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Illinois Ranks #2 for Whitetails in the Boone and Crockett Club’s 6th Edition of “Records of North American Whitetail Deer”

Illinois continues to rank #2 for Boone and Crockett Club trophy whitetail with 1,445 total entries in the recently released sixth edition of the Club’s “Records of North American Whitetail Deer.” The 688-page book compiles state and provincial data of trophy whitetail deer and showcases states like Illinois that institute successful conservation measures to support healthy deer populations. In addition to being the #2 state overall, Illinois has four counties in the top 20 U.S. counties with the most records produced. The book also features stories and color photos of 37 record whitetails taken in the 21st Century; Illinois has more record bucks included in this list than any other state. One buck that is highlighted is Luke Brewster’s non-typical taken in 2018 from Edgar County that scored 327-7/8 and is the new Illinois state record and the #3 on the All-time list, pending Judges Panel review. “Records of North American Whitetail Deer” includes more than 17,000 individual records from across the U.S. and Canada, and is available for sale on the Boone and Crockett Club’s website.

“This list was compiled from Boone and Crockett big game records—trophy data going back to 1830 and long used by conservationists to gauge outstanding habitat, strong recruitment of game animals into older age classes, sustainable harvest objectives, and other elements of sound wildlife management and fair-chase hunting,” commented the Club’s Director of Publications Julie Tripp. “Consistent trophy production over time is proof that conservation measures are working exceptionally well. ‘Records of North American Whitetail Deer, 6th Edition’ is the definitive guide of trophy whitetails and a must have for any serious whitetail hunter.”

Effective deer management and conservation programs is noteworthy in states that consistently produce record-book whitetails, like Illinois. Four counties in the state rank among the best in the country for producing big bucks, including: Pike County that ranks #10 with 57 entries, Fulton and Adams Counties that are tied for #11 with 55 total entries, and Jo Daviess County that ranks #17 with 49 entries. Notably, however, the state’s top five typical bucks ever taken did not come from these high producing counties, instead coming from Peoria, Macon, White, Greene, and Macoupin counties. This shows the quality of deer management across the entire state.

Record books like “Records of North American Whitetail Deer” represent the history of successful conservation and game management policies that have been supported by hunter-conservationists for more than a century. The Boone and Crockett Club has long supported selective hunting for mature animals that have already genetically contributed to overall herd health. Such a selective harvest also supports conservation and game management efforts when a balanced age structure within a given big game population is an objective of state wildlife managers. As such, record books celebrate these programs by recognizing the big game animals produced as a result of science-based game management and successful, fair chase sportsmen and sportswomen who have contributed to this management.

Beyond the state-specific records, highlights of the 6th edition of “Records of North American Whitetail Deer” include stories and full-page photos of “21st Century Whitetails” that document 37 records taken since the year 2000, eight of which come from Illinois—more than any other state. Noteworthy new entries since the last edition was printed in 2012 feature five new typical bucks including William L. Loyd’s 2018 buck from Lee County, Arkansas, that scored 200-1/8 points and ranks #17 All-time and #1 in the state, pending review by the Judges Panel for the 31st Big Game Awards in 2022, as well as three other bucks that were showcased during the 30th Big Game Awards in 2019. The book also features four new non-typical records, in particular Brewster’s impressive buck.

Also noted in the book are the overall state and provincial rankings. Wisconsin continues to rank at the top with 1,822 total entries, followed by Illinois, then Iowa (1,330 total entries), Minnesota (1,194 total entries) and, new to the top five in this edition, is Ohio with 1,049 total entries. Notably, Ohio, Kansas, Indiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma all moved up in rank even though no individual county in those states ranks in the top 20 counties overall showing that their deer management programs have helped build quality whitetail populations across these states. Each state, in order of overall ranking, has tables of every Boone and Crockett ranked whitetail ever taken in the state.

“If you would have told our founder Theodore Roosevelt that more than 130 years after the creation of an organization tasked with saving wildlife populations that this book would be possible, I doubt he would have believed you,” noted Justin Spring, director of big game records for the Boone and Crockett Club. “The whitetail conservation successes documented in the pages of this book resoundingly declare the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is without equal worldwide.”

The sixth edition of “Records of North American Whitetail Deer” is available for $60 on the Boone and Crockett Club’s website. B&C Associates receive a 20% discount.

About the Boone and Crockett Club

Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. For details, visit

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