mom-and-pop diners with great fare.
I admit to having a love-hate relationship with Ohio.
Living in Michigan, I've hunted neighboring Ohio several times. I've never killed a deer there. In fact, I've never even came close. But I have seen just enough big bucks to keep me coming back.
Tags are over-the-counter and a bargain at less than $150 ($125 hunting license and $24 deer permit).
There's a ton of public hunting areas in all regions save for the extreme northern parts of the state. But the hunting can be tough. Southern Ohio is hilly, rugged terrain with vast expanses of hardwoods.
You'll need to know how to hunt big timber if you plan to hunt Ohio. But there are some truly big bucks waiting to be figured out.
Oklahoma is another state that I've never had the pleasuse of hunting for whitetails but I've spent a fair amount of time there hunting turkeys and saw enough in that time to make me add the state to this list.
For starters, Oklahoma offers a uniquel mix of terrain that is different from what most whitetail hunters have experienced. It's open, expansive and cool. At first glance, you'll swear there's no way that whitetails live there. And then you'll see them. Big, heavy beasts.
Oklahoma doesn't have an abundance of public land but there is enough to make things interesting. And, if you're willing to knock on a few doors, you may find access to private land still an option.
Tags are available over-the-counter and cost $280 and you can take two bucks (additional permit is required).