DeerBuilder.com
2018 MidWest Archery Hunt for 160+ deer
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
TNRAMBLINMAN 21-Dec-17
Cheesehead Mike 21-Dec-17
ROUGHCOUNTRY 21-Dec-17
XbowfromNY 21-Dec-17
LINK 21-Dec-17
ohiohunter 21-Dec-17
Pigsticker 21-Dec-17
Bou'bound 21-Dec-17
Twinetickler 21-Dec-17
Busta'Ribs 21-Dec-17
Michael 21-Dec-17
Charlie Rehor 21-Dec-17
Lee 21-Dec-17
Thornton 21-Dec-17
Bake 21-Dec-17
Thornton 21-Dec-17
Bou'bound 22-Dec-17
Grubby 22-Dec-17
12yards 22-Dec-17
Bake 22-Dec-17
sdkhunter 22-Dec-17
TNRAMBLINMAN 22-Dec-17
ROUGHCOUNTRY 22-Dec-17
M.Pauls 22-Dec-17
South Farm 22-Dec-17
Thornton 22-Dec-17
Ironbow-cell 22-Dec-17
TREESTANDWOLF 22-Dec-17
patdel 22-Dec-17
Quinn @work 22-Dec-17
Hans 1 23-Dec-17
Arrowhead 23-Dec-17
ground hunter 23-Dec-17
Pigsticker 23-Dec-17
stealthycat 23-Dec-17
Jack Harris 23-Dec-17
t-roy 23-Dec-17
Charlie Rehor 23-Dec-17
jjs 23-Dec-17
Duke 23-Dec-17
map1 23-Dec-17
APauls 23-Dec-17
map1 23-Dec-17
Genesis 23-Dec-17
12yards 23-Dec-17
From: TNRAMBLINMAN
21-Dec-17
I would appreciate any leads on outfitters in KS, IA, or IL where you have a realistic chance at mature whitetails 160 and up. I realize that is a tall order. I also realize that such places have few if any openings. However, I would really like to think that I could spend part of November hunting a property with some top end bucks in the area.

21-Dec-17
Do you have preference points for IA? If not you can forget about IA for 2018.

From: ROUGHCOUNTRY
21-Dec-17
Very, very few that score that high regardless of what folks say they score or wide angle lenses or arm stretching behind the deer. I guess outfitters can say or have a few photos of 160 class deer but it's pretty low odds. If knowing one is around is good enough chance for you then pick any decent outfitter in Illinois or Kansas and go for it. This late in the game, I would opt for "Huntthehashknife.com" and hunt with Ed Koger. You'll pay maybe 7500.00 minus licenses and assorted travel expenses. You could probably hunt a large high fence operation for that price that would nearly guarantee your success for a 160 inch deer. Your other long term option is to develop your own lease.

From: XbowfromNY
21-Dec-17
Maybe not 160, but what about Wyoming, Kentucky, etc.?

From: LINK
21-Dec-17
If a 160” is what you want pick a reputable outfitter that produces deer like that and go year after year. Tip well, be generally fun and agreeable and don’t shoot anything under 160” until the last evening( maybe an exception for an occasional 150”er). With that recipe you’ll kill some nice deer and have a lot of fun. To kill 160’s on a fairly regular basis you have to be prepared to go home with nothing.

From: ohiohunter
21-Dec-17
Rough.. sadly I'd have to agree. Fair chase 160" with a bow is a tall order unless you find a friend or can afford to stick around the lodge for an extended period of time vs your typical 5-7day hunts. High fence is probably going to be your best bet.

From: Pigsticker
21-Dec-17
If I really wanted a 160 class deer I would look at 5 year plan to hit big buck hangouts. It took me four trips to kill a 160+ buck. I personally think you can kill one on the right lease than you could with most outfitters. I had a friend that went 3 times to Pike county Illinois to end up killing a 195 on a $1K lease. If you go for a lease I would look for with agriculture and hardwoods that are connected to a larger contiguous group of hardwoods.

From: Bou'bound
21-Dec-17
If you will consider a bit more easterly try whitetail heaven in KY. Lots of great outfitter reviews on here of late.

From: Twinetickler
21-Dec-17
In my experience KS isn't the place regardless of what the Outdoor channel tells you. Have hunted twice with a reputable outfitter and have yet to see a buck from stand that would push 160, come to think of it nothing over 130.....Like others have said dont plan on it taking one trip to get it done. Good luck!

