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200 inchers?

[email protected]

Active Member
They have been talking about how many 200" deer each state has on social media. I think they are extremely rare and less are out there than most think. Even mature bucks over 170" are a needle in a haystack in Illinois where I hunt. I think maybe 1-2% of the bucks are mature and over 170. I'm guessing but I think in the best Iowa counties there may be 3 200" bucks running around per county at the most. Maybe Decatur Co has the most because of the big landowners and mgmt. What do you guys think on 200 inchers and numbers?
 

Daver

PMA Member
I am pretty sure that the best areas in Southern Iowa have a fair amount more than just 3 - 200"ers per county. But yes, they are still quite rare. I suspect there are counties in Iowa without a bona fide 200", but your best counties would have 10'ish, maybe a couple more than that, in them.

FWIW, my experience would also lead me to believe that much more than just 1-2% of the bucks are over 170. I would put that number, again, in the good areas, more like 7-10%. Just my thoughts.
 
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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Agree on small amount that get old + giant.

Per county in the counties with good amount of timber…. ??????……. K- here’s a WILD GUESS…. 20-30??? I know it’s way more than a few.
If farms allow deer to get to potential & managed right- I think a “SECTION” …. 640 acres, COULD produce a 200” deer maybe every 3-4 years. Those situations are rare but that’s some food for thought with my opinion if guys could manage a bigger area top notch. If u could do a whole county like that (make believe - just for fun thinking)…. Hundreds of 200” deer per year per county.
But back to reality…. Not less than 10 and pry not more than 100 if I guessed.


So- agree small % get to maturity and smaller have the gens. But it’s a big pile of bucks per county that will top 200. They are still a needle in haystack but more common than just a few. For what it’s worth on other side of this …. Most guys I know have never even seen a 200” deer.

I’ve been in most counties - lots of great farms…. IMO- Decatur does NOT have the most 200” deer.
 

Hawk32

Active Member
I have no idea on how many in the state or for a county. Not sure I could even take a guess but I can honestly say I've only seen one in person and had 1 I know for sure on camera and I would say I've been fortunate to hunt some better than average areas in NE IA and SC IA for 30 plus years.
 

Muskrat24

Well-Known Member
Agree on small amount that get old + giant.

Per county in the counties with good amount of timber…. ??????……. K- here’s a WILD GUESS…. 20-30??? I know it’s way more than a few.
If farms allow deer to get to potential & managed right- I think a “SECTION” …. 640 acres, COULD produce a 200” deer maybe every 3-4 years. Those situations are rare but that’s some food for thought with my opinion if guys could manage a bigger area top notch. If u could do a whole county like that (make believe - just for fun thinking)…. Hundreds of 200” deer per year per county.
But back to reality…. Not less than 10 and pry not more than 100 if I guessed.


So- agree small % get to maturity and smaller have the gens. But it’s a big pile of bucks per county that will top 200. They are still a needle in haystack but more common than just a few. For what it’s worth on other side of this …. Most guys I know have never even seen a 200” deer.

I’ve been in most counties - lots of great farms…. IMO- Decatur does NOT have the most 200” deer.
To me this math doesn’t work out. How many get killed each year? And if most hunters never see one then how could there be any significant number. I have saw three in my lifetime and am more fortunate than most in my opinion. I have hunted and observed well over 300 mature bucks so less than 1%. I’ve saw less than ten over 170. They aren’t behind every tree. Heavily managed in good counties more than the opposite. Decent county with average pressure and good genetics VERY FEW get to 170 let alone 200. That Missouri study few years back showed it(understandable they have rifles) but the bucks don’t get old enough to make that type of potential with any type of pressure. Just my opinion.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
To me this math doesn’t work out. How many get killed each year? And if most hunters never see one then how could there be any significant number. I have saw three in my lifetime and am more fortunate than most in my opinion. I have hunted and observed well over 300 mature bucks so less than 1%. I’ve saw less than ten over 170. They aren’t behind every tree. Heavily managed in good counties more than the opposite. Decent county with average pressure and good genetics VERY FEW get to 170 let alone 200. That Missouri study few years back showed it(understandable they have rifles) but the bucks don’t get old enough to make that type of potential with any type of pressure. Just my opinion.
A county in iowa is often around the 330,000 acre mark. Let’s call some of the better ones- 50% timber. Which in iowa - is the best of the best with that much timber. 165,000 acres of timber.
1 200” buck per 5,000 acres of timber in those “good counties” no doubt in my mind. No question about it. So- 165,000 / 5,000 acres = 33. I just ran that math so I’m pretty close to what I said above.
Some areas have more than 1 per 5000 acres of timber. Some have less of course.
Hunting 5,000 acres of timber is pry 30-100 guys if im guessing. Which is 10,000 acres if it’s half crop. (All made up examples but just throwing guesstimates out there). Most guys clearly won’t see that deer or shoot it. Even if the deer exists- the big one most guys have a hard time grasping…. That deer is likely extremely smart. He might be on the farm a guy is hunting & never lay eyes on him. They are beyond smart. They are there but yes, a good % of guys never see one. Maybe I back track on that a bit…. Anyone who goes out “hard” for “20 years” in a good area- if they have any skills- majority of those folks will see one.
I know some folks who have shot multiple 200’s in a decade in the same county. Rare but it happens.
It’s hard to thread the needle of making this statement BUT…. There’s a lot more than folks realize. In the same breath & paragraph…. They are so rare & so hard to connect with. It’s contradicting but it’s right. I’d bet or guess that 20-25 counties in iowa have 10+ 200” deer yearly. Many don’t get killed. I’d say the same thing about at least that many counties in KS as well.

