Home to the Packers, the Badgers, and more beer and cheese than is healthy for anyone, Wisconsin is also cementing its reputation as Trophy Central in the Boone & Crockett record books. B&C’s latest big-game awards book recognizes trophies taken across North America from 2010 to 2012, and Wisconsin leads all destinations with 412 trophy animals listed for the period. Second place goes to Alaska, with 221 entries.

This is fascinating stuff for whitetail hunters, largely because those Wisconsin entries are comprised of only two big-game species; deer and black bear. The next five states/provinces, in order, are Alaska, British Columbia, Wyoming, and Colorado, all home to multiple species of big game. Wisconsin’s closest competition in the whitetail arena is Ohio (6th place, 144 entries) and Kentucky (7th place, 139 entries).

Hurteau and I have been tracking top B&C states for several years in our annual “Booner Awards,” and while Wisconsin hasn’t been the top destination every year, it’s always in the running. And, even as a Wisconsin native who has hunted the state for 40-plus seasons, I’m continually amazed by the Badger State’s continued run in the record books. Sure, Wisconsin has a lot of deer and some tremendous habitat, but there are also a lot of hunters and tremendous pressure. In my mind, that equates to one certainty; those hunters are increasingly picky about what they shoot.

Are there places that have better top-end trophies? Absolutlely. Are your odds of killing a Booner whitetail greater in, say, Iowa or Saskatchewan or Ohio? Probably. But when it comes to sheer numbers of high-end bucks in a state with a long, rich, deer hunting tradition, it’s tough to beat Wisconsin. Oh, and the beer and cheese curds are pretty good, too.