Vermont’s Green Mountains continue to be the kingdom of trophy bucks, and Essex County is the place to focus your hunt. “Places in Essex County and up and down the Green Mountains have areas that are more secluded and have lower hunting pressure,” says John Buck, a biologist with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. “So there are better chances for deer to live to older ages. Such areas tend to harbor some pretty big animals.” Woods in northern and western Vermont in general are the places to pursue trophy deer, but Buck also notes that the state’s agricultural areas can be productive as well. “More often than not, we’ll get some huge deer out of the farm country too,” he says. Good farmlands can be found in Addison and Rutland counties. Vermont’s whitetail population saw significant mortality last winter, and Buck predicts that as a result, this fall’s harvest will be down about 10 to 15 percent. Nevertheless, he says the state’s deer are in excellent shape and the winter losses have actually been beneficial to the herd’s overall health. “All in all, the deer population here is in really good shape,” he says.