McHenry, Lake, Will and Kane counties are top spots for trophy bucks? Not just in Illinois but in the United States?
On one hand, I understand how those counties grow monster whitetails--the collar counties (while you're at it, throw in Cook County and Chicago too) have good conditions for big bucks reaching full maturity--but where do the hunters find enough hunter-accessible land any more?
About the time I was finally finished shoveling out last weekend, I received the poster/map from Quality Deer Management Association showing county by county distribution of Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young record-book bucks killed during the period from 1996 to 2005.
It's fascinating stuff.
Sorry Iowa (I'm not really), but it's pretty much a Wisconsin vs. Illinois battle.
Buffalo County in Wisconsin and Pike County in Illinois' fabled Golden Triangle are 1-2 in P&Y, B&C and combined for that period.
But more fascinating for me was the dent the collar counties put in the top 50 for that decade.
For P&Y records, McHenry was ninth, Lake 12th and Will 23rd. Even Kane came in 40th.
For B&C records, only McHenry (21st) among collar counties touched the top 50. That makes sense, the other collar counties have more limited access for firearm hunters.
McHenry also came in ninth for combined P&Y and B&C records, while Lake was 19th, Will 27th and Kane 48th.
The poster/map is $9.95 plus shipping/handling at www.QDMA.com or (800) 209-3337.