Places

Embrace the Wild: Where to Go Backcountry Hunting

August 7, 2023

Connor Merritt

Connor Merritt

Backcountry hunting offers an unparalleled opportunity for adventurous hunters to immerse themselves in nature and pursue elusive game in some of the most remote and scenic areas of the United States. Here are four top destinations that promise thrilling experiences for backcountry hunters:

Colorado backcountry hunting

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Renowned for its diverse wildlife and majestic landscapes, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado provide an excellent backcountry hunting experience. Due to its central location in the United States, it is also one of the most convenient backcountry places for Americans—especially for hunters living along the super crowded east coast.

The region is teeming with elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and black bears, all ready to give you a memorable challenge. Hunters can test themselves amid a variety of terrains and elevations, each offering a unique experience. From the rich diversity of animal life in the hills and fields of the Montane Ecosystem to the maze of evergreen forests hiding big game in the subalpine ecosystem, the Colorado Rockies will leave you breathless with their beauty and wonder. 

Alaska backcountry hunting

Backcountry Hunting in Alaska’s Wilderness 

For the most intrepid hunters, Alaska’s wilderness is an untamed paradise. Known as “The Last Frontier,” this state is perhaps the last remaining true wild in America. From Kodiak grizzly bears and Dall sheep to caribou and moose, the state offers unparalleled big game hunting opportunities for those seeking a true backcountry adventure.

Alaska has over 320 acres of federal and state public land combined, providing a staggering amount of hunting opportunities and adventures, all sure to challenge even the most seasoned backcountry hunter. The vast expanses of Alaska’s wild terrain demand peak physical fitness and exceptional wilderness survival skills, making it an unforgettable hunting destination. Just make sure you pack a warm coat. 

Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Backcountry hunting

Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Montana and Idaho 

The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, straddling the border of Montana and Idaho, is a backcountry hunter’s dream. Equally beautiful and challenging, this is truly rugged and wild country — making it perfect for hunters hungry to test themselves against the throes of the wilds.

The area has abundant populations of elk, white-tailed deer, and black bears, who all thrive in this stunning landscape. Its limited access and intense difficulty ensure an isolated and immersive hunting experience, where hunters can disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature. You can only travel on foot and there’s no cell service, so make sure to take all the necessary safety precautions before you try your hand in this challenge.

Arizona backcountry hunting

Backcountry Hunting in Arizona’s Deserts 

While the desert might not seem that appealing (for obvious reasons) every backcountry hunter should try it out at least once. iSportsman recently sent YouTuber Mike Rogers to hunt some desert mule deer in Arizona and he said it was one of the greatest hunting experiences of his life.

There’s good reason for that too, as the desert offers what is likely the quietest and most solitary hunting location on the planet. Plus, it offers a unique set of challenges: There’s a variety of tough terrain to traverse and, while long-distance visibility is great due to the lack of cover, getting set up at a proper range is difficult. If you’re looking for pure solitude in mother nature, then head over to the Arizona backcountry. 

Read the third part of iSportsman’s backcountry hunting series “Embrace the Wild” where we’ll dive into general tips for when you’re out on the hunt.

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