We've already discussed what we feel will be the best states in which to hunt whitetail deer in 2017. But what about the other side of the coin? What about the states you should avoid? After taking a look at reports from the Quality Deer Management Association, we've selected the states that we think will provide hunters with a true challenge in 2017.
As a reminder, these states were selected upon analyzing the 2017 Whitetail Report from QDMA, which compiled data from the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16
Connecticut has long hosted one of the Northeast’s smallest buck populations (second only to Delaware), with an estimated 4,500 or so antlered deer. Further, the state has been in a downward trend over the past three QDMA reports, losing 7 percent of its buck population from 2014-15, and seeing a drop of 19 percent in buck populations in the most recent survey, compared to the 5-year average. What’s more, there is less than one buck per square mile as opposed to an estimated 9-12 hunters. There's a lot of competition for a rather limited trophy population in Connecticut.
Florida has witnessed a 25 percent drop in buck harvest numbers during the most recent QDMA report, when compared to the five-year average. It also ranks second to last in the southeast region in bucks aged a year and a half or older harvested, with just 61,492 in the allotted report window. Though hunting pressures aren't particularly high for its region, Florida is only boasting about one buck per square mile, which could make finding them difficult.
1. Rhode Island
Per our numbers, Rhode Island is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, going to be the toughest state to fill your tag in this season. The state has seen a 30 percent drop in buck harvest numbers in one year alone, compared to the five year average. Further, it's second only to Pennsylvania in terms of hunting pressure, with an estimated 16.5 hunters per square mile. According to QDMA reports, Rhode Island saw just 891 antlerless deer harvested during the report window, alongside 762 bucks older than a year and a half. All told, 1,653 deer were harvested, with 0.8 deer, gender aside, per square mile. You don't have to be a mathematician to see the discrepancies. Rhode Island will be tough sledding, for sure.