Where to Go

Wayne National Forest

De facto trophy management occurs throughout the state of Ohio: Short, post-rut, shotgun-only seasons ensure a strong mature buck population. This is one reason why southern Ohio's Wayne National Forest produces trophy bucks every year. The other is that these are rugged and hilly tracts, where roadless areas can be measured in square miles. Any remote ridge dotted with white oaks can be an excellent place for big deer. Find a recent clear-cut near those oaks, and your chances improve dramatically. Toss in a nearby water source, and you have found a spot that can't get any better. Pre-rut activity starts in late October, three weeks after the archery opener. Shotgun season starts after Thanksgiving, followed by a December muzzleloader hunt. Contact Ohio Division of Wildlife, Dept. FS, 1840 Belcher Dr., Columbus, OH 43224; 800-945-3543; www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife. Wayne National Forest, 740-753-0101; www.fs.fed.us/r9/wayne.