trophy buckThere is no doubt that deer are the most hunted big game animal in North America and the whitetail deer is the king of animals being pursued. Trophies are seldom seen and hard-won, but if you pick the right place to hunt your chances at trophy success go up dramatically. Here are the five best trophy states that every hunter should know about.

Iowa This state is one of the most resident-friendly states to hunt as hunters are allowed to harvest two bucks. If you are a non-resident, you have to draw a tag – but only once every three years. Iowa can be counted on to produce Boone & Crockett caliber deer in the double digits every year. Guided hunts run around $5,000.00 on average.

Ohio This state boasts plenty of public land, over-the-counter tags and great trophy potential.  It’s connected to two other top trophy states and some of the state’s largest deer have been harvested in the last five years.

Kentucky The Blue Grass State has been up and coming for a decade and it is not even close to peaking yet. Kentucky is extremely friendly to out-of-state hunters and the western part of the state is the best producer of trophy deer.

Wisconsin This state produced over 30 booners last year. Buffalo County gets all the attention, but the rest of the state is holding its own as only two of the 30+ booners actually came from Buffalo County. Dunn and Pierce counties are up-and-comers. Another plus for hunting in Wisconsin is that out-of-state hunters can find low priced semi-guided or guided hunts to give them a chance at a trophy buck. 

Illinois Although Indiana and Kansas are deserving of being in the top-5, Illinois started the trophy Whitetail craze in the Midwest and it is still holding its own. There were close to 30 booners taken in Illinois the last two consecutive years and the good news is that Pike County is no longer carrying the trophy torch by itself. La Porte, LaGrange and DeKalb counties are emerging as top destinations and guided hunts can still be had for reasonable prices in these places.

Illinois has a ton of awesome river bottom land that not only grows the nation’s best crops, but it also is saturated with the nutrients that deer need to grow large bodies and large racks. Illinois is still the best of the best for trophy bucks.