From: Busta'Ribs
21-Dec-17
If I had to pick one hunt and a 160" plus WT was my goal, I'd go to Canada and not the midwest. Sask, if you don't mind hunting bait piles, or Alberta. And I'd love to find an outfitter that specializes in archery WTs in Manitoba. Fewer deer than the midwest maybe, but higher percentage of 160" plus bucks. If you're committed to the midwest, Steve Hanson in SE Iowa (Straight Arrow Outfitters, Albia IA) is as honest and hardworking a guy as you'll find in the guiding business, but you'll need at least 3 preference points to draw a tag in his zone. The river bottoms of Colorado's eastern plains are an amazing "sleeper" spot for big WT's. In fact, my favorite WT hunts ever have been there, right up against the Kansas line (within 50 miles). PM me for more info if you want.

I've bow hunted big game all over North America and in my experience, a 160"+ WT is the most difficult animal to kill on a guided hunt. Good luck!

From: Michael
21-Dec-17
I think what Link said is spot on. To add onto what he said I would try Red dog outfitters. I know he had a few clients that shot bucks into the 180’s.

Pig sticker brings up a great point as well. The right property on a lease and you could shoot a buck of that caliber on any given year.

I started hunting Ne in 07 it took me till 14 to shoot a buck that big hunting good ground via getting permission.

21-Dec-17
Busta’s last paragraph speaks volumes. A 160 inch Whitetail equates to a 320 inch elk or a 6’ 8” human. There aren’t that many no matter where you go!

From: Lee
21-Dec-17
Place Pat hunts in KS is no slouch.

From: Thornton
21-Dec-17
Place Pat hunts has a couple year wait period for an opening. I'm sorry to inform you that getting a 160" in KS is getting harder by the year. Many outfitters here are scammers and overhunt their limited areas. If you could get on one of the high priced ranches known for this size of deer like the Hashknife, you may be in luck. I hunt some good stuff here but even with controlled buck kills on the neighbors, a 150" is a good one in most places anymore. Those guys that kill booners every year often have thousands of acres leased and put in a lot of time and money to get them.

From: Bake
21-Dec-17
I got bored this spring and spent a night looking through my 2000-2010 P&Y book, as well as the 2 year supplements they did in 2012, 2014, and 2016. I specifically looked for deer killed since the year 2000. I only counted typicals over 160, and non typicals over 180.

Statistically speaking, Buffalo county WI had the most entries for that 16 years. Monroe County Iowa and Fulton County Illinois were 2nd and 3rd. I can’t remember which was which.

Likewise, I did a B&C trophy records search on their website (P&Y needs to do this), and Buffalo County WI was at the top. I can’t remember right off hand which was 2nd and 3rd. I believe Maverick County Texas was 2nd. In fact, Texas had 2 or 3 counties in the top 5 or 6.

So, statistically speaking, I think your best bet is Buffalo County WI. I’m not sure the Texas counties are as conducive to bow hunting, so I’d look at Monroe county Iowa and Fulton County Illinois as well. (This is the reason my search this spring was only P&Y records, I not only wanted to know what had the most BIG entries, but I wanted it to be “bowhunting conducive” as well)

Good luck in your search

From: Thornton
21-Dec-17
I might add that just because you have deer kills over 160" doesn't mean much. I found out an area outfitter south of here called Hickory Creek hosts over 200 hunters a year. Many go home empty handed. I used to lease several thousand acres near them and gave the place up because that part of KS doesn't have very many deer per sq. mile.

From: Bou'bound
22-Dec-17

Bou'bound's Link
That Hashknife ranch is unreal

link attached trophy gallery for bow is out of this world

From: Grubby
22-Dec-17
Buffalo county has sure changed even in the last 5 years. I lost my permission there due to competition from deep pockets. Still a lot of great bucks coming out of there but it’s not what it was

From: 12yards
22-Dec-17

12yards's Link
You could "get r done" here I'm sure. And if you look close, a mere 160 could even be a management hunt if they can get you a 400" buck!

From: Bake
22-Dec-17
I agree that may be true Grubby. I've spent some time looking at Google Earth and also looking at real estate listings for Buffalo County. I may be way off on this, as it's just a guess, but it also appears that Buffalo County would have a LOT of hunters. Lots of small tracts. Houses everywhere. . . .

I also remembered, Allamakee County Iowa was in the top 5 in the B&C search, but not in the top five in my date specific P&Y search.

