The results are in: White-tailed deer management efforts are working great across North America. According to the guys over at the Boone and Crockett Club, the number of trophy class whitetail bucks has increased significantly over the past few decades. As interest by private landowners in wildlife habitat and deer management techniques continues to accelerate, this big buck boon should come as no surprise. It appears the North American Model of wildlife management, at least as it pertains to whitetail deer, is going strong.
So, which areas are producing the most B&C trophy bucks? The old go-to states, such as Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri are still going strong, but you might be surprised that states such as Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas are inching up in the number of book entries. Producing quality whitetails has always been about animals getting good nutrition and allowing bucks to mature. It appears white-tailed deer in North America, and the folks that hunt them, are benefiting from both as well.
Source: Trophy whitetail entries from 2011 hunting seasons are beginning to pour into Boone and Crockett Club headquarters. But while the sporting world waits to see which states are hot–or not–producers of giant bucks, North America’s overall robust trend in whitetail entries is a story for all conservationists to celebrate
B&C historical records show that trophy whitetails are up 400 percent over the past 30 years.
“It’s worth remembering where America’s favorite big-game species stood not so long ago—at the brink of extinction,” said Ben Wallace, Club president. “In 1900, less than 500,000 whitetails remained. But habitat programs, research, science-based management, regulations and enforcement, all led and funded by hunters, brought this game animal back to extraordinary levels. Today there are more than 32 million whitetails!”
The Boone and Crockett system of scoring big-game trophies originated in 1906 as a means of recording details on species thought to be disappearing. Over time, these records evolved as an effective way to track the success or failure of conservation efforts.
As North America’s whitetail herd has grown, numbers of big bucks also have risen. For the period 1980-1985, hunters entered 617 trophy whitetails into Boone and Crockett records. For the period 2005-2010, the total jumped to 3,090, an increase of 400 percent.
During this 30-year span, many states and provinces saw percentage gains much greater than the continental average (see data below). For example, trophy whitetail entries from Wisconsin have risen 857 percent. In Illinois, the increase is 896 percent. Ontario went from a single entry to a whopping 41—a 4,000 percent gain!
Six states and provinces had zero entries in 1980-1985. For 2005-2010, they combined for 48.
Boone and Crockett offers two premier ways to trace and detail historic conservation developments, not just with whitetails but many other species as well.
A book, “Records of North American Big Game,” offers detailed tabular listings for trophies in 38 different categories of game. Each entry includes the all-time entry score, date harvested, location of kill, hunter and owner names, and selected measurements. At 768 pages, the book retails for $49.95.
A searchable online database, called “Trophy Search,” is another exceptional resource. By buying an annual subscription, users can sort B&C archival data in infinite ways to identify national as well as local trends. An annual subscription is $50.
Boone and Crockett Club Associates receive discounts on both items. Order online at www.boone-crockett.org or by calling 888-840-4868.
