The whitetail deer is America’s favorite big-game species, and no wonder. They are crafty, elegant, cagey, make a handsome trophy, and are great source of healthy food. Some hunters have no interest in elk, mule deer, antelope, and the like, but are so enamored with the pursuit of whitetail deer that they’ll consider taking a trip out West just to hunt them. Take it from me… the whitetail hunting is that good.

WY Bear 2012 408Culturally, whitetail deer are a bit like large-mouth bass and wild turkeys. The West has great populations of them, yet the locals were raised to appreciate elk, mule deer, and trout. Places like eastern Montana, northwestern Wyoming, and eastern Colorado have terrific whitetail hunting with bow, muzzleloader, and gun, and the sporting pressure is moderate. You’ll have a good chance of meeting real cowboys and the trout streams are naturally stocked.

The beauty of a Western whitetail hunt is the terrain. You can hunt from a tree stand or hay stack or stalk on the ground the same as you do back home, but I’ll bet there aren’t Tetons or a Devil’s Tower looming in the backdrop. These hunts often occur on ranches, where you have great food, a hot shower every day, and a WY Bear 2012 041comfortable bunk at night. Prices for whitetail licenses may be less than elk or mule deer and availability is usually better. Jim Schell of Rough Country Outfitters offers a great hunt in northwestern Wyoming, and hunters may typically look at dozens of bucks before taking one. Rattling is a specialty of Schell’s on his early rut hunt. Find out more about these hunts at

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.