As a recent study pointed out, most hunters say they’re more interested in putting meat in the freezer than hanging a world class set of horns on the wall. That’s probably a good thing, especially when you consider the fact that most hunters will never kill a record-size deer in their lifetime. Meat is just more practicalâ€¦and probable.
Even so, we’d be lying if we said massive antlers didn’t factor into the equation. Like everyone else, our hearts skip a beat when we see that 300-inch giant in another man’s hands, wondering how we’d respond if we ever got that kind of opportunity. We check trail cameras year in and year out, hoping to spot that freak buck we’ve only seen in our dreams or a sporting goods store. And since not every state has the same trophy potential, you have to ask yourself: Where’s the best place to kill a trophy buck this year?
At this point it’s not about measuring an overall whitetail hunting experience or picking up meat for the next round of deer jerkyâ€”it’s about tracking down the trophy of a lifetime, pure and simple. With a ton of help from the NAW expertsâ€”and data from around the countryâ€”we rounded up the best big buck states for 2013.
A great example is Paul Keller's 2012 buck (left), which scored 231 4/8 B&C. The state also has some great public land opportunities if you're able to get away from the crowds, which only improves your chances of bagging a brute this year.
Just ask Bo Russell, who killed a 231 4/8 B&C buck in Des Moines County in 2012. As big as his deer was, Russell's buck was only the second largest bow kill of the year. That just goes to show you how high the bar is when you're hunting Iowa.
With tons of room to roam and plenty of affordable opportunities, Kentucky is a great place to kill a trophy buck in 2013. Jason Tuttle found that out last year when he killed a 182-inch giant in the middle of the rut.
If you have any doubts about Missouri's trophy potential, just talk to Ryan Smith, who killed a 202-inch monster in 2012.
Indiana ranks No. 7 in trophy production over the last decade, which is no small feat. There's quite a bit of public land, too, so there are plenty of opportunities to go around.
Lucas Cochren's 2011 buck is only one example of Kansas' record-book status. His buck scored 238 4/8 B&C and typifies what comes out of Kansas every year.
If anything, Jeff Iverson's 2012 buck proved that Minnesota is as good as ever when it comes to trophy production. Iverson's buck scored near 230 inches, very close to the state record. All this means Minnesota is a great place to kill a trophy buck this year.
One of the best bucks to come out of Texas was A.J. Downs' megabuck, killed in 2012. His 256 4/8 B&C trophy typifies what Texas is all aboutâ€”and what the future holds for those who venture into the Lone Star State for a trophy buck.
Stanley Suda killed an amazing trophy buck in 2012, which scored in the 230-inch range. His buck, which was killed in early October, typifies what Ohio is all aboutâ€”churning out big bucks on a yearly basis. This makes it a perfect destination to kill a trophy buck this year.