Tips for Hunting Deer Out of State

tips for deer hunting out of state

If you’re interested in hunting deer out of state, read on. We’ve got some tips that will help make you successful!

Prepare Early

Heading out of state to hunt deer involves getting prepared well in advance. It’s hard to start too early! Lots of decisions need to be made, so starting early is the key.

diy hunting deer out of state

Hunting deer out of state involves doing your homework.

Research the Licensing Process for Each Potential State

I’m like most people. January brings with it a list of resolutions for the New Year. My list of resolutions mostly consists of states I’d like to deer hunt in the coming fall. In January, I start writing down which states I’m interested in and then I research the license process for each of those states. In some states like Nebraska and Ohio, deer hunting licenses can be purchased over the counter. Other states like Kansas and Iowa have a lottery that you have to apply for, and it can be several years before you’re able to draw a tag. The key is to get familiar with each state’s process so that you know ahead of time which states are realistic for the year ahead.

Very quickly, you can become overwhelmed with all the different schedules and processes for applying for deer hunting licenses outside your home state. Thankfully, Jarrod created a hunting lottery reminder app here on our website that can text and email you free reminders of when various states have their hunting license lotteries.

Here are some states that either Jarrod or I have hunted and recommend checking out. I’ve included links to each states’ respective DNR website where you can research license information.

Attend a Hunting Tradeshow

Attending the various deer expos such as the Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo, or its equivalent, ideally in the state you plan to hunt, is an excellent way to find a good place to hunt out of state. Local information sources such as state wildlife officials, taxidermists, or other hunters are good places to help whittle down places to consider. These expos give you a good idea of the caliber of bucks coming out of the state, and there will be outfitters on hand to talk with as well as lots of other hunters if you’re considering a do it yourself hunt.

Decide on Outfitted Hunt or Do it Yourself (DIY)

Whether you decide to go on an outfitted hunt or a do-it-yourself (DIY) hunt, the place you’ll be hunting needs to be decided on in the first couples months of the new year, especially if you’ve never hunted out of state before.

best time to hunt deer by Paul Ranft - 3 boone & crockett bucks in 3 years

Paul Ranft has killed 3 bucks over 180″ in 3 years hunting outside his home state of Michigan.

Outfitted Hunts

As you may know if you follow our instructional deer hunting videos, deer are different almost everywhere you go. How deer bed and use the terrain varies by different regions of the country. So, if the state you have in mind is brand new to you, it might be a good idea to consider hiring an outfitter. Lining up a reputable outfitter requires some homework. Use the internet to research each online, and contact references! The sooner you book the better your chances of hunting the dates you want. Many of the good outfitters book years in advance, especially for rut hunts, so booking early gives you a better chance to hunt when you choose rather than settling for the dates the outfitter has available.

Here are a couple outfitters you might consider:
Rutting Ridge Outfitters (Wisconsin)
The Outfitters (Iowa)

DIY Deer Hunts Out of State

For those who favor a DIY hunt, as I do, you may need to reserve a spot at a motel or campground. If there is a high demand during the time you plan to hunt, booking with them early assures your best chance at reserving your room or campsite. I’ve spent too many cold nights sleeping in the bed of my truck wishing I had made plans early enough to ensure more comfortable accommodations.

do it yourself whitetail hunt - sleeping in your truck

I’ve spent many nights sleeping in my truck while hunting deer out of state. Make reservations early if you don’t want to be doing this!

Scout Your Spot in the Spring

Once you’ve pinpointed where you’ll hunt, take a trip there in early spring before the landscape turns green. Scout the various public hunting grounds and private locations you have permission to hunt. If you can’t make a trip there in person, try cyber scouting with OnX Maps or Google Earth. OnX Maps have been a tremendous tool for us because they show landownership as well as aerials and topos. You can save them offline if you don’t have a cell signal. Awesome product.

Get to Know Some Locals

Be sure to patronize the local restaurants and sport shops to rub elbows with locals who may be willing to identify private land where you may gain hunting permission. Knock on doors as well. Landowners are not being deluged with hunters asking permission to hunt then and will have more time to talk to you. Being there in person at this time of year works best to gain permission for an “outsider”.

Place an Ad in the Newspaper or on Craigslist

Try placing an ad in a local paper or local craigslist segment, searching for permission. Offering to trade a hunt for an opportunity for them to hunt with you at your home opens doors also.

If you start early and follow these tips, hunting deer out of state can be very rewarding come fall! Be sure to contact us if you have any questions about planning your out of state deer hunt!

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