Most Deer Hunters Per Square Mile in U.S.

qdma hunter density

Ran across this QDMA map and found it interesting. Does not surprise me that Pennsylvania and New York are 2 of the top hunter-density states, it’s been that way for decades.

I do question why Michigan is not in the top 12. A decade ago Michigan was at or near the top in number of licensed hunters in the U.S. Michigan hunters killed more than 340,000 deer in 2016-17, second only to Texas, so there is still a lot of deer hunting going on up there.

I mention that the statistics used to build this map came from a 2011 Fish and Wildlife Service study. But since hunter numbers are down across the board and across the states recent years, I believe the list is still mostly accurate.

The more hunters per square mile, the more pressure on the bucks, of course. To that end, here’s a good passage from the story that accompanies the map:

How do you combat high hunter density? In most areas there is no easy trick to reducing the number of hunters on a large scale, and in most cases, you don’t want to. Every hunter is important to our wildlife management system and to the future of hunting. Rather than reducing hunter numbers, it is generally better to reduce their impacts in areas of high hunter density. Spreading hunters across a property, limiting ATV use, and paying close attention to wind direction can all enhance hunting opportunities without reducing the number of hunters.

One more thing. See why I enjoy hunting out West so much, in Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, etc.? Plenty of room for both deer and hunters to roam out there.

4 thoughts on “Most Deer Hunters Per Square Mile in U.S.

  1. I’ve hunted Pa. for over 50 years, I saw it’s great hunting in the northern counties and their downward spiral as far as deer per sq. mile. 75% o today’s hunters either hunt private property or have quit hunting deer in Pa. . I now if I did not own land that is part of a 7000 acre private block I would not even buy a tag here. The State Forests are managed by the DCNR whom feel any deer is a tree that is not going to grow and the Pennsylvania Game Comm. whom used the issuing of over 1 million anterless tag annually for 15 years to fund a cash strapped game department.
    That map Mike posted must have been from the 60s or 70s cause after opening day and the first Saturday it is a rare sight to see a hunter on state land.

  2. Not many guys hunting the upper peninsula it seems these days. My guess if you took that out and just looked at the lower peninsula it would be deep red like the others

  3. I suspect this map is a reflection of hunters per square mile of land versus hunters per square mile of deer habitat.

    Regardless of that you can see why Iowa is considered “Land of Giant Whitetail”, low hunter density combined with shotgun only seasons, gun season outside of primary rut, crossbows limited to age 70+ or disabled, some of the best soil in upper Midwest, reasonable deer population goals to ensure high #’s of bucks across all ages, winters mild enough to ensure survivability but yet severe enough to require large body size to survive (optimal longitude), no wolves.

    Dang, I need to move to out of WI and to SE or anywhere far eastern Iowa.

  4. I bet most of the hunters in Wisconsin are now using crossbows which seems to have risen in the weapon of choice recently for hunting.

    Regardless, hunting in Wisconsin is far more fun than it is in Minnesota.

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