Public Lands & Waters photo

Uwharrie National Forest
: central North Carolina
Size: 50,189 acres
ZIP: 28001

North Carolina’s largest deer tend to come from the central Piedmont region, but 200-pounders are rare, according to Harrold. “We have biologists who work a whole career in North Carolina and see only two or three,” he says. “It’s quite a news story when it happens.” Hunting pressure on piedmont public lands is generally high. The Uwharrie has long been a traditional deer-hunting destination, at one time recording the highest harvest in the state, but hunting pressure has slacked a bit as the action spread into surrounding farmlands. White oak, red oak and hickory hardwoods provide the biggest fall food source for deer, and planted food plots and adjacent crop fields-many recently converted from tobacco to corn and other grains-supplement the deer diet. The Uwharries are old mountains, and while hillier than the rest of the piedmont, their slopes are much more modest than the Appalachians to the west.