Public Lands & Waters photo

Black Hills National Forest
: southwest South Dakota
Size: 1.2 million acres
ZIP: 57730

This national forest in hilly ponderosa pine country is so big one state can’t contain it. The entire Black Hills portion in South Dakota offers ample whitetail opportunities, but the centrally located Deerfield Lake area in Pennington County, in particular, guarantees stunning scenery and lower hunting pressure. “It’s tough hunting, because there aren’t as many access roads,” says Chuck Schlueter, communications manager for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. “But there are good deer populations and the views are hard to beat. It’s a real quality hunt.” Black Hills deer management plan changes that restricted hunting licenses have also led to a steady increase in hunter satisfaction since 1997, and harvest success has risen from 55 percent to 75 percent.