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Illinois among hottest trophy areas

October 13, 2009 at 08:33 PM

MISSOULA, Mont.—Which areas of North America have produced the most Boone and Crockett trophies so far in the new millennium?

With appearances in nine categories of big game species and subspecies, Alaska is tops and easily guessed. Longtime trophy mainstays like Colorado for mule deer and Montana for bighorn sheep also remain at their lofty spots. But even the most discerning hunter might be surprised at other states on the list.

Illinois, for example, is out to a big jump on record-class whitetail deer. Utah is the new pistol-hot destination for monster elk. Nevada has emerged as No. 1 for desert sheep and, amazingly, also makes the list for trophy mountain goats.

“Boone and Crockett records have always been a classic indicator of habitat quality and on-the-ground performance of conservation and management programs. The states and provinces on this list are the best of the best right now,” said Eldon Buckner, chairman of the Boone and Crockett Club’s Records of North American Big Game Committee. “We congratulate these respective wildlife agencies and hold up their work as a model for conservation and game management in the 21st Century.”

Here are the top three trophy producing areas, by type. The number in parentheses is actual entries into Boone and Crockett records (typical and non-typical combined, where applicable) since 2000.


Whitetail—Illinois (523), Wisconsin (442), Iowa (339)
Columbia blacktail—California (155), Oregon (76), Washington (20)
Coues’ whitetail—Mexico (117), Arizona (60), New Mexico (6)
Mule—Colorado (234), Saskatchewan (88), Wyoming (67)
Sitka blacktail—Alaska (54), n/a, n/a


Alaska brown—Alaska (195), n/a, n/a
Black—Wisconsin (238), Pennsylvania (118), Alaska (97)
Grizzly—Alaska (88), British Columbia (50), Yukon Territory (5)


South Dakota (42), Wyoming (36), Utah (17)


Barren ground—Alaska (55), Yukon Territory (8), n/a
Central Canada barren ground—Northwest Territories (74), Manitoba (19), Newfoundland (1)
Mountain—British Columbia (48), Northwest Territories (44), Yukon Territory (29)
Quebec-Labrador—Quebec (113), Newfoundland (10), n/a
Woodland—Newfoundland (89), n/a, n/a


Idaho (36), Alberta (31), Colorado (31), Montana (31)


American—Utah (120), Arizona (86), Montana (47)
Roosevelt’s—Oregon (54), California (50), British Columbia (19)
Tule—California (28), n/a, n/a


Alaska-Yukon—Alaska (158), Yukon Territory (30), Northwest Territories (7)
Canada—British Columbia (117), Maine (39), Alberta (25)
Shiras’—Wyoming (84), Idaho (70), Montana (62)


Nunavut (56), Alaska (34), Northwest Territories (31)


Wyoming (339), New Mexico (207), Nevada (102)

Rocky Mountain goat

British Columbia (107), Alaska (52), Nevada (24)


Bighorn—Montana (220), Alberta (32), Oregon (29)
Dall’s—Alaska (59), Northwest Territories (26), Yukon Territory (20)
Desert—Nevada (61), Arizona (53), Mexico (41)
Stone’s—British Columbia (30), Yukon Territory (4), n/a


Atlantic—Nunavut (2), n/a, n/a
Pacific—Alaska (11), n/a, n/a

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Don’t let those deer numbers fool ya- where’s Kentucky!!?????  the secret’s in the recent years!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/13 at 08:46 PM

As far as public land goes, I’d take Iowa in a heartbeat…...Illinois public land is a waste of time.

Posted by Henry Holt on 10/13 at 09:07 PM

“Illinois public land is a waste of time.” 

You just have to do your homework and be willing to put a little effort in.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/13 at 09:26 PM

Just imagine what we could do with just 2 or 3 well thought out regulation changes! Within 3 years we could once again be hands-down the number 1 place in all of North America for giant whitetails. I am not talking about radical changes either, just some tweaking of what we already do.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/13 at 10:06 PM

Don, I thought we were #1, according to the article:
“Whitetail?Illinois (523), Wisconsin (442), Iowa (339)” That pretty much tells the story about how well the Illinois landowners manage their natural resources, since this State is about 92% private land.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/13 at 10:43 PM

Yep this is the kind of article we need! More outfitters and more money coming into the outlaws in Chicago! Great post man! Lets bring everyone into IL and screw all the resident hunters! Are you kidding me! Come on! This post is just ASKING for more out of state hunters to come here and kill a buck that is around every tree! LOL! Come on! Are you kidding me! Why don’t we we ask them to kill a doe first that would be funny? We all know why they come here…..... its to kill a “BUCK OF A LIFTIME”! Why would you even publish this article? Think about the resident hunters first! IL should think about their resident hunters first!!!!!!!! I would think that Prairie State Outdoors would think about that before publishing this thread!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 03:29 AM

