Wall Hangers: Wisconsin

Buffalo County

Few areas have a more glowing reputation as a trophy whitetail destination than this single county in west-central Wisconsin bordering the Mississippi River. Starting with a base of mineral-rich soils, farm crops, steep draws, thick cover, and top-notch genetics, hunters have created a trophy deer paradise by shooting plenty of does and allowing bucks to mature.

The result: more bucks in the record books than any other county in the nation, including Wisconsin's No. 1 nontypical, a massive 245 whitetail with 27-inch main beams and a 27-inch outside spread. What is particularly intriguing is the fact that most of these record deer have been harvested in recent years, like a 200 nontypical bagged in 2000 and a 1784/8 typical in 2001.

Most of Buffalo County is private, but some land is available to hunt by paying an access fee or booking a guided hunt. Several wildlife areas also offer public hunting, including Whitman Dam, 2,173 acres; Big Swamp, 760 acres; and Tiffany, encompassing both sides of the Chippewa River, with 12,740 acres. Stand hunting near travel lanes or rutting sign is the method of choice, but drives are also productive.

Nonresident license: $135
608-266-2621; www.dnr.state.wi.us