I'd like to hunt SE Iowa, and hopefully will in 2019. Other than that, I'd really prefer to hunt areas with lower hunter numbers. . . I would probably head west personally. Something about the plains just mesmerizes me.

From: sdkhunter
22-Dec-17
160's are tough and rare anywhere you go... Sent you a PM with a few thoughts...

From: TNRAMBLINMAN
22-Dec-17
I appreciate all the info. I knew this was a tough target to start with. Lots of good suggestions and real world experience in all these comments. Thank you

From: ROUGHCOUNTRY
22-Dec-17
A couple more thoughts after reading some good comments......An outfitter that pays lease fees and doesn't OWN land is in a pickle having to create revenue and churn enough hunters. If a TV show guy is going to hunt with the outfitter or a known "big tipper" is coming to hunt, it's natural that an area, stand or big deer will be reserved for them whether they want to admit it or not. It's a business decision and the direct revenue they get from the tipper or advertising from a deer shot on TV.

The hash-knife is a very large contiguous ranch outfitted by the OWNER with limited road access and they have money already and control and limit the bucks taken. On the contrary, look up Ted Jaycox with "TallTineOutfitters" just a little west of the hashknife. Ted originally was making muzzy moment videos 15 years ago and killing tremendous bucks. I believe he runs 8 hunters per week now for 6 weeks=48. 48 hunters paying 4,000.00 each equates to 192,000.00 gross. Now he claims to lease over the magical 20,000 acres and has to pay those fees and pocket enough money. He's posting maybe 10 photos per year now and you can visually see the quality and age of the bucks going down hill over the years when you check out his trophy photos. And I'm not picking on Ted, he probably does better than most outfitters. The fires, drought and onslaught of pressure has taken it's toll.

That's why I believe the outfitter route can be so risky. I personally buy shed antlers from a bunch of ranchers for crafting each year I go to Kansas and these are places I'm not allowed to hunt and are usually leased to a guy, a group, or an outfitter. Now, I realize that many antlers are never found but in western Kansas it's much easier to find them in certain areas. I'm telling you that even the mature bucks with long beams and heavy bases are much more often in the 140's than the 160's .....even in Kansas.

From: M.Pauls
22-Dec-17
If 160+ was main priority and I was real serious about it, I would be looking at sask and Alberta with the preference going to sask just for the baited hunt style on a short time window. (Most guys killing Booners with a bow are hunting them year round essentially)That’s a baited hunt though and it might not be your thing. Probably wouldn’t be mine but I think you’d have a descent shot at that class. Your specific outfitter there would be extremely important

From: South Farm
22-Dec-17
Would you settle for 158-5/8", or are you set on 160?

From: Thornton
22-Dec-17
There's several guys in here that hunt Canada including myself that have never shot a 160" up there. Mine is my own fault as I missed one running much larger, but I saw very few deer and ended up with a 152" 9 pt.

From: Ironbow-cell
22-Dec-17
If you want a net 160" that is a tall order even for KS. I live in KS and the last 7-8 years I have seen 2 bucks that would net that high. When I lived in Butler county I saw one every year but gaining access was really tough unless you have some $$.

22-Dec-17
There are a few VERY, good outfitters that offer sub leases at a reasonable cost. You put the time in, and investment, on that same lease for a few years, you will get your opportunity.

Can it happen on a “ one time”’ hunt with a outfitter? Sure can, the odds are not realistic.

Lease some great property, with surrounding management, spend a few years on it, pass imature bucks, your chances go way up to get your 160.

They just are not behind every tree... unless you consider a HF operation.

Just my opinion, good luck and have a great holiday!

From: patdel
22-Dec-17
I'll just echo what some of the others have said.... a legit 160 is a rare critter.....

Unless you have access to a lot of exclusive private land where 3 year old bucks don't get shot.

They are out there, but unless you're lucky, you are going to have to look at a lot of bucks before you see one.

My advice would be to find big, rugged tracts of timber with mixed ag. The rougher the land, the better. Don't overlook swamps.

Speaking from bitter experience, just because you have trail cam photos of one, doesn't mean you will ever see him. Once they're 4 or 5 years old, they're pretty good at not walking past hunters.

That said, have at it. I'm rooting for you. Goals are a good thing. Go get one.

From: Quinn @work
22-Dec-17
Depending on your budget I could probably send you in the right direction for an outfitter that would give you a realistic chance. You would need to go 1x1 guided and have 2 additional guides covering ground and locating. It would probably be close to 10K for a seven day hunt.

