“I never saw that one, but it’s certainly possible,” says Iowa game warden Don Simonson about a monstrous nontypical reportedly hit by a car at night in southeastern Iowa. “I’ve seen two other nontypicals taken this past year that grossed over 240.”

Those uncommon bucks are particularly impressive, bearing in mind that Iowa is famous for its “clean” racks and high-scoring typical deer. In fact, the state has given up 19 of the top 100 typical bucks of all time, more than any other state or Canadian province.

“Southeast Iowa may well produce the next world record,” predicts Tom Miller, president of the North American Shed Hunters Club. “Considering the recent mild winters, it could come soon. It’s an area that has yet to reach its full potential.”

Recent record-book entries include a 2373/8 from Monroe County and a 2217/8 from Jefferson County, both taken in 2000.

Rifle hunting is not allowed, and the main shotgun season comes after the rut, when bucks are less vulnerable. Much of this region is rugged with steep hills and deep brushy draws between fertile farmfields.

“Most Iowa hunters use the post and drive method,” says deer biologist Willie Suchy, “but if the weather is cold or snow cover exists, stand hunting near food sources is productive.” Suchy recommends that public-land hunters check out Shimek State Forest in Van Buren and Lee Counties and Stephens State Forest in Davis and Lucas Counties.

Nonresident license: $322