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.

Deer

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

Bear

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

Bison

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

Caribou

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

Cougar

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

Elk

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

Moose

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)

Muskox

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

Pronghorn

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

Rocky Mountain goat

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

Sheep

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

Walrus

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