October 06, 2009
The Best Big Buck "Sleeper States"
By Scott Bestul
One question that frequently gets pitched at me goes something like this: “I know all about the big-time trophy-producing whitetail states. What are some places that fly under the radar of most whitetail nuts?”
And my answer is, “I know ‘em, but I’m not tellin’ you!”
Seriously, this is a great question, as accessing ground in places like Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and certain areas of Ohio and Kentucky is difficult indeed...unless you’ve got money to spend or want to hunt with an outfitter. The good news is, big whitetails are no longer limited to a handful of areas with the right genetics and management. They’re popping up all over, and the photo above—of a whopper taken recently in North Dakota—is proof.
North Dakota isn’t a big player in the record books, and is rarely a hotspot visited by TV crews or outdoor writers. But it’s a big state with a lot of agriculture and plenty of habitat, and in areas where bucks get a chance to live awhile, the trophy potential is awesome.
I’ve got a few nominees for other sleeper trophy states, but I’ll keep mum for now and let you toss out some candidates. Where should a whitetail nut go if the big-name spots are too far from home or too expensive to contemplate? Let’s hear it!