It’s fitting that the Quality Deer Management Association ( is headquartered in Georgia. The first countywide QDM regulation ever to be enforced was in Dooly County, where a minimum 15-inch spread is required for bucks to be legal. Now six counties in the state follow QDM rules. Food plots are also used extensively; one helped to nurture a 214 nontypical that was killed last year near Pine Mountain. Although many areas produce trophies, the Upper Coastal Plain-a diagonal band stretching across the south-central part of the state below Macon-is the most consistent region for older bucks.

“Good overall soil quality means not only that crops do well, but the naturally occurring vegetation is of good quality, too,” says senior wildlife biologist Scott McDonald. “Combine good nutrition with low deer densities (20 to 35 per square mile), large land holdings, and low hunter pressure and you have the ingredients for growing big deer.”

While much of this region is private, McDonald points to Di-Lane, Ocmulgee, and Flint River WMAs as good public lands for older bucks.

Nonresident license: $177