No, not Jeff. Hes been writing about Fulton Co. and Central Ill. for years.  When he blabbed about it, land was gone and farmers started leasing.  Thanks again.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 06:32 AM

FultonCOBuck and Sniper are CORRECT! Thanks Jeff! Yet again selling it like it’s door to door buddy.
I hope your kids or kids kids never have to deal with losing anywhere to hunt becuase of a GREEDY Outfitter.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 06:58 AM

I agree with Tim regarding those numbers. Kentucky is a sleeper state and Iowa doesn’t allow everyone and their dog to hunt there, even if you are a landowner, so not as many hunter opportunities there. Who know’s what Iowa’s numbers would be if they sold as many tags as Illinois!

Posted by Marc Anthony on 10/14 at 08:11 AM

Less than one Booner per county per year. Actually comes out to one Booner per 1.5 counties per year. All seasons- all weapons…....... that seems about right to me.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 08:25 AM

Kicker2, I’ll correct my remark.
Illinois public land, in comaparison to Iowa public land, is a waste of time. I spent a good deal of time on public land in both states and from what I’ve seen there really is no comparison. Like I said, given the choice, I’d take Iowa in a heartbeat.

Posted by Henry Holt on 10/14 at 09:29 AM

Wow guys, this is just a snapshot summary from B&C about all big game records.

I am fairly sure that the secret is already out about Illinois maybe, just maybe having a few nice whitetails hidden away.

This is after all an outdoor and hunting site, is it not?  Why wouldn’t we post some records about our most favorite trophy game animal? Be just a little proud of the numbers.

If we cannot talk about deer records here, I guess the site will be limited to legendary stories of giant record Pumpkinseed sunfish and unsourced ‘cougars amongst us’ pics:)

Probably, many of us have or continue to hunt or fish in other States.  I know I do.  Usually, we are greated by friendly, welcoming people.  Other people, gasp, want to come to Illinois to hunt as well.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 10:16 AM

i agree captain Bill my family has been deer hunting the same southern illinois public ground since the 70’s, and yes we have taken multiple deer to put on the wall from that timber but most of all it gave my cousins and I a place to hunt and to learn from our family about the outdoors and hunting

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 10:22 AM

Maybe we should limit the non-resident archery hunters to 6,000 like Iowa instead of 25,000 like Illinois. Illinois does have “some” decent public land, but it’s worthless when you have to wade through non-residents.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 10:30 AM

EasternILOutdoorsman is right on, its not like IL deer are a secret to anyone.  You can even buy a map from QDM called “Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young Distribution Map” for the range of the white-tail (product No 3029) that I think it updated annually.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 10:36 AM

Here’s a link to the DNR Access to Private Lands Committee. This link is buried in the site because the DNR really doesn’t care about you. They are directed by the Farm Bureau, Non-resident fees, and outfitters. Let them know how you feel.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 10:53 AM

EasternILoutdoorsman is right, and Captain Bill Keim has offered an outlet that hopefully people will tastefully use and not launch a bunch of ignorance towards.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 11:19 AM

Northbear has provided the link- Use it guys…...... and let them know that you do NOT want that committee giveing any endorsement of Access Illinois Outdoors as part of their reccomendation. They are already getting taxpayer dollars to promote leaseing in Illinois ( it is being done through the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs budget so as to keep the hunters in the dark ). They started the leaseing craze by promotion in West Central counties and have now spread to 52 counties in IL. They are lobbying the Access Comittee hard right now to get more taxpayer money and an official endorsement from the committee. Speak up now.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 12:14 PM

I still can’t believe folks will blame press and media members for attracting NR hunters and high dollar leases to our state! I mean, if all the Illinois hunters wouldn’t be entering their bucks in the books then no one would know. BUT, you certainly can’t blame an IL resident for wanting to get his once-in-a-lifetime trophy scored and enetered? As many have mentioned, it’s NO secret that Illinois is a excellent trophy producer.

That being said, as Higgins mentioned, this state could do even better with its big buck production by simply tweaking some regs just a bit and educating our resident sportsman.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 03:40 PM

You guys crack me up.  oh ya, its all Jeff’s fault I lost that piece of ground 20 years to non-res leasers.  Come on!!.  We all know that the state of Chicagois doesn’t give a dam about deer management except getting the harvest numbers higher and higher by selling more and more tags.  I bet the number of non-res tags goes up before anything else.  They just want to see how much money they can make out of everything and charging a non res $500 is a lot better than $25 for a local.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 04:20 PM

This whole thing cracks me up everyone sits around pointing fingers playing the blame game. First its the outfitters, then its the people from out of state, sometimes it both.
Come on give me a break, all these things everyone here complains about is our own fault, all that is happening in this state is residents are getting out bid by outfitters and out of staters instead of fellow residents outbidding each other.
Think about this how many on here would lease land if they could?
. How many do?
. How many allow or would allow Illinois resident hunting? I mean any kind of hunting.
. How many would or do offer youth hunting on their leased ground to kids that may not have a place?
I have seen all of these things being suggested for land owners, outfitters, ect yet never have seen someone putting their mouth where the money is and offering an opportunity to someone else, why hold others to higher standards than ourselves?

