Do Any of These Bad Boone and Crockett States Come as a Surprise?
I love records. I love them because they help inform us on where deer populations are thriving. Likewise, it shows how some states are phenomenal for hunting big deer. And how other states aren’t. These are some of the latter.
Antler Nation Grade: C
While Connecticut’s deer population is on the rise, it hasn’t resulted in a non-typical Booner in a long time. They only have four total entries all-time. That said, they do have 15 typical entries. All said, if you do choose to hunt Connecticut in search of big deer, focus on the northwestern counties, as well as Middlesex County, too.
With a herd just 19,000-strong, they don’t have a lot of deer. But the hunting isn’t terrible, at least, not unless you’re after record Boone and Crockett non-typicals. Because Rhode Island has never produced one.
New Hampshire has nine total non-typicals in the books, but none in the last 10 years. Most southern counties are your best bet for trophy production, though. And certainly don’t overlook Rockingham, Grafton and Hillsborough Counties.
This is the land of the big-woods deer hunters. There’s also a lot of urban bowhunting. As for big bucks, it’s only produced two non-typical B&C entries, though, and none in the last 10 years. If planning a public-land DIY trip to this state, I’d hedge my bet on the Green Mountain National Forest.
With only three total non-typical Booners, South Carolina isn’t exactly a powerhouse. Furthermore, the record entries (both typical and non-typical) do not follow a pattern. But historically, Aiken, Anderson and Orangeburg often produce the biggest deer.
It’s odd to think that Florida has produced more non-typical B&C deer (two total) than some northeastern states, but it has. Both have come from the Panhandle region and were entered in 1941 and 1959. While it might not be a great place for 185-inch-plus deer, it does harbor a healthy number of Pope-and-Young-class whitetails.
Wyoming has 24 total B&C non-typical bucks under its belt, but none in the last decade. Recent outbreaks of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) have led to a decline in modern trophy production. Big bucks can be found in the state, though — even on public land. On the upside, hunter success rates are typically over 50 percent.
New Mexico has never produced a B&C non-typical whitetail and only one typical entry. But it does have good Coues whitetail trophy potential with a total of 55 combined entries in both categories. If you want to chase the true whitetail subspeces commonly found throughout the country, focus on the river bottoms along the Texas border.
Oregon only has about 15,000 whitetails, and it only has one record B&C non-typical entry. But if you’re determined to kill a big Oregon whitetail, focus on the northeastern corner of the state. Umatilla, Union and Wallowa Counties are your best bet. Most of the state’s population has occurred due to expansion out of Idaho and Washington.
Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah
These states do not harbor huntable populations of whitetails, and thus, have not produced any record non-typical whitetails. These states are more suited for fishing, sunbathing and big game adventures.