Photos: Deer Hunting Opening Day In America

Last fall we sent photographers to five whitetail-crazy towns to document what Opening Day means to deer hunters around the country. While these folks might live at different ends of the country and speak with different accents, as you'll see in the photos common threads like friends, family and blaze orange clothing connect deer hunters everywhere. In order, the photos come from deer camps in the following locations: Radisson, WI; Greenville, MS; Llano, TX; State College, PA; Kirksville, MO. It's never too early to start getting excited for opening day of deer season.
Radisson, Wisconsin
Photographer: Mitch Kezar On opening weekend, Photographer Mitch Kezar sat with Cole Meeke, pictured here. Meeke shot his first deer on this hunt and here's how Kezar recalls it: "Soon, Meeke bumped me and said there were two deer in the trail behind me. No way I could get a photo without blowing it for him. I covered my ears, ducked down and told him to move slowly, take his time getting a careful aim and to 'squeeze the trigger' slowly. He followed directions beautifully, and we found his little deer not 45 yards from where he shot it. Mark then showed up after the drive, and helped him field dress his first deer. The lad was pumped, to say the least. Shaking, giddy, waiting for his dad to come and see."
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Radisson, Wisconsin
Greenville, Mississippi
Photographer: Mark Stallings Mark embedded himself with the 27 Break Hunting club, which was named to pay homage to the devastating Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.
Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville, Mississippi
Llano, Texas
Photographer: Russell Graves Llano is legislatively recognized as the deer capitol of Texas. Here's Graves account of his time there on opening day: "_In Llano, the whole town goes all out for deer season. They set up a tent along the main highway through town and welcome hunters with visitors kits. The kits include coupons, area information and other goodies. They also provide free BBQ for hunters. In town, the churches of course welcome all of the newcomers. Traditionally, Llano is really the epicenter of Texas deer hunting. It lies in an area with the highest deer densities and has a long hunting tradition._"
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
Llano, Texas
State College, Pennsylvania
Photographer: Christopher Weddle Weddle followed members of the Mexico Gun Club which has a cabin in the Rothrock State Forest outside of Boalsburg, Pa. He also followed Herb Rudy (middle), who is 80 years old and participated in his 67th consecutive deer season last year.
State College, Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania
Kirksville, Missouri
Photographer: Mark Stallings In a region full of trophy-whitetail meccas, few places in the Midwest compare to the northern Missouri town of Kirksville. Photographer Mark Stallings spent time with hunters in the Sugar Creek Conservation Area southwest of Kirksville. The Conservation Department acquired the original 72 acres of this area as a forest fire lookout tower site, but the tower was never built. Known then as "Kirksville Woods," this small area was combined with a 2,536-acre tract, purchased in 1974, to create Sugar Creek Conservation Area.
Kirksville, Missouri
Kirksville, Missouri
Kirksville, Missouri
Kirksville, Missouri
Kirksville, Missouri
Kirksville, Missouri

Last season on opening day we sent photographers to five whitetail powerhouses: Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. These are their photos.