In the 21st Century, Illinois is the runaway leader for trophy whitetail entries in the Boone and Crockett Club's record book.
There's a reason for the popularity of the walls of trophy bucks, such as this one in 2008, at the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic.
With 523 B&C entries since 2000, Illinois easily tops Wisconsin (442) and Iowa (339).
Here's the world from the B&C:
North America's Hottest Trophy Areas
Which areas of North America have produced the most Boone and Crockett trophies so far in the new millennium?
With appearances in 9 categories of big game species and subspecies, Alaska is tops and easily guessed. Longtime trophy mainstays like Colorado for mule deer and Montana for bighorn sheep also remain at their lofty spots. But even the most discerning hunter might be surprised at other states on the list.
Illinois, for example, is out to a big jump on record-class whitetail deer. Utah is the new pistol-hot destination for monster elk. Nevada has emerged as No. 1 for desert sheep and, amazingly, also makes the list for trophy mountain goats.
"Boone and Crockett records have always been a classic indicator of habitat quality and on-the-ground performance of conservation and management programs. The states and provinces on this list are the best of the best right now," said Eldon Buckner, chairman of the Boone and Crockett Club's Records of North American Big Game Committee. "We congratulate these respective wildlife agencies and hold up their work as a model for conservation and game management in the 21st Century."
Here are the top 3 trophy producing areas, by type. The number in parentheses is actual entries into Boone and Crockett records (typical and non-typical combined, where applicable) since 2000.
Alaska brown--Alaska (195), n/a, n/a
Black--Wisconsin (238), Pennsylvania (118), Alaska (97)
Grizzly--Alaska (88), British Columbia (50), Yukon Territory (5)
Bison--South Dakota (42), Wyoming (36), Utah (17)
Barren ground--Alaska (55), Yukon Territory (8), n/a
Central Canada barren ground--Northwest Territories (74), Manitoba (19), Newfoundland (1)
Mountain--British Columbia (48), Northwest Territories (44), Yukon Territory (29)
Quebec-Labrador--Quebec (113), Newfoundland (10), n/a
Woodland--Newfoundland (89), n/a, n/a
Cougar--Idaho (36), Alberta (31), Colorado (31), Montana (31)
Columbia blacktail--California (155), Oregon (76), Washington (20)
Coues' whitetail--Mexico (117), Arizona (60), New Mexico (6)
Mule--Colorado (234), Saskatchewan (88), Wyoming (67)
Sitka blacktail--Alaska (54), n/a, n/a
Whitetail--Illinois (523), Wisconsin (442), Iowa (339)
American--Utah (120), Arizona (86), Montana (47)
Roosevelt's--Oregon (54), California (50), British Columbia (19)
Tule--California (28), n/a, n/a
Alaska-Yukon--Alaska (158), Yukon Territory (30), Northwest Territories (7)
Canada--British Columbia (117), Maine (39), Alberta (25)
Shiras'--Wyoming (84), Idaho (70), Montana (62)
Muskox--Nunavut (56), Alaska (34), Northwest Territories (31)
Pronghorn--Wyoming (339), New Mexico (207), Nevada (102)
Rocky Mountain goat--British Columbia (107), Alaska (52), Nevada (24)
Bighorn--Montana (220), Alberta (32), Oregon (29)
Dall's--Alaska (59), Northwest Territories (26), Yukon Territory (20)
Desert--Nevada (61), Arizona (53), Mexico (41)
Stone's--British Columbia (30), Yukon Territory (4), n/a
Atlantic--Nunavut (2), n/a, n/a
Pacific--Alaska (11), n/a, n/a
Complete Internet access to the Boone and Crockett Club's trophy records database is available via subscription to Trophy Search. Records from 1830 to the present may be searched by species, locations, years and more. An annual subscription is $50 (Boone and Crockett Club members receive a discount). Order at www.boone-crockett.org or by calling 888-840-4868.
About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the National Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For details, visit www.booneandcrockettclub.com.