I have never thought much about going to South Dakota for a deer hunt. But now that you mention the idea, it gives me a thought. If the deer season and fishing season overlaps, that would be a great combo. Deer hunting and walleye fishing in Lake Oahe. Man, it don't get much better than that!
I have read quite a bit about South Dakota and have given some thought about a hunt there. But honestly when it comes to deer hunting I don't think there is anywhere I have not thought about deer hunting someday.
On the other hand I had no idea that there was some good fishing to be had.
Like Hunter25, there aren't too many states I haven't thought about deer hunting. I have heard about some whopper muleys in South Dakota though. BUT, if I had only one state to pick from for mule deer, I'd pick Utah. To my knowledge, Utah is the only state in the union that does NOT have any whitetail deer. Strictly muleys, and lots of them. And BIG ones!!
If you are considering a public land, do-it-yourself hunt, I'd consider the northern part of Utah. Having lived there ten years, I know first hand how big some of those mule deer get. On an archery hunt in Northern Utah one August, we were sittin on the lip of a big canyon watching for deer coming up to the top to eat in the evening. We saw one large four point (Western count) and two or three smaller bucks coming up out of the bottom several hundred yards away. The big one was the fellow that got our attention. The closer he got, the bigger he became. He never got closer than about 80 yards but with a bow, that might as well have been 500 yards.
The smaller bucks turned out to be very large 4X4's and the big one was somewhere between 35 and 40 inches. I know, I know, you're thinking I was on crack or something, but there were 3 of us and the best guess between us was close to 40 inches. I had never seen anything like him before and have never seen anything like him since. He was a genuine MONSTER. We watched him graze until it got dark and then went back to camp and dreamed about him all night long. Though we stayed in the area several more days, we never saw him again.
In the area that we hunted in the August archery season, it wasn't uncommon to see 30 or 40 bucks a day, most of which were out of range, but still fun to see. If I was to spring for a good out-of-state mule deer hunt, it would be Utah. And the tags in most areas are over the counter.
Winter is tough on whitetails, that is an accepted fact.
You can help the quality of your herd by providing winter plots - that are not necessarily designed as kill plots.
Having what I call green plots - that the deer can browse in when most of the other food is gone, can greatly benefit the deer herd when they need it most.
Come December - at least in our area of the south - most of the mast is gone, all of the crops were long harvested and this green browse can really make the difference for...