The I4-point Dawes County nontypical taken by 14-year-old Cole Emmett in 1998 netted 2012/8 and is only one of many northwestern Nebraska trophy whitetails. Both the Pine Ridge and the Sandhills units are good regions, with river systems such as the Niobrara, Snake, and White being particularly productive-and not just for whitetails. Sioux, Dawes, and Sheridan are among the best mule deer counties in the state as well. The No. 1 typical mule deer, a 1962/8 buck, came from Dawes County, and the top nontypical, a 2565/8, was killed by Art Thomsen near Chadron.

For whitetails, head to the Sandhills Unit. “Seventy percent of the harvest there is 21/2 years or older,” says big-game program manager Karl Menzel. This region stretches 170 miles, with hills that rise up several hundred feet and mostly open terrain except for groves of cottonwoods along creekbottoms. For public-land hunting for both muleys and whitetails, try Oglala National Grassland and the Nebraska and Samuel R. McKelvie National Forests.

Nonresident license: $189