10 Bucket-List Trips in North America for the Big-Game Hunter

Hunting in Idaho is a top-10 bucket list destination for the big-game hunter. Credit: Petersen's Hunting

A roundup of 10 trips every outdoorsman should have on his all-time big-game bucket list. From Alaska to Texas, and a bunch of cool places in between.

1. Idaho: Black Bruins

“Idaho has the largest black bear population in the Rocky Mountains, and a high percentage of color-phase bruins. From mid April through June, you can spot bears on south-facing slopes, munching on the green grass they need to flush their systems after hibernation. You can hire a guide, or spot-and-stalk from the dirt roads and trails coursing through national forest land for a rare D.I.Y. trophy.”
Field & Stream

2. Alaska: Sitka Blacktail Deer

“It can get a little expensive for hunting trips. But even if you don’t catch anything it will be an amazing trip. You can hunt for several species in Alaska, particularly the famous Alaskan Caribou, Dall sheep, Stone sheep, and Yukon moose roam the land. But getting one requires quite a bit of money and extensive planning. For a better chance of bagging a prize, try for a Sitka blacktail deer. They are plentiful around the Prince of Wales or Kodiak islands.”
USA Today

Pronghorn Antelope
Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in Lake County Oregon features 278,000 acres of land with an abundance of Pronghorn Antelope. Credit: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

3. Oregon: Pronghorn Antelope

If you’ve got a taste for grouse, mountain quail, or other plentiful populations of birds, Oregon’s Curry, Jackson, and Josephine counties are the places to head towards. Sheep tags are also popular at various hunting areas around the state, such as the John Day River units in northern Oregon, which boast plenty of sheep all along the way…The Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge is another superb spot, boasting everything from mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep, to upland birds, rainbow trout, bass, and crappie. It’s a fantsicailly isolated area that allows gamers to fully venture into the wild for a couple of days without seeing any other human being or vehicle. There’s also Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in Lake County, another sizable spot featuring 278,000 acres of land that provides more pronghorn antelope than any hunter could ever dream of. Find mule deer, bighorn sheep, and chukar as well.”

4. Colorado: Coyote

Take pest control one step further and head into the Rocky Mountains for some prime coyote hunting. Taking a coyote isn’t as simple as it would seem, however. Native American tribes considered coyotes to be some of the smartest animals roaming the wild so you’ll need to bring your hunting game with you for this.

Like everything in Texas, the Blue Wildebeast are big.

5. Texas: Blue Wildebeast

“Everything’s big in Texas and that includes the hunting grounds. Texas ranks first in total antlered buck harvest so you’ll know the landscape will provide you will plenty of opportunities to catch some big game. Some hunting headquarters, like Ox Ranch, guarantee a 100% opportunity to encounter creatures with the help of a professional guide. Texas offers more than 60 species free-ranging over thousands of acres including black buck, blue wildebeest, white buffalo, and the scimitar-horned oryx.”
His Consumption

6. Alberta: Big Moose

Moose range throughout the wooded areas of Alberta, and they seem to do well where there is an abundance of deciduous browse. Logged-over areas, old burns and willow flats provide optimum habitat in the boreal forest and mountain areas of the province. Once you secure a moose tag from your outfitter, you just need a passport to get into Canada, the proper paperwork to get a firearm across the border, and a Wildlife Identification Number (WIN) card to hunt Alberta.”
Field & Stream

Wasatch Mountains of Utah is a mecca for the Mountain Goat. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

7. Utah: Mountain Goat

“It takes a while anywhere to draw a tag for goat. The best place to try for one is in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Expect to be in prime physical shape for this hunting trip. The terrain is rugged and you’ll have to do a lot of climbing. Go with a good guide to cut down on the amount of ineffective searching. With the right planning and preparation, the odds of getting a prize here are really good..”
USA Today

8. Montana: Elk

“Nothing’s more classic than a Rocky Mountain horseback elk hunt from a canvas tent camp. Wood burning stoves, Coleman lanterns, campfires and starry skies. Dozens of outfitters offer these adventures in most western states, but Montana is my pick for its expansive mountain ranges without excessive elevation. Besides, Lewis & Clark hunted here. You can book with an outfitter/guide or do-it-yourself if you have the horses and camp gear. Either way it’s a grand adventure and much easier than packing your elk out on your back. Horses let you prowl deep into the back country without blisters. You’ll cover more ground than foot hunters ever could.”

Manitoba Caribou
When it comes to the caribou, Manitoba is undoubtedly one of the most highly regarded hunting destinations in Canada. Credit: Manitoba Travel

9. Manitoba: Caribou

“Northern Manitoba borders Hudson Bay, and the mixed habitat along the shoreline is the historical migration route of central barren-ground caribou. This hunt won’t cost you much more than a D.I.Y. fly-in adventure in other parts of the North, but it’s logistically easier, and success rates on trophy bulls are much higher.”
Field & Stream

10. Wisconsin: White Tail

“Wisconsin is easily the top producer of Boone and Crockett Club’s whitetails. (Realize, though, that comparing one state to another is hardly an apples-to-apples comparison, as states vary in size.) What you’ll find in areas that grow huge deer is the best land is spoken for. To get the highest odds you’ll have to compete for a lease or hire a quality outfitter. Still, Wisconsin does have a substantial amount of public land that also grows some monsters. A hunter who is willing to research and possibly out-walk and out-hunt others can find big bucks on state and federal lands in this big-deer state.”


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