In the West, whitetail hunting will almost always take a backseat to other more common and more physically impressive species like elk and mulies. Nevertheless, there are some good whitetail hunting opportunities, and they're just as fun to hunt in the West as they are back East.
Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana all offer some good whitetail hunting from the eastern slope of the Rockies out to the plains, but this is almost always on private land. If you can get access, these can be great hunts. I haven't hunted Montana, and haven't had any luck with whitetails in Colorado, but I've had some great whitetails in my sights in Wyoming -- which I passed on because I was stubbornly holding out for mulies.
Western Nebraska is by far my favorite western state to hunt whitetails. Tags are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Residents get the first chance to buy up the tags, but quotas for a given area are not usually filled by the initial resident purchase, giving a chance to non-residents once our turn comes. You can buy up to two either-sex tags, and an unlimited number of doe tags.
If you live near enough to Nebraska to go more than once a year, you can enjoy generous season ranging from archery season to gun season to muzzleloader season, followed by a doe-only season for the first half of January. Generous waterfowl, upland bird, and fall turkey season open the door to the possibility of mized bag hunts.
The best hunting, of course, will be on private land. But, there is some worthwhile hunting on Nebraska's state wildlife areas as well.
I've hunted the high plains, the Sandhills country, and the river bottoms, and always enjoy my whitetail hunts in Nebraska.
|State||Notes||General Tag Quality||Limited Tag Quality||Odds of Drawing Limited Tags||Strategy|
|Colorado||Some good opportunities, but almost all on private land in the eastern part of the state.||N/A||Excellent||Good, but private land access required.||Go for mulies instead.|
|Montana||Some good opportunities, but almost all on private land in the eastern part of the state.||N/A||Good||Good||Go for mulies instead.|
|New Mexico||Very limited opportunities in the eastern part of the state.||N/A||Poor||Good||Go for mulies or coues instead.|
|Wyoming||Some good opportunities, but almost all on private land in the eastern part of the state.||N/A||Good||Good||Go for mulies instead.|
|Nebraska||Great whitetail state. In western Nebraksa, some opportunities in the plains, but most whitetail hunting will occur on river bottoms. Mostly private land, but some good State Wildlife Areas.||Good||N/A||Over-the-counter||To me, this is the most interesting place to focus on whitetails.|