Each year, those watching Team Realtree’s incredible archery hunts on TV and on DVDs marvel at the big bucks they harvest. Thanks to Realtree, the places where these brute bucks thrive are revealed to the viewers--The Milk River in Montana; Iowa; Illinois, Kansas; Texas; and more. However, the Realtree crew can cover only so much ground in a given year. Knowing this, the staff at Realtree decided to give all of you realtree.com readers the complete heads-up on P & Y bucks, listing not only the top 10 states, but the top 10 counties within each of those states. It doesn’t get any better than that!
POPE & YOUNG GONE WILD!
The P & Y record bucks have been flooded with entries over the past few years, with the non-typical category absolutely going wild. In 2003 David Jones of Illinois tapped out a great buck with 36 points. It scored 267 1/8 inches, making it the 4th best non-typical in archery history!
And to show you don’t have to be a seasoned hunter to succeed, in 2003 16-year-old Brian Andrews of Iowa killed a 26-point Buchanan County trophy that tallied 253 1/8 inches. The Andrews’ buck placed number 8 all-time in the P & Y non-typical charts. And finally, a non-typical score that has stood at the top of the charts for an astonishing 42 years, the 279 7/8 inch Del Austin buck, has finally been displaced. The Michael Beatty buck from Ohio finally gained entry, and at 294 inches even, it is now the top non-typical buck ever taken by a bowhunter.
With this last change, 40 percent of the top 10 non-typicals in the P & Y record books have been replaced in just the last four years!
One old time record, though, still stands, and that’s Mel Johnson’s long-standing world-record typical from 1965, a 204 4/8-inch beauty. However, if you hold your thumb and first finger 1 1/2 inches apart, you will see how close Hubert “Tiggy” Collins’ 203 3/8-inch typical came from being the new archery typical world record. It was taken on October 25, 2003 in Sturgeon River, Saskatchewan.
Amazingly, my statistics reveal that 35% of the entries in the top 10 typical and non-typical categories of the P & Y record book have been tagged within the past eight years! And most of them have been taken from the states listed in our top 10.
If you live in the southeast or some regions of the northeast, traveling to one of the hot P & Y states will almost assure you of taking your personal best buck if you hunt smart. For example, only 25 typical P & Y bucks have ever been taken from South Carolina. Illinois alone is getting close to cranking out a staggering 5,000 typical P & Y whitetails!
GOING FOR GOLD
If you want to hunt states with the best high-end potential, here’s the info.
For the very top end typicals, Iowa can’t be beat. Out of the top 20 typicals in history, 7 of them have come from Iowa. Combine the best typicals from Iowa and Illinois, and the two states have produced 46 of the top 100 typical bucks in history. All of them score above 180 inches!
When it comes to gnarly old non-typicals, Kansas is king. It has grown 9 of the top 20 scoring archery non-typicals in history. Total up the non-typicals from Kansas and Illinois and an astonishing 51 of the top 100 scoring non-typicals in the P & Y record book have come from these two states. All of them score over 210 inches, making them true megabucks.
If you want to try and kill a typical deer scoring over 150 inches, your odds of success are best in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas and Ohio. For non-typicals scoring over 170 inches, the top five states are Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas and Ohio.
By studying the accompanying charts, you’ll know the best trophy whitetail hunting counties in the nation. Remember, though, that inspiration without perspiration usually results in disappointment. It will be up to you to contact state agencies, obtain topo maps, use weather radios for wind directions, and maintain the discipline and drive it takes put your tag on a Pope & Young buck.
TOP 10 P&Y STATES
ILLINOIS TOP 10 COUNTIES
7. Jo Daviess.
IOWA TOP 10 COUNTIES
3. Van Buren
9. Des Moines
KANSAS TOP 10 COUNTIES
WISCONSIN TOP 10 COUNTIES
OHIO TOP 10 Counties
INDIANA TOP 10 COUNTIES
6. St. Joseph
MINNESOTA TOP 10 COUNTIES
MISSOURI TOP 10 COUNTIES
2. St. Louis
7. St. Charles
NEBRASKA TOP 10 COUNTIES
KENTUCKY TOP 10 COUNTIES
WHAT IT TAKES TO BOOK ONE
The minimum entry scores for the Pope & Young record book are125 inches for a typical whitetail, 155 inches for a non-typical. Only longbow, recurve and compound bow entries are accepted. To find an official Pope & Young measurer near you, type in www.pope-young.org, then click on Measuring Info. It will show the measurers in your area and give the answers to the most frequently asked measuring questions.
State-By-State Info: You can check to see what the dates are for the state’s deer hunting seasons, and their draw requirements, if any, by clicking on realtree.com’s Hunting Resources, then State DNRs, and the contact information for every state DNR will appear. Topographical and aerial map information is also included on Hunting Resources.
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