10 Ways to Experience the Best of America's Big Game Hunting

May 19th

2019

CategoryPosted in Wide Open Spaces
Travis Smola
Big Game Hunting America

These are generally considered some of the best big game hunts in America.

The great thing about North American big game is the number of hunting opportunities available in an even bigger variety of hunting areas.

Whether it is elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, or brown bear or moose hunting in the wilds of Alaska, there is something for everyone.

But what are some of the greatest ways to experience the best of America’s big game?

Just to be clear, when we refer to “America” we’re talking about North America as whole and not just the United States, since we’ve included at least one Canadian location in here.

1. Whitetail Deer Hunting in the Midwest

Whitetail deer are incredibly adaptive and cunning big game animals that any hunter will find a challenge to harvest. But the Midwestern part of the United States is really THE place to go for a true trophy buck.

This part of the country has produced more record book Boone & Crockett class animals than probably anywhere else. Illinois, Iowa, Missouri or Kansas are four states you really can’t go wrong with for planning a hunt.

Even though I know some hunters in western states don’t really care about whitetails, I feel like everyone should experience the thrill and challenge of pursuing a wise old buck in the Midwest. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a treestand in Illinois or stalking one on the Kansas plains, it’s one of the most challenging areas to hunt for these animals.

2. Elk in the Colorado Rockies

Big Game Hunting America
Travis Smola

The majesty of the Rocky Mountains is a sight to behold. Even more so when you’re huffing and puffing your way up a mountain side with 50 pounds worth of gear.

But nothing will give you a second wind of air quite like hearing the bugling of an elk echoing through the wilderness.

Colorado is generally thought of as the best place to hunt elk just because of the number of animals and high success rates, even on public land. But when you start a hunt in Colorado, you’ll realize it’s not just getting a trophy and meat for the freezer, but an experience and memory of hunting in a beautiful place that will last a lifetime.

3. Dall Sheep in Alaska

Make no mistake, this is not a cheap hunt. You’re probably looking at around $20,000 to hunt one of these magnificent animals in the wilds of Alaska, but this is an experience that can’t be found in the lower 48.

As far as North America’s six species of wild sheep go, it’s going to be easier to get a tag for this than, say, a desert bighorn or Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. These mountainside dwellers don’t get very big, only reaching about 150 pounds. They live in high areas and use the steep terrain to their advantage to evade hunters.

Hunting a Dall sheep successfully will put all your hunting skills to the test like few other animals on this list can claim.

4. Black Bear in Arizona

Big Game Hunting America
Travis Smola

There are plenty of eastern U.S. states known for growing big black bears. Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Minnesota come to mind, but the Grand Canyon State is generally considered the best black bear state for one simple reason.

Mild winters make it so the bears don’t have to hibernate, and they’re big and fat all year round. Add in lot of public land and the state’s beautiful landscape, and you’ve got a recipe for one seriously memorable bear hunt.

5. Moose in Alaska

There are a lot of options for a moose hunt in North America. Maybe there’s some upset hunters in Washington or British Columbia that might disagree with me here. Yes, Canada moose and Washington moose grow to humongous proportions, but very few get as large as the Alaskan-Yukon subspecies living in the Last Frontier.

The only bad thing is the cost of hunting here. Consider the fact that the current world record (as recognized by Boone & Crockett) had a jaw-dropping 65 1/8-inch spread!

Not only does Alaska give you a chance to bag a bigger moose than normal, but you also get an incredible hunting experience in one of the last wild places on earth. What’s not to love about that?

6. Pronghorn Antelope in Wyoming

Big Game Hunting America
Travis Smola

You can’t truly appreciate how fast pronghorn antelope are until you see one tearing across the plains of Wyoming in person. These beautiful and majestic animals provide plenty of hunting challenge.

Also, there are plenty of public land options in the Equality State to pursue these animals. I recommend trying  your luck in the shadow of Yellowstone. There are ample herds of antelope wandering the high desert there.

Non-residents do have to apply for a draw to hunt pronghorns in Wyoming, but the state also uses preference points where you build up your odds for every year you apply. Once you do get a tag, it’s also a relatively cheap hunt that just about anyone can do.

7. Caribou in Manitoba

The caribou doesn’t really get enough love from big game hunting enthusiasts. They’re great-tasting and extremely challenging to hunt thanks to the incredibly remote locations most live in these days.

There is great caribou hunting to be found in Alaska, but the hunting is even better across Canada, although it’s harder to get the proper licenses and tags. If you do, the animals are found at extreme northern latitudes, and getting to them is half the adventure!

8. Mountain Goat in Alaska

This species is one of the hardest big game animals to hunt in North America simply because of the unbelievably high altitudes they are found at. Sometimes they are hanging out at elevations over 10,000 feet! Make sure you exercise before you go to hunt one of these guys!

Mountain goats can be found in Canada and even in the lower 48. While the continental locations are more accessible, you are in for a long wait to draw a tag. But amazingly, even non-residents can buy over-the-counter mountain goat tags for certain areas in Alaska!

9. Mule Deer in Idaho

Big Game Hunting America
Travis Smola

Most people don’t think of Idaho as a big deer hunting destination, but there are millions of acres of public lands to enjoy in this state and non-resident tags for deer are very easy to obtain almost anywhere you’d like to hunt.

In the western U.S., no other deer is more iconic than the mule deer, and Idaho offers many remote and wild areas that will test your hunting skills. But it can also give you a good chance at the trophy buck of a lifetime.

10. Grizzly Bear in Alaska

If you’re looking to hunt the ultimate North American predator land mammal, look no further than an Alaskan grizzly bear hunt. It’s one of the few places you can still hunt these awesome animals. And, amazingly, you can get some tags over-the-counter, depending on the area you choose to hunt.

Expect to shell out about $1,000 for a non-resident tag. It isn’t cheap, but it will certainly make for the ultimate bear hunting adventure.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis Youtube channels

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