Looking to build your Hunter’s Bucket List but aren’t quite sure where to start? The United States is ripe with lush lands great for hunting with a variety of game. It seems like in almost any state you can find a great place to set up camp and go hunting.
But there are six areas that really stand out to us for the mere fact that they appeal to all different types of hunters. Just check these locations out for yourselves and start planning your next hunting trip to one of them.
Clinton County, Lower Michigan
Are you a deer hunter? Every year, deer hunters flock to Clinton County in mid-Michigan because of its high deer population. Overall, most rural places in the Lower and Upper Peninsulas are good areas for hunting deer, but Clinton County is particularly packed. It is also a particularly good spot for hunting pheasants from late October through the end of December.
Pack warm though—this area gets particularly cold in the winter months and you’ll want to stay toasty while you’re patiently waiting for the right hunt to come along. Be sure to apply early for a hunting license as they are in limited supply and often run out by October.
Mountain goats can be found in Wyoming’s beautiful Beartooth Mountains, and there are plenty of areas in the state where you can bag an antelope. You can even build points for a managed area if you want to hunt a trophy pronghorn. Hunt on public ground, hire a guide, or pay a landowner fee to hunt on private property; it is up to you.
With a variety of locations and game types to hunt, Wyoming is a popular spot for hunters to visit at any time of year. There are a bunch of good outfitters, but Wyoming is also rich with DIY hunting opportunities.
The Nebraska Sandhills
This spot is becoming increasingly popular for snagging big mule buck. There is plenty of agriculture here with a lot of sprawling hills intermingling with creek bottoms. There are a lot of DIY hunting opportunities here as there are in Wyoming, but you can do an unguided hunting trip on a limited budget here without a problem.
Snag a permit for a fee and check out either the massive federal public grounds or the expansive private locations for either whitetail or mule deer. Hunting in the Nebraska Sandhills requires a lot of walking, particularly if you are after prairie chickens. Additionally, you should be prepared for plenty of elevation changes as you walk during your hunt.
The Gila National Forest, Southwest New Mexico
Stay just north of the southern border by heading to the Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico. This spot is ripe for hunting elk. The climate is mild and mostly accessible by foot although some outfitters do use horses on their backcountry expeditions to go further out than those on foot are able to reach.
There are grounds for camping if you’d like to hunt for a few days straight, or stay overnight and go out for the hunt on one of your days in the forest. Other areas of New Mexico are perfect for also hunting elk, in addition to deer, antelope, turkey, and more.
Worcester County, Massachusetts
The inland region of Worcester County, Massachusetts offers a variety of species for bow and rifle hunters. You’ll find everything from snowshoe hare to bobcats in this stretch of the woods. There are municipal, federal, and public lands available for hunting. DIY hunters will get plenty of opportunities to craft their unique expeditions here. For a trip like this you’ll want to consider getting the right gear, especially a weather proof hunting backpack.
Massachusetts also offers a few different controlled public group hunts during the year for different styles and types of hunt. If you are interested in these, apply quickly as the slots do fill up fast. If you come during winter, plan some other fun winter activities too, like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana
The Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana is one of the few places in the entire world where you can rifle hunt for wolves, black bears, rutting elk, and mule deer all at once. In a 10-day hunt, a hard-working hunter should be able to snag at least two of these species.
Opt for the scenic helicopter ride into the area if you don’t want to be sore from a full day in the saddle from the ride in on horseback. You shouldn’t need to plan too far ahead to make it to one of the hunts in Bob Marshall Wilderness as they often start a few weeks before hunting season in most other states.
Now get on out there and start ticking some spots off your list. Whether you are in it for trophy potential or because hunting is an important family tradition, these six spots throughout the US have a lot of diversity and opportunities for hunters of all types.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.