Is this the year you set your sights beyond your own home hunting boundaries and go after that faraway buck with true record book potential? Or maybe your local hunt houses a monster with record potential and you’re wondering if you should just focus on things right there? North American Whitetail has taken a look at Boone & Crockett’s Trophy Search, showing which ones offer a realistic choice at a true B&C trophy this season. Despite concerns about the drought that slammed much of the country, as well as disease outbreaks that can have a huge impact on trophy potential, this year has the chance to be a monster-producing year. Here are our picks for the top eight states to kill a giant buck in 2012.
“A lot of bucks are going to have difficulty reaching their full antler potential this year due to the drought,” says whitetail biologist and Growing Deer TV host Dr. Grant Woods. That being said, they aren’t going to disappear, either. A big buck last year may not leap up in size like he would with optimal feed and water, but it’s doubtful he’s going to shrink much either.
Where EHD is concerned, Illinois’ last big outbreaks were in 2007 and before that in 1998. How many bucks did the state put in the Top 50 Typical and Non-typical lists those years? A total of 32, which indicates that despite years where deer herds suffer EHD outbreaks, the odds for taking a record buck remain as high there as they do elsewhere.
While Pike County still gets the ink, a growing number of hunters are starting to believe the odds of a hunter scoring one are beginning to get played out. Hunts here can run you top dollar and because lease rates are so high, outfitters are forced to run herds of hunters through the season. If you can swing it with a top outfitter there, go for it; but if not, look elsewhere in the state, particularly toward the Indiana line, which is producing ample beasts itself. Of the 27 Illinois bucks to make the records last year, two hailed from Pike.