Forget Iowa and Buffalo County. Southeastern Minnesota is the new destination for trophy whitetails. Doug Howlett spent the season there figuring out why.
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Just across the Mississippi River from the famed Buffalo County, Wis., which has accounted for more Boone and Crockett entries than any other county in the United States, and just north of Iowa, where truly serious deer hunters move their families in order to claim a resident deer tag every year, lies southeast Minnesota, perhaps one of the most underrated, under-publicized giant buck destinations in the country. Southeast Minnesota’s bluffs along the Mississippi provide a unique blend of hardwood ridges and brushy bottoms that ring fertile farmlands of corn and soybeans. Deer populations possess the genetics common to the upper Midwest where whitetail bucks grow into heavy-bodied, thick-wracked beasts. Yet, outfitted hunts can run a hunter a fraction of what one might cost in more publicized destinations. It’s a place any serious big buck hunter needs to consider in his travel plans.
I spent a good part of my season hunting this deer haven and learning about why it just might be the ultimate place to take a trophy Midwest whitetail. I also got to check out some of the biggest bucks killed here this year. This is what I figured out.