Whitetail deer remains the most popular big game species to hunt in North America. And for a good reason – they are cagey animals and are challenging to hunt. Deer populations are very healthy throughout their extensive range. Whitetails thrive in rural and urban areas, making them easily accessible to most hunters. Their venison makes excellent table fare, and those unique and gorgeous racks make a beautiful trophy. Guided hunts are generally affordable, and most whitetail hunters do DIY hunts in their home states and out of state. Many hunters started their big game hunting career chasing whitetail deer, and these hunts can be solo affairs or family and friend group affairs. Chasing whitetail deer has become a lifelong obsession and passion for many hunters.
Let’s say you have hunted whitetail for years, or maybe just a few, and you have your favorite areas and hunts. Perhaps that’s a home state lease you have that you hunt with friends every fall. Or maybe you take a guided trip to one of the famed whitetail states to try for a trophy deer or to see some new ground. Perhaps you are happy with what you are currently doing each year. But we are seeing more hunters who love to hunt whitetail deer but want to have some new experiences.
Did you know that you can hunt whitetail deer in 44 different states? The only states that do not offer native, free-range whitetail deer hunts are California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii. As a result, we have seen a growing number of hunters taking on a unique challenge to hunt whitetail deer in every state they exist in! This challenge is undoubtedly bringing these hunters some new experiences, insight into new hunting methods, and going to different places and seeing new terrain and deer habitats they would probably have never seen. We know it is very rewarding for them to strive for this goal and experience whitetail hunting across their entire range. Click here for more info on Whitetail Deer Hunting.
For you die-hard deer hunters who want to hunt more than just whitetail, you might want to try to hunt and harvest all of the North American species of deer. These are generally considered to be the following:
Harvesting these five deer species is often called the “Grand Slam” of North American deer. And hunting these critters where they are found will take you to new and exciting places.
Let’s do a little breakdown of these types of deer:
We have already spoken about whitetail deer and know they are huntable in 44 states. And while that may be a goal of yours, it can take a lifetime to achieve. Some hunting organizations break down whitetail deer into several categories based on where they live. For example, in just the US and Canada, deer can be broken down into several categories:
- Anticosti Whitetail Deer – found on Anticosti Island, a part of Quebec located at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.
- Northeastern Whitetail Deer – found in Ontario, Quebec, the Canadian maritime provinces, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and the New England states.
- Southeastern Whitetail Deer – found in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida.
- Midwestern Whitetail Deer – found in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado.
- Northwestern Whitetail Deer – found in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
- Columbia Whitetail Deer – found in Oregon
- Texas Whitetail Deer – found in Texas
- Coues Whitetail Deer – found in Arizona and New Mexico (as well as Mexico)
For you, die-hard whitetail nuts, several types of whitetail can also be hunted in Mexico and Central America, such as the Carmen Mountain whitetail deer, Mexican Pacific Coast whitetail deer, Mexican Gulf Coast whitetail deer, Mexican Texanus whitetail deer, Mexican Central Plateau whitetail deer, and Central American whitetail deer. These are specialized hunts for those who desire an even broader hunting experience for these incredible whitetail deer.
These are considered small desert whitetails and are sometimes grouped with the other whitetail types for classification purposes. However, they warrant a standalone status in the “Grand Slam” of deer and are considered separately for that. These are one of the smallest whitetail types and have a light gray color – hence they are sometimes referred to as the gray ghost of the desert. Hunts for these cagey deer involve spending much of your hunting time glassing productive areas as they blend in very well. And shot opportunities can be longer-range affairs. They are a unique and challenging species to hunt. Hunts in the US can take place in Arizona and New Mexico, and hunters also often chase them in Old Mexico. Click here for more info on hunting Coues Deer
If you are headed out west to hunt deer, you are most likely chasing mule deer. Many hunters dream of finding that big 4×4 with mass and kickers tending a doe in the aspens, while others dream of spotting that wide Sonoran desert 30-inch buck bedded under a saguaro cactus. There are generally two types of mule deer recognized by record-keeping organizations:
- Rocky Mountain Mule Deer – typically found throughout most Western US states and the western Canadian provinces.
- Desert Mule Deer – located in Texas and southern portions of New Mexico, Arizona, and California, as well as Mexico.
Columbia Blacktail Deer:
These coastal deer are a smaller cousin of the mule deer. Smaller in antler and body size, these wary critters live in thick coastal habitats and are a challenging quarry. Plan to do some glassing, stand/blind hunting, and spot and stalk hunting in thick cover. There are two recognized types of Columbia blacktail:
- Columbia Blacktail Deer – found in the coastal areas of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
- Vancouver Island Blacktail Deer – a Columbia blacktail deer found on Vancouver Island in BC.
Sitka Blacktail Deer:
These are also considered a smaller cousin of the mule deer and are found in the coastal areas of British Columbia, the Yukon Territories and Alaska. These beautiful deer have dark foreheads, two white throat patches, and thick chocolate red colored horns. Hunts for these deer often involve wet conditions in dense coastal vegetation. Often hunters can combine duck hunting and fishing on these trips. Click here for more info on Sitka Blacktail Deer Hunting.
There is also another North American deer recognized by some record bookkeeping organizations:
- Baja Blacktail Deer – found on the Baja peninsula of Mexico.
So, if you want to spread your hunting wings and take on a new deer-hunting adventure, consider the following options:
- North American “Grand Slam” of deer – whitetail deer, Coues whitetail deer, mule deer, Columbia blacktail deer, Sitka blacktail deer.
- Take the 8 different types of whitetail that can be hunted in the US and Canada.
- Take a whitetail in all 44 states in which you can hunt them. Consider doing the same in all the Canadian provinces. Or even do both!
- Take all the North American subspecies of deer from Canada to Central America.
- For any of these options, try to accomplish them with a specific weapon. For example, rifles, muzzleloaders, compound bows, traditional bows, crossbows, etc.
You can slice it any way you want; it’s totally up to you. Ultimately, it’s not about the harvest, the record book, or your accomplishments. I mention all these options because it helps you to plan and consider hunts and experiences you may never have considered. In the end, the friendships you make, the places you travel to, the wildlife and landscapes you will see, and the different experiences you have will create priceless memories.
No matter the level of physicality you desire, type of accommodations, trophy expectations, time of year, or method of hunting, give us a call, and we will be happy to discuss deer hunting with you and help you pick the correct deer hunt of your dreams. With whitetail deer hunts in over 20 states, mule deer hunts throughout the west and Mexico, and specific hunts for Coues deer, Columbia blacktail deer and Sitka blacktail deer, we can help you achieve your deer hunting dreams.