The mecca for Michigan trophy bucks has traditionally been the western Upper Peninsula, including Baraga, Gogebic and Ontonagon counties. While these areas still grow some massive deer, "We have as big a buck in southern Michigan today as we have in the U.P.," says Rodney Clute, DNR deer biologist. He adds that with milder winters and abundant agricultural forage, "southern Michigan bucks can obtain that large antler development one to two years ahead of U.P. bucks." The bottom two tiers of southern counties are producing impressive numbers of big bucks.