How to get a Book Buck

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Trophy Buck
This hunter Arrowed this massive 12-pointer in Kansas, a state that has a solid record of producing book-class bucks each year. Hunter shown wearing Lost Camo.

During the same period, the top 10 states for producing non-typical bucks are Illinois (439), Iowa (366), Minnesota (346), Wisconsin (300), Saskatchewan (205), Kansas (193), Kentucky (186), Ohio (180), Missouri (178), and a tie between Alberta and Texas (163).

Add them altogether and here’s what we come up with in terms of the leading all-time states/provinces that produce record-book qualifying bucks: Illinois (1041); Wisconsin (1009); Iowa (911); Minnesota (819); Saskatchewan (655); Kentucky (582); Missouri (519); Ohio (509); Kansas (471); Texas (470); and Alberta (404; Alberta has 241 typical entries to rank No. 11 all-time.)

That’s a great start. But it is only a start.

Next, start breaking down the records to show where the most record-book bucks, both typical and non-typical, have been taken since the year 1999. The reason for doing this is simple – the face of hunting changes over time. Not only do you want to know where the biggest bucks have been taken since records have been kept, but as a hunter the information you really want to know is where the big boys are coming from today. Unless you have a time machine, if you want a record-class buck you need to look ahead, not behind. The best way to try and predict the future – as best as anyone can – is to take the most current data, mix it with the old data, add a pinch of intuition and a dash of common sense, and voila! Here’s where we need to go hunting.

According to the data, in the recording period 1999-2008, the top 10 states for typical whitetail entries are Wisconsin (324); Illinois (288); Kentucky (210); Iowa (195); Saskatchewan (194); Ohio (193); Missouri (150); Kansas (137); Indiana (133); and Minnesota (115).

During the same period, the top 10 states for producing non-typical bucks are Illinois (238); Iowa (144); Wisconsin (124); Ohio (102); Kansas (99); Missouri (94); Kentucky (91); Indiana (86); Saskatchewan (67); and Minnesota (62).

Deer Hunting Ammunition
One way to up your odds at killing a “book buck” is to deer hunt areas where muzzleloaders or other firearms are permitted during the rut.

Add them altogether and here’s what we come up with in terms of the leading states/provinces that produce record-book qualifying bucks in the last decade: Illinois (526); Wisconsin (448); Iowa (339); Kentucky (301); Ohio (295); Saskatchewan (261); Kansas (236); Missouri (244); Indiana (219); and Minnesota (177).

As you can see, since the year 199 things have changed somewhat from the overall historical data – and this should play a part in your deer hunt planning. And there are some surprises on these two lists. While the top states are no surprise to serious deer hunters, you never hear much about Indiana or Kentucky – yet both ate top 10 states. And if you look further down the accompanying charts, there are more surprises. For example, who would have thought that Oklahoma, with 27 typical and 40 non-typical entries in last decade, would lead a more “prestigious” whitetail state like Michigan, which has 38 typical and 19 non-typical entries?

Let’s Dig Deeper

OK, by now we have narrowed our record book research down to states that produce the most record-class bucks, both typical and non-typical, both overall and in the last decade. It’s time to break that data down even further. Now it is time to see which specific counties in the top states produce the most big bucks.

To do this, brake the data down even further by choosing something like the five year period 2004-2008. Here are the counties that have yielded at least four record-book non-typical whitetails during this period: Pike Co., Illinois (10); Schuyler Co., Illinois (9); Adams Co., Illinois (8); Maverick Co., Texas (7); Parke Co., Indiana (7); Fulton Co., Illinois (5); Monroe Co., Iowa (5); Todd Co., Minnesota (5); Bonner Co., Idaho (4); Bureau Co., Illinois (4); Christian Co., Kentucky (4); Clark Co., Illinois (4); Doge Co., Wisconsin (4); Fayette Co., Iowa (4); Greene Co., Illinois (4); Greene Co., Indiana (4); Itasca Co., Minnesota (4); Jackson Co., Iowa (4); Knox Co., Illinois (4); McLean Co., Illinois (4); St. Louis Co., Minnesota (4); Warren Co., Missouri (4); and Waupaca Co., Wisconsin (4).

Here are the counties that have yielded at least five typical whitetails during this same timeframe: Buffalo Co., Wisconsin (14); Dubuque Co., Iowa (9); Jo Daviess Co., Illinois (9); Maverick Co., Texas (9); Trempealeau Co., Wisconsin (9); Shawano Co., Wisconsin (8); Allamakee Co., Iowa (7); Sauk Co., Wisconsin (7); Dane Co., Wisconsin (6); Fillmore Co., Minnesota (6); Houston Co., Minnesota (6); La Salle Co., Texas (6); Parke Co., Indiana (6); Richland Co., Wisconsin (6); Dimmit Co., Texas (5); Grant Co., Wisconsin (5); Hancock Co., Illinois (5); Livingston Co., Missouri (5); Otter Tail Co., Minnesota (5); Outagamie Co., Wisconsin (5); Polk Co., Wisconsin (5); and Turtle Lake, Saskatchewan (5).

You Get the Picture

As mentioned earlier, finding a legitimate, monster whitetail buck that, after the required 60-day drying period, makes the Boone & Crockett record book on a fair chase hunt is as rare as finding a four-leaf clover. However, to tip the odds in your favor, you have to hunt them where they are. The first step in this is to find out where they historically have been. That’s why using the Boone & Crockett Club’s record book and Trophy Search database are so helpful. This data helps you cut through the hype so you can tip the odds – miniscule though they may be – as much in your favor as possible.

Plus, mining this data is just a lot of fun!

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