"For years I have been trying to connect with a monster whitetail deer. I've hunted most of Canada and the US, but never saw Mr. Big. Yes, there were some big ones, but not THE big one. Then, about a year ago, I started to read about the fantastic deer being harvested in Illinois, specifically Adams and Pike counties in the southern part of the state. I had also heard that the Quality Deer Management Association (Tel. 800-209-3337. Web site: www.qdma.com) was working on a map showing the states and counties where Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young entries recorded during the past 10 years were taken. This color-coded map has been completed and is available for $9.95, plus shipping and handling. The results are nothing short of shocking. If you think that Texas is No. 1, think again. The top 10 states are Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, Texas and Indiana. Start to scratch the surface of the data and you'll find that Adams, Pike, Fulton and McHenry counties in Illinois are four of the five top producing counties nationwide.
"I had read about Stacy Ward's operation in a past issue of The Hunting Report and decided to give him a call. Ward is a fulltime, third-generation farmer who owns and/or leases more than 13,000 acres of the best land in Pike and Adams counties. Not only does his land produce large crops of corn and soybeans, but also monster whitetails. Large tracts of land are left as food plots, and the buck-to-doe ratio is one-to-one. Hunters are discouraged from harvesting bucks less than 130 B & C. The desired buck is four to five years old, sporting a rack of 135-plus.
"To achieve this objective, Ward has strategically placed over 500 tree stands, tower blinds and ground blinds overlooking the best food plots and known trails. With only 20 hunters spread out among all the properties at any one time, each of his clients has about 25 spots to choose from.
"Most of Ward's clients return every........(continued)