Ask Dr. Dave Samuel About Whitetails: Where To Find Trophy Bucks

Gale C. from North Dakota asks, “where should I hunt if I want to take a trophy buck?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

If you check the Boone and Crockett record book, which has firearm trophies listed in it, the top states today (and for the past 10 or so years) include Illinois and Iowa, (these are tied for 1st), Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio, Texas, and Indiana.

Thirty years ago, you wouldn’t have found Illinois, Iowa, or Kansas on that list. Where will things go in the future? Farm-country bucks will still be huge, but we’ll also see some great bucks coming out of Kentucky. I also look for Missouri to keep growing in trophy production and Indiana could be a sleeper if they reduce the buck harvest a bit. Pennsylvania also will be interesting to follow as they have implemented an antler restriction for bucks this year.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a deer question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at

Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 30 years.

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