Wall Hangers: California

Northwest

The Columbia blacktail deer inhabits California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, but four counties in northwestern California dominate the record books. Trinity and Mendocino Counties are tops with over 200 entries, including the No. 2 in the world, a 1752/8 from Mendocino. Humboldt and Siskiyou aren't far behind. Recent record bucks include a 1475/8 from Siskiyou in 2000 and a 1701/8 typical from Trinity taken by Eric Helms in 2000 that will rank among the top 10 in the world.

"This area is made up of zones B-1, B-2, B-6, and the extreme northern portions of Zone A," says wildlife biologist Russell Mohr. The buck-to-doe ratio is good in most of this sector. "Typically, private land offers better chances for a trophy-class buck, but public access is good throughout the area with large expanses of national forest lands. Scout areas where recent fires or timber-harvest activities have occurred, or areas with limited access away from roads."

Both still-hunting and glassing and stalking work. "Organized drives can also be effective," adds Mohr, "especially in densely vegetated areas."

Try Klamath, Trinity, Six Rivers, and Mendocino National Forests, or if your budget will allow, book a private-land hunt along the coast for the best odds of taking a trophy.

Nonresident license: $294.30
916-445-0411; www.dfg.ca.gov/hunting