What Are the Largest Whitetail Deer Populations by State?

According to Outdoor Life, the top ten states for hunting whitetail deer are, in descending order Texas, Minnesota, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. North American Whitetail ranks, in descending order, these states as the top ten for whitetail hunting: Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

Whitetail deer populations can be measured either in terms of estimated absolute numbers or by dividing the deer harvest numbers by the number of deer hunters. Hunting enthusiasts both embrace and argue about these differing metrics, often based on advocacy for their home state or favorite hunting spots.

Every state with a significant whitetail population monitors that population through its Department of Natural Resources, Department of Conservation or similar agency. Whitetail populations, like deer populations in general, are an asset to a state’s ecosystem and biodiversity when they are managed efficiently and kept in appropriate densities. From critical lows in the late 1800s, a result of overharvesting, whitetail numbers have rebounded to record highs, thanks in part to the reduction in the number of natural predators, such as wolves and cougars, as well as reductions in recreational hunting in some states.