B&C Trophy Whitetails, 2005-2010: Typical and non-typical combined
1. Wisconsin, 383 entries (1980-1985 rank 3rd, 40 entries)
2. Illinois, 299 entries (1980-1985 rank 6th, 30 entries)
3. Iowa, 224 entries (1980-1985 rank 2nd, 59 entries)
4. Ohio, 215 entries (1980-1985 rank 14th, 16 entries)
5. Missouri, 214 entries (1980-1985 rank 9th (tie), 25 entries)
6. Kentucky, 199 entries (1980-1985 rank 9th (tie), 25 entries)
7. Indiana, 195 entries (1980-1985 rank 16th, 14 entries)
8. Kansas, 181 entries (1980-1985 rank 4th, 35 entries)
9. Minnesota, 172 entries (1980-1985 rank 1st, 76 entries)
10. Saskatchewan, 147 entries (1980-1985 rank 7th (tie), 27 entries)
11. Texas, 132 entries (1980-1985 rank 12th, 19 entries)
12. Alberta, 115 entries (1980-1985 rank 7th (tie), 27 entries)
13. Nebraska, 78 entries (1980-1985 rank 18th (tie), 12 entries)
14. Oklahoma, 48 entries (1980-1985 rank 22nd (tie), 7 entries)
15. Ontario, 41 entries (1980-1985 rank 42nd (tie), 1 entry)
16. Arkansas, 40 entries (1980-1985 rank 34th (tie), 3 entries)
17 (tie). Michigan, 39 entries (1980-1985 rank 17th, 13 entries)
17 (tie). Mississippi, 39 entries (1980-1985 rank 18th, 12 entries)
19. North Dakota, 31 entries (1980-1985 rank 31st (tie), 4 entries)
20. Pennsylvania, 26 entries (1980-1985 rank 45th (tie), 0 entries)
21. New York, 25 entries (1980-1985 rank 28th (tie), 5 entries)
22. South Dakota, 24 entries (1980-1985 rank 20th (tie), 8 entries)
23 (tie). Georgia, 23 entries (1980-1985 rank 5th, 31 entries)
23 (tie). Maryland, 23 entries (1980-1985 rank 28th (tie), 5 entries)
25 (tie). British Columbia, 19 entries (1980-1985 rank 24th (tie), 6 entries)
25 (tie). Maine, 19 entries (1980-1985 rank 11th, 20 entries)
27. Virginia, 17 entries (1980-1985 rank 22nd (tie), 7 entries)
28. Tennessee, 15 entries (1980-1985 rank 20th, 8 entries)
29. Colorado, 13 entries (1980-1985 rank 42nd (tie), 1 entry)
30. Idaho, 11 entries (1980-1985 rank 24th (tie), 6 entries)
31 (tie). Massachusetts, 8 entries (1980-1985 rank 45th (tie), 0 entries)
31 (tie). Quebec, 8 entries (1980-1985 rank 45th (tie), 0 entries)
33. Delaware, 7 entries (1980-1985 rank 42nd (tie), 1 entry)
34 (tie). Louisiana, 6 entries (1980-1985 rank 28th (tie), 5 entries)
34 (tie). Manitoba, 6 entries (1980-1985 rank 15th, 15 entries)
34 (tie). Washington, 6 entries (1980-1985 rank 31st (tie), 4 entries)
37 (tie). Montana, 5 entries (1980-1985 rank 13th, 17 entries)
37 (tie). Alabama, 5 entries (1980-1985 rank 34th (tie), 3 entries)
37 (tie). North Carolina, 5 entries (1980-1985 34th (tie), 3 entries)
40 (tie). Connecticut, 4 entries (1980-1985 rank 38th (tie), 2 entries)
40 (tie). New Hampshire, 4 entries (1980-1985 rank 38th (tie), 2 entries)
42 (tie). New Jersey, 3 entries (1980-1985 rank 45th (tie), 0 entries)
42 (tie). New Brunswick, 3 entries (1980-1985 rank 24th (tie), 6 entries)
42 (tie). West Virginia, 3 entries (1980-1985 rank 34th (tie), 3 entries)
45 (tie). Mexico, 2 entries (1980-1985 rank 24th (tie), 6 entries)
45 (tie). Wyoming, 2 entries (1980-1985 rank 38th (tie), 2 entries)
45 (tie). South Carolina, 2 entries (1980-1985 rank 45th (tie), 0 entries)
45 (tie). Nova Scotia, 2 entries (1980-1985 rank 31st (tie), 4 entries)
49 (tie). Oregon, 1 entry (1980-1985 rank 38th (tie), 2 entries)
49 (tie). Rhode Island, 1 entry (1980-1985 rank 45th (tie), 0 entries)
Whitetail Deer, Hunting in North America
Whitetail numbers have changed drastically over the past century. In general, deer hunting has gone from poor to great. Deer populations are at all-time highs across much of the whitetail’s range, with the number of animals even exceeding the capacity of the habitat in some localities. Most of these areas, however, are no longer deer habitat (urban areas). The success of this species is a testament to private landowners and state agencies that have worked together over the years to provide good habitat for whitetail deer. Countless other wildlife species have benefited along the way, too.