Conservation

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Boone and Crockett Club's State Big Game Records

Whether you’re looking for record-book whitetail deer or the biggest moose to come out of your state, look no further. Here, you can search the Boone and Crockett database for state records for big game from Alaska to Mexico. 

More to come...

 

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Hunters wait a lifetime or spend a fortune at a chance to hunt record-book bighorn sheep in the Missouri River Breaks or the cliffs of western Montana. Nearly as impressive, Montana’s elk hunting features a shot at some trophy bulls, too. Then, of course, you can always try hunting for cougars, bison, pronghorn, the list of species to hunt in Montana seems limitless.
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Much like Wyoming, Colorado is a sporting paradise. Roaming those sage-covered hillsides, record-book mule deer were quite numerous, especially in the top 20. A few pronghorn and black bear make an appearance in the top 100. The antlers belonging to John Plute’s famous “meat bull” were pulled out of Dark Canyon after the locals didn’t believe him when he told them how big the antlers were. While the state’s elk are numerous, there aren’t that many record bulls running around anymore. Then again, you can just wait a lifetime to draw a tag in one of their trophy units and see if you can find one yourself.
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Arkansas is known for world-class duck hunting, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook its deer and bear hunting opportunities. The state’s biggest whitetail deer to date came out of Prairie County in 1999, and the state record typical scored 211 points. No one county can really stake a claim as the king of whitetail habitat, but thanks to the Boone and Crockett Club’s County Search Tool hunters can see that the southeast corner of the state is where they should focus their time. The same is true for the state’s black bear hunting, which has more than a few respectable entries.
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That’s right, Oklahoma stakes claim to the world’s largest peanut, but a quick look at the record book reveals a variety of big game species there for the chasing. The panhandle features pronghorn hunting with a 2018 entry that scores more than 82 points. Typical and nontypical whitetail deer entries abound. Black bears aren’t shy about making the book, either, but the real curveball is elk. The largest populations are found in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge (established by early Boone and Crockett members). Since the 1960s, the state has held a hunt there to manage elk populations. Only one elk made it to the records so far.
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Thankfully, the state of Georgia’s hunting season runs well past the regular college football season. Die-hard Bulldogs fans can rest easy knowing they won’t miss a game or a chance to hunt some whitetail deer and a few black bears in the Georgia pines. Monroe County had a couple of whopper deer entries, but that was decades ago. Today, Worth and Dooly County are coming into their own. And apparently they have plenty of deer since hunters can take up to a dozen. Interestingly, the last four black bear entries have all been “pick ups” and are owned by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
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Michigan is an angler’s paradise. With more freshwater shoreline than any other state, Michigan offers up some of the best fishing for walleye, bass, pike, and muskie. If you like to hunt, then put down the fishing pole and pick up your rifle or bow for big bears and whitetail deer. In the Upper Peninsula, Menominee County has a ridiculous number of black bear record entries. If whitetails are more your thing, Jackson County just west of Detroit is waiting for you. To keep things interesting, Michigan has not one, but two, typical American elk entries.
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Home to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, South Dakota is also a great state in which to hunt bison, whitetail and mule deer, elk, and even pronghorn. Bison entries abound from Custer County in the southwest. The state’s largest bighorn killed in 2018 sits solidly in the top five of all time. Deer entries aren’t as common as they were decades ago, but elk are starting to make the book there. The state’s largest non-typical elk scored an even 411 points when it was killed in 2020. That same year, another non-typical was killed with a score of 408-4/8 points.
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When you hear Nebraska, what do you think? If you think cornfield whitetails, then you’d only be partially right. Yes, there are some seriously large whitetail deer from Nebraska in the records, but there are a number of other impressive big game records as well. Take the typical mule deer taken in 2007, which scored more than 200 points. Then there’s the bighorn ram killed there in 2017. Perhaps the cherry on top is the typical American elk killed in 2020 that scores just north of 400 points. Pretty soon those whitetails are going to have to learn how to share all that record-book glory.
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While they may be called Canada moose, quite a number of them call the great state of Maine home. Drawing a tag for Canada moose isn’t exactly easy, but neither is hauling out a mature bull. The other name of the game for the Pine Tree State is whitetail deer. The 1980s and ‘90s were good to Maine deer, but record-book entries have dropped off since the new millennium. The good news is that the black bears just seem to get bigger as time goes on. Hunters should look to Aroostook County in the very northern tip of the state for the best shot at record-book game.
