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Where to Hunt: Guide to the Best Big-Game Hunts In the West

Big game hunting is an exciting endeavor in and of itself. But, you have to find out where you can big game hunt to do it.

Big game hunting is an exciting endeavor in and of itself. But, you have to find out where you can big game hunt to do it. There are plenty of places in the western United States where you can hunt for big game and experience the natural world around you. Here, we’re going to look at some of the best spots in the West for your next venture.

Idaho

When you’re talking about big game, you can’t get much bigger than a bear. The best place to look for black bears in the U.S. is to visit the Rocky Mountains. In that area, no place is more populous than Idaho.

It easiest to spot these bears between late April and early June. This is when they’re grazing on grass to get back on their feet after hibernation. You can take spot-and-stalk bears on your own or hire a guide to help you out. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you have enough firepower to handle a bear. The rifle and riflescope you use will have similar attributes to what you might use for a whitetail but they need to be stronger – especially your rifle.

Tags for hunting black bears are pretty easy to get here and sometimes you can even find permission to take two bears instead of one.

Wyoming

Wyoming is a pretty quiet state that you don’t hear too much about. After all, even though it’s one of the largest states, it’s the least populous. This is great news for hunters because in place of all those people are a thriving community of pronghorn antelope.

You’ll have the best luck finding pronghorn antelope in the eastern and northeastern areas of the state. The biggest challenge here, though, is that not a lot of this land is public and those areas that are public are heavily hunted. This can make pickings pretty slim. The west and southwestern areas of the state have more public land but less pronghorn antelope.

While difficult, your best bet in Wyoming is to try to get permission to hunt on private land. If you don’t you can wander off the beaten path and look for pronghorn antelope in the west or challenge yourself by hunting amongst other hunters in the east. All in all, Wyoming is a great place for hunters who want to test their skills.

Oregon

 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife invites visitors to try big game hunting in their state. They have more than 34 million acres that are dedicated as public land with hunters welcome.

Oregon has a diverse environment too. You can go to one part of the state for a coastal rainforest while another in-state trip can take you mountain ranges or an eastern desert. Because of this, big game hunters have a lot of options when it comes to the specific game they choose.

This list includes elk, bighorn sheep, black bears, cougars, pronghorn antelope, and mountain goats. On the big game hunting species page of their website, you can find out where to go for this game and tag sale deadlines. If you keep an eye on their website, they sometimes have events and workshops for big game hunters.

Washington

 

Washington is home to one of the most popular big game species: moose. This area is going to give you the chance to shoot 40-inch to 50-inch moose, especially Ped Oreille county and Stevens county.

A tip from most seasoned hunters is to step away from the forests. This might sound odd because it seems like the obvious place for moose but you can get more out of looking for areas timber companies have been. When you find an area that has been logged but regrowth is around 10 feet tall or higher, you’re likely to see moose around.

If you’re looking for a low-effort hunt, moose hunting might not be for you. While the hunt itself isn’t particularly strenuous, quartering a moose and bringing it bag can take some legwork. As another state with great moose hunting potential, the New Hampshire Fish and Game website has tips for hunting a moose from beginning to end.

New Mexico

 

You aren’t going to find many places better for elk hunting than The Gila National Forest in New Mexico. It has 3.3 million acres that are easy to traverse and enough elk that catching a 350-inch bull isn’t uncommon.

The biggest challenge of hunting here is the chance for allowed licenses. If you’re a non-resident to New Mexico and are headed out with a guide, you have about a 10% chance of your license getting chosen from the drawing pool. If you go alone, that drops down to about 6%. But, most hunters get a chance about every 4 years, so if you keep trying, you’ll have a chance to hunt in this lucrative area.

Finding the right spot for big game hunting doesn’t have to be difficult. The states we’ve looked at here prove that the west in the U.S. offers plenty of potential.

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