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Research Hunting Areas Through the Record Books

The record books, that are put out by Boone & Crocket™ and Pope & Young™ are a good way to do research on a state. It takes a little time, but the knowledge it gives you on where to start in-depth research is very valuable. Note that not all hunters have their trophies measured, but those that do are a pretty good average.
To research an area with the record books:

1. List how many animals have been recorded in the record books in each county. List the scores of each animal.

2. Look over the complete list with emphasis on the last ten years. You can probably see which areas contain the minerals and genetics needed to grow large head gear. This will remain constant throughout the years so it will give you some idea of the feed in the area and the protection available. These area's will have some protection to provide a hiding place to allow the animal to get old. Most elk have little difficulty finding sufficient feed during the summer, so the habitat factor narrows down to availability of feed in the winter. It is not likely that large bulls will be found consistently in areas of poor or nonexistent winter range. Elk seem to grow larger antlers where limestone is found in the soil. Yet there is no proof that elk deliberately seek out limestone. Concentrate on areas with the highest bull to cow rations.

3. Look to see where the largest typical deer are taken.

4. Look to see where the largest non-typical deer are taken.

5. Determine which county has the most animals recorded and which ones have the largest. Sort out the top four to five counties in each category.

6. Look at the most recent dates trying to find a trend in the harvest.

Pick an area and start additional research. If you don't get the answer you want from an area, pick the second area until you like what you are seeing about an area.

Put in for the licenses and tags. Apply early, and know when the deadlines are. Prepare your research early so you can get it done on time to apply for tags.

Written by Craig Watkins of The Hunter's Network.