Anyone have a guess what county has put out the most 200” deer? It’s deer in the books. I am 90% sure I recall the answer. It’s not Decatur. ;).
 
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Stoney

New Member
I don’t live in one of the best Iowa counties but I’m guessing it’s well over 3. I would expect most of them to be non-typical. NTs are very uncommon in my area. I’ve only seen two 200”+ deer, one of each. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t see a 170” typical buck every year. A 180” wouldn’t surprise me. A 190” typical is almost a unicorn. I wouldn’t be surprised if I never see another 200”+ typical in my lifetime.
 
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[email protected]

Active Member
I'm basing my guesses off of Illinois where I hunt. I'm not sure how different Iowa is and that is why I posted this. One thing I feel sure about, is if a 200 is out there people will know about it. Almost every single hunter now uses multiple trail cameras, and they will get pictures of him (even if it's at night). I really respect what Skip says, but 33 in one county seems high to me. More would be getting killed. I honestly think mature bucks in the Midwest are not hard to kill if they bed on your farm, a good hunter can get a particular buck most of the time. I have talked to multiple big buck hunters about this, and they all say the same thing...." I haven't seen a true 200 in years. Even on a podcast I watched yesterday, a guy who lives big whitetails, Ben Rising said he hasn't seen a 200 anywhere since 2012. If hunters did not shoot the good genetic 2, 3, and 4 year olds every year, then we would have WAY more 200s.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
I'm basing my guesses off of Illinois where I hunt. I'm not sure how different Iowa is and that is why I posted this. One thing I feel sure about, is if a 200 is out there people will know about it. Almost every single hunter now uses multiple trail cameras, and they will get pictures of him (even if it's at night). I really respect what Skip says, but 33 in one county seems high to me. More would be getting killed. I honestly think mature bucks in the Midwest are not hard to kill if they bed on your farm, a good hunter can get a particular buck most of the time. I have talked to multiple big buck hunters about this, and they all say the same thing...." I haven't seen a true 200 in years. Even on a podcast I watched yesterday, a guy who lives big whitetails, Ben Rising said he hasn't seen a 200 anywhere since 2012. If hunters did not shoot the good genetic 2, 3, and 4 year olds every year, then we would have WAY more 200s.
There are ALOT of 200's shot in Iowa on a yearly basis. There are alot at the Iowa deer classic every year and I would bet that less than 10% of the big deer shot end up at that show. And I'm talking gross btw. Net is for fisherman.

Just between myself and a handful of buddies... we been on at least 7 in the last 5 years. 3 of which got killed and a 4th that got hit and survived.
 

Muskrat24

Well-Known Member
I'm basing my guesses off of Illinois where I hunt. I'm not sure how different Iowa is and that is why I posted this. One thing I feel sure about, is if a 200 is out there people will know about it. Almost every single hunter now uses multiple trail cameras, and they will get pictures of him (even if it's at night). I really respect what Skip says, but 33 in one county seems high to me. More would be getting killed. I honestly think mature bucks in the Midwest are not hard to kill if they bed on your farm, a good hunter can get a particular buck most of the time. I have talked to multiple big buck hunters about this, and they all say the same thing...." I haven't seen a true 200 in years. Even on a podcast I watched yesterday, a guy who lives big whitetails, Ben Rising said he hasn't seen a 200 anywhere since 2012. If hunters did not shoot the good genetic 2, 3, and 4 year olds every year, then we would have WAY more 200s.
I’m with you on this one and totally respect the other guys here but there is a difference between managed and unmanaged areas and that comes down to pressure and age. I also agree that if the 200” deer are there SOMEONE typically knows it with all the cams in use today. I personally know of 8 200s in the past 20 years that people have been on and only one of those was a unicorn that the hunter didn’t know about. But I’m guessing SOMEONE else knew he was there. 7 of the 8 were harvested with one dead from EHD.
 
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[email protected]

Active Member
There are ALOT of 200's shot in Iowa on a yearly basis. There are alot at the Iowa deer classic every year and I would bet that less than 10% of the big deer shot end up at that show. And I'm talking gross btw. Net is for fisherman.

Just between myself and a handful of buddies... we been on at least 7 in the last 5 years. 3 of which got killed and a 4th that got hit and survived.
That's impressive. Judging by this thread, there is definitely more 200s in Iowa than I expected. All it takes is large landowners who control big blocks of land and keep the outfitters at bay. Outfitters are the absolute worst neighbors you can have. Running hunter after hunter on the same farms and killing all the young bucks.
 

Buckscrape

Active Member
To me this math doesn’t work out. How many get killed each year? And if most hunters never see one then how could there be any significant number. I have saw three in my lifetime and am more fortunate than most in my opinion. I have hunted and observed well over 300 mature bucks so less than 1%. I’ve saw less than ten over 170. They aren’t behind every tree. Heavily managed in good counties more than the opposite. Decent county with average pressure and good genetics VERY FEW get to 170 let alone 200. That Missouri study few years back showed it(understandable they have rifles) but the bucks don’t get old enough to make that type of potential with any type of pressure. Just my opinion.