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While Wisconsin has plenty of game to hunt like turkey, upland birds—and even elk and wolves—it’s the whitetail deer and black bears that make the record book. In fact, their black bears are consistently in the top 100, and they have been since 2000. To hunt one of the state’s 24,000 estimated bruins, hunters have to apply for roughly 11,500 permits. More than 129,000 hunters applied in 2021. As for deer, Wisconsin is home to the Jordan buck, the number three typical whitetail of all time. The state has plenty of typical deer entries in the 180-inch range, and there are a number of non-typicals over 220 as well.
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The all-time records overflow with pronghorn entries from New Mexico, and Mike Gallo’s buck from 2013 is the current World’s Record at 96-4/8. Not to be outdone, Coues’ deer have a number of high-scoring entries, and desert sheep are scattered through the top 50. A handful of non-typical elk, cougar, and mule deer round out the state. While there are no Boone and Crockett categories for them, oryx, Barbary sheep, and javelina should catch your eye the next time you travel there.
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Like its midwestern neighbors, Iowa is about whitetail deer. Sure, there are other opportunities to hunt turkey, migratory waterfowl and small game, but for big game hunting, it’s going to be whitetails. The highest number of all-time entries in the top 50 goes to the non-typical category. Most of those bucks high on the list have come in the 21st century while the top typical bucks entries seem to have fallen off a cliff by the turn of the millennium. The majority of Iowa’s record-book buck entries have come out of Allamakee County in the far northeastern corner. Close on its heels is Warren County just south of Des Moines.
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If you’re looking for adventure, head north. If you can find a good weather window after the bugs have turned to skeeter icicles, you will be rewarded. There you’ll find Alaska brown bears, musk ox, Alaska-Yukon moose, barren-ground caribou, and black bears. Don’t forget Dall’s sheep and Rocky Mountain goat on that bucket list. If you’re looking for a more accessible adventure and want to jump in feet first, check out the Sitka blacktail deer hiding on the islands. But do be careful. All those record-book bears think they’re tasty, too.
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It’s a little known fact that Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was a maniacal whitetail hunter. That’s right, folks. You heard it here first. While Kansas’ record-book entries are overwhelmingly of the whitetail variety, the state has managed to throw a few curve balls. There’s the 88-inch pronghorn taken in 2013. Quite a few mule deer have come out of the state, too. And check this out. In 1988, one lucky hunter took a 400-inch plus non-typical elk there. Of course, whitetails still reign supreme and Brian Butcher’s non-typical that scored 321-3/8 is the cherry on top.
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For hunters and anglers, the great state of Washington may only be rivaled by Alaska. A number of record-book Columbia whitetail deer came out of the state before Y2K never happened. Since then, the pickings have been slim. Never fear; there’s plenty more to hunt. You can always shift your sights on elk—Rocky Mountain in the east or Roosevelt’s in the west. There’s Shiras’ moose for those gifted at drawing tags. Quite a few large cougars also make the record-book cut. Rocky Mountain goat, bighorn sheep, and mule deer round out this sportsman’s paradise.
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For such a massive state, Texas boasts very little public land. Hopefully you know a buddy with a big ranch. If not, plenty of guides and outfitters will be happy to lead you to find some decent whitetail bucks and some even better (scoring) pronghorn. There’s even an elk entry from 1934, but because they are not considered a game animal today, elk can’t be entered into the records. There’s even a jaguar from 1903. Desert sheep are an option here as are book-worthy mule deer of both the typical and non-typical variety.
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Missouri has more than a few oversized objects. There’s the 12-foot-long pecan, a 42-foot-tall rocking chair, and the world’s largest chess piece. Why? We really don’t know. But we do know that they also have a number of oversized whitetail bucks running around the state. Callaway County is west of St. Louis, and it has the most entries of any county. St. Louis County is home to the massive non-typical pick up found in 1981. This buck scores 333-7/8, and it happens to be the World’s Record by more than five points.
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If there ever was a sleeper state for whitetail deer, Indiana might be it. Consider Dustin Huff’s typical whitetail that scores 211-4/8 points. He killed that deer in 2021. That’s second only to Milo Hansen’s Canadian monster. And those deer will likely keep getting bigger because the state instituted a one-buck rule in 2002. Read more about that here. Consider this. From 1980-2002, Indiana hunters entered 209 Boone and Crockett whitetails into the records. From 2003-2020, after the one-buck rule was implemented, hunters there entered 683 B&C bucks. That’s nearly 500 more bucks entered in a shorter time span. Not bad.
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How much public land do you think sits in Nevada? The answer is 85 percent. Granted, much of it sawdust dry, but that doesn’t mean big game can’t thrive here. In recent years, pronghorn have made an appearance in the records as well as a number of Rocky Mountain goats. Believe it! Desert sheep make for a challenging hunt if you can get a tag. Plus, bighorn sheep and California bighorns live there, too. And yes, there are elk there, and a number of them are well north of the 400 mark.
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Do you want to know a secret in the world of whitetail deer? Kentucky! If you’re looking to hunt trophy whitetail deer and even black bear, Kentucky is a solid bet. In fact, Kentucky ranks in the top 10 states for whitetails, according to the Boone and Crockett Club’s Records of North American Whitetail Deer . Kentucky wasn’t always the big buck factory that it has become. Consider that the majority of its top 10 record entries have been entered since 2000. And keep an eye out for big bull elk that are a recent transplant. They’re starting to grow very, very large!