From: Hans 1
23-Dec-17
In keeping to the original question asked my advice would be this, Pick an area and outfitter who will provide trail cam pics of the bucks in the size you are after. Then plan an extended hunt with a minimum of 10 days to hunt with the option of extending or returning. I would also plan to hunt early in the season depending on the state. If you have 2-3 bucks located on cameras over 160 early season pre rut is the best time to hunt them where they live once the rut starts all bets are off as to where they will show up. The other advantages less chances of them being all broken up and they shouldn’t have been pressured by other hunters. This advice is geared toward Iowa as that is what I am familiar with.

From: Arrowhead
23-Dec-17
I want a DIY 160 class on public land here in Alabama with a bow. (Still Trying) chirp - chirp - chirp.

23-Dec-17
M. Pauls +1 want big deer, go where they are, even than its tough, but you have better odds,,,, I think everyone in the country hunts Kansas, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

From: Pigsticker
23-Dec-17
Hans 1 gives some really solid advice!

From: stealthycat
23-Dec-17
If I were looking, I'd actually focus on states/places NOT in the spotlight.

Kansas has went downhill because people go there, hunt a week, do not see a 160" and last day kill a 125" so they can go home with something. The outfitters have one goal - money. They make it, rape the local resources of deer, then move on.

7-10 years of that has taken its toll

From: Jack Harris
23-Dec-17
Just hunt NJ for a 130" buck - that equates to a 160" mid-western state buck any day of the week. It's all relative.

From: t-roy
23-Dec-17
Or, to piggyback off of Jack’s idea, just use TBM scoring method.

23-Dec-17
Kansas allows both residents and non-residents one buck per year regardless of weapon. Can’t get any better than that. Just like Ohio.

From: jjs
23-Dec-17
As an old taxidermist bud that lives in Iowa told me that if you want a 160+ shoot a old doe and buy synthetic antlers and save you a lot of $ and time or pay the big $ in a high fence for it. He told me that he was watching a bowhunting show fo a couple in S.E. Ia. and she shot a buck that he mounted 2x before, the sheds came from it from a game farm and the buck was bought and shot for the show. Just like two brothers that shot 190+ bucks on the same day in S. Iowa, what is the odds of this in wild deer, just something to think about.

From: Duke
23-Dec-17
I’d have to agree with what Busta Ribs stated earlier in reference to looking at a Canadian hunt provided you can handle some cold, don’t mind long sits with not a lot of deer sightings, and possibly hunting over bait.

From: map1
23-Dec-17
If you hunt with an outfitter in midwest and he has 160 on camera he's not going to hunt you in that area the first time you hunt with him. He will put a well tipping repeat client there. That's not to say a 160 from one mile away might stumble by.

From: APauls
23-Dec-17
I'm in the Alberta/Saskatchewan crowd. I've hunted both provinces and seen what they can produce. OP didn't state if he wanted a net 160 or a gross 160. Most people talk gross.

Alberta I've hunted for mulies DIY archery and seen the whitetails that are there. Was at full draw on a 145" after I tagged a big mulie but it was too dark. There are a ton of big whities there. Sask I've hunted 4 times (rifle) all DIY no prior scouting. The way it works there is if we are lucky enough to get drawn for a zone we are lucky but you may not get the same zone twice. So repeating is tough. That being said I killed a net 165 a gross 160 and a gross 156. I know that's rifle hunting and it's no fun and the scourge of the earth (tongue in cheek I have fun) but it gives you an idea of the quality of animals a guy can see. That's coming in as an out of towner hunting public and asking for permission, and getting it done in a 5 day season. Granted I've been really lucky, but I'd rather be lucky than good any day ;)

From: map1
23-Dec-17
If you hunt with an outfitter in midwest and he has 160 on camera he's not going to hunt you in that area the first time you hunt with him. He will put a well tipping repeat client there. That's not to say a 160 from one mile away might stumble by.

From: Genesis
23-Dec-17
Just for yourself or do you have a party?

From: 12yards
23-Dec-17
To the OP. How big of whitetails have you shot in your life? You can find some very good whitetails public land DIY in IA. Just sayin'. There are giants shot on public land every year. If you haven't shot a 130-160 inch whitetail, they look pretty darn nice I'm telling you. If you've shot a bunch like that, disregard this post.

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