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Best State for a Big Mule Deer?

What’s the Best State for a Big Mule Deer?
by Keith Wood

This question came from a comment on a previous blog post on destinations for whitetails. These days, a true trophy mule deer is considered by many hunters to be North America’s most difficult game animal to take. So what state should a hunter set his or her sights on to find a monster?

The Record Book Research: If you want to find comprehensive records of trophy animals taken in North America, there’s only one place to turn—The Boone & Crockett Club. Fortunately for us, today’s “book” is a user-friendly online database that allows users (for a fee) to search B&C’s records through detailed queries. A few minutes on the Trophy Database Search gave me all of the information I could handle.

The Rankings: Since we’re looking for up-to-date information, I searched the database for both typical and non-typical mule deer entries made since the year 2000. In order to qualify for the B&C “book” a typical mule deer must score 180 points or better and a non-typical must score 215 points or better.

State

Typical Record

Number of Typical Entries

Non-Typical Record

Number of Non-Typical Entries

Total B&C Entries

1. Colorado

207 6/8

220

306 3/8

55

275

2. Wyoming

206 6/8

66

285 4/8

14

80

3. New Mexico

213 4/8

54

248 4/8

11

65

4. Utah

209 7/8

44

246 2/8

11

55

5. Idaho

201 4/8

41

257

10

51

6. Arizona*

203 3/8

25

272 1/8

14

39

7. Nevada *

192

30

248 4/8

9

39

8. Oregon

202 2/8

27

248 1/8

2

29

9. Montana

207 7/8

23

236 6/8

3

26

10. Kansas

199 4/8

6

237 2/8

11

17

*AZ & NV are tied for number of entries but AZ wins with bigger #1 records both typical and non-typical

The Undisputed Champion: Colorado wins hands-down in every category. Not only does Colorado boast the world’s No. 1 entry in the past decade with a 306 3/8” non-typical, it crushes every other state in number of B&C entries. Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and Idaho all compare favorably to one another to round out the top 5.

The Good News: Nearly every state that has a mule deer population is capable of producing a trophy animal. The state of Nebraska has only 4 entries over the past 10 years, yet a hunter there was able to take an impressive 230 6/8” non-typical.

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3 Responses to Best State for a Big Mule Deer?

Jason C. wrote:
September 19, 2012

I'm surprised with the lack of numbers of entries from Utah. I'm also surprised of Utah's non-typical 246 buck I expected larger from Utah. Although the 209 typical is incredible. All you hear about are Utah's Henry Mountains and Paunsiguant units with their monster bucks. Then Montana??? finishing after Oregon and just above Kansas? Montana's management needs to change. Should be much better than this. Way to go Colorado and Wyoming!

Phil wrote:
November 22, 2011

One could make a graph with the year by year numbers. Maybe we could see if there is any effect of the wolf population in future years in the northern Rocky Mountain states.

Spikehunter87 wrote:
November 14, 2011

Wow such an informative story on deer and there antlers. Went hunting at www.peartreegameranch.com this year. Mule deer hunting sounds fun. Maybe next year.