See its real easy for us to all play the blame game, but until the value of antlers go down nothing in this state will change. Its time we stop pointing fingers and take a good hard look at ourselves, then take a look at policy makers not outdoors writers, non residents, outfitters ect..I hope everyone here has used the links posted for some constructive points.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 06:49 PM

well said cougs.  its the big trophy chasers who drive up the price and cost of everything.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 07:51 PM

Jeff doesnt care because he barely hunts at all

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 09:53 PM

Permit restrictions? I’m all for it - resident and NR alike. Even if it means I miss out on a year or two. The herd and sportsmen will benefit in the long run; plus DVCs will happen regardless.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/14 at 10:07 PM

Cougs, I WOULD NOT lease and never will. If that day comes I will take my punches on public land like others. I like some others would like to see more public land available instead of it being leased. AND yes a few tweaks inthe right direction would make even our current public lands more enjoyable to hunt. I have a few friends that said they’d quit hunting if they ever leased. Well they lease now and I just don’t get it. Way to go fellas. smile But they can’t biatch like they use too about leasing smile We all now that until Chicago quits making up a regs the herd…whatever the numbers maybe…will suffer one way or another.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/15 at 06:58 AM

Jeff2020, you bring up good points and I can’t disagree, I have just come to a point that I know very little of the finger pointing on here is pointed in the right direction. I do think the CRP land needs to be looked at, a simple google search for hunting property will show you its being abused.
Markeje, I know what you mean and while leasing is a personal choice I choose not to make, I also know its here to stay. The days of driving up to the ol’ farmers house to ask permission are long past and will probably never be seen again.
I think Jeff2020 summed it up best with “The only real, fair solution is for the state to establish more public sites or increase access to existing public sites.  Public land belongs to the people; private land doesn’t.”.
Now the only way this will happen people is for us to point in the right direction.
.1.Can the out of staters make us more parks?
.2.Can the outfitters make us parks?
.3.What about farmers?
So that means that our elected officials are the ones they alone have the power to fix it yet they choose to ignore things, they have even taken anouther million from the aquisition fund this year instead of using it for what it was intended and purchase more land.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/15 at 09:15 AM












Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/15 at 05:01 PM

Nope too be honest, I really have never looked for anything besides morels or should say never felt confident trying anything else.I may have to start looking while I’m out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/15 at 10:33 PM

Nice batch of records..Just came back from Wisconsen where the World Record Muskie was caught…didn’t get so much as a much for records, but I’m all for introducing Walrus to Illinois…I could eat off of that thing for two years or more.  Sad thing is we use to have Bear, Elk and Bison roaming around here..Maybe they’d let me put up a tree stand in Wildlife Praire Park:)

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/17 at 05:04 PM

Seriously BowhunterDave…...Illinois used to have Elk, Bison, and large carnivores like black bear and cougars.  A few years back, IDNR proposed stocking a few Elk in the Shawnee National Forest’s wilderness areas in Southern Illinois, similar to Kentucky’s very successful reintroduction of the Elk in their Eastern Mountain ranges.  Now Kentucky has a great Elk hunt and every year a few more elk hunters don’t have to go all the way to Colorado to hunt Elk.  What happened to IDNR’s proposal to re-stock Elk in Illinois?  The same thing that happens to every decent proposal that they come up with….....the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Country Companies Insurance lobbyists lied, cheated, and bribed their way to get it stopped.  There is no biological or scientific reason that Elk could not thrive in Southern Illinois, the Shawnee National Forest contains more than 270,000 acres, more than enough to provide wonderful Elk hunting and wildlife watching opportunities for the Illinois sportsmen.  The only reason that we don’t have them now is because of the fact that our natural resources/conservation agency is governed by a legislature made up mostly of sleazy politicians more concerned where their next “pay to play” kick-back is coming from rather than doing right by the people who elected them. They should change those signs along the highways on the borders of the State to read: “Welcome to Illinois the land of Boone & Crockett record-class whitetail deer, and where your ex-governors make the license plates.”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/17 at 09:58 PM

I’d say we should just sink Chicago into the lake. I suppose the pollution would be pretty bad. Maybe we could lease it to Wisconsin!

Posted by JMcCullum on 10/19 at 12:44 PM

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