When it comes to wide-antlered bucks in Maryland, the upper Eastern Shore region is the place to go, according to deer biologist Doug Hotton. Specifically, Hotton points to adjacent Cecil and Kent counties as having very good trophy potential (don't overlook nearby Queen Anne's County). The Eastern Shore has much less access than western Maryland, but within the region the Elk Neck State Forest and State Park (5,500 acres total in Cecil County) are two of the best public areas. With recently liberalized antlerless regulations, hunters took nearly 84,000 deer in Maryland last year. Hotton expects a similar harvest this year and reports that the state's deer herd is in excellent health due to the recent additional hunting pressure on does throughout the eastern two-thirds of the state. "Overall our deer populations are doing very well," he says. The latest available figures show Maryland's pre-hunt deer population to be over 200,000.