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It doesn’t matter if you like the clean lines and picture-perfect symmetry of a typical whitetail or if you’re more into the kickers, stickers, drop-tines and freakish nature of a big non-typical, Ohio has you covered—and the deer are all over the state. The state has seen some real whoppers since 2000, including one non-typical that scored 295-3/8 in 2006. Since then, there have been more than a few entries over the 250 mark. As for typical whitetail deer, only one crosses that 200-point threshold. Even so, the state is crawling with big deer.
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The good news is that Idaho has just about any species a hunter would love to hunt. The bad news is they’re just not as big as they used to be. The 1950s and ‘60s saw record-book mule deer being taken, and while there’s no doubt the state has some whoppers running around, the trends suggest the good old days may be behind them for mule deer. If you want to chase down a trophy cougar or maybe a Shiras’ moose, then give Idaho a try. Tags there aren’t going to break the bank, either.
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So you like Columbia blacktail deer? How about Roosevelt’s elk? If either one of those species happens to be your jam, then Oregon holds the best book potential for your money. Look to the wet and rainy West Coast timber cuts for them. It’s not all rainforest, though. Look to the arid southeast where the antelope (pronghorn) play, and you might even find a top 10 all-time entry down there. With proper management, the Rocky Mountain goat population is expanding and growing some whoppers. Mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk and bighorn sheep call the state home as well.
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Utah is home to the current World’s Record non-typical American elk and black bear. It’s great for mule deer, too. The problem is that everyone knows that. If you apply for a tag to hunt in a trophy unit there, buy a Powerball ticket at the same time—your odds of winning are likely the same. Fear not wishful hunter. There are “average Joe” hunts if you take the time to look. With varied landscapes, Utah’s variety of wildlife is robust. With Rocky Mountain goat, bison, Shiras’ moose, pronghorn, cougar, black bear, and bighorn sheep, you’ll be able to find something you can hunt.
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When it comes to hunting big game, the Cowboy State has it all—and we’re not getting paid to say that. Just look at the records. With more than a dozen categories and nearly that many species, Wyoming is hard to beat for bison, elk, pronghorn, Shiras’ moose, mule deer, and even cougars. The state leads the records for top entries of Shiras’ moose and a few typical mule deer break into the top 10 of all-time. While they’re pronghorn may not be the biggest in the country, there are plenty of entries in the high 80-class.
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Not surprisingly, Arizona is home to a number of desert-dwelling, record-book entries. From pronghorn to desert sheep to Coues’ deer and even a century-old jaguar. This is Grand Canyon country in the north and to the south, you find yourself in true organ pipe cactus territory. Pronghorn have a solid grip on the top 10 entries, but desert sheep reign supreme in Arizona record-book entries. This is Coues’ (pronounced cows) deer country, too, and both typical and non-typical categories show promise. The state is home to the number one typical elk that scores 442-5/8, and two other top 10 entries round out that category.
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This may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but it doubles as the land of big whitetail bucks, some Canada moose, black bear and even a top five non-typical elk that died of pneumonia after it got its antlers stuck in the mud—true story! The big typical whitetail deer made the records many, many years ago. To be honest, the top black bear entries and that non-typical elk all happened in the 21st century. Nobody is saying the state is living in the past, but according to the records, Minnesota just isn’t producing record bucks these days.
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California is long, like more than 1,000 miles long. Thanks to that north-south spread and being along the Pacific Coast, it has some truly unique antlered animals that happen to like wet climates—and they can get pretty big, too. Granted it’s the only state with tule elk, so it has a lock on those entries, but Columbia blacktail have a solid showing in the records, as do Roosevelt’s elk. Believe it or not the state boasts a black bear in the top 10 all-time and a desert sheep breaks into the top 20.
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It’s deer, deer, and more deer for Illinois in the Boone and Crockett records. To be fair, the state does offer hunting for turkey, waterfowl, small game, upland birds, and furbearers, but we do not keep records for longest spurs on a turkey or fluffiest squirrel tail. Illinois made waves back in 2018 when Luke Brewster killed a giant non-typical whitetail in Edgar County that scored a mind-boggling 327-7/8. For the moment, it sits at the number three spot for all-time non-typical whitetail.
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Pennsylvania is known for huge record-book black bears. The whitetail deer is also the official state animal—and they are huge. Most recently, the state has seen some massive non-typical American elk enter the record book. Elk reintroductions in Pennsylvania started as far back as 1913, and they are descendents of Rocky Mountain elk from Yellowstone National Park. With help from organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to bolster elk habitat, the state held its first elk hunt in the 21st century in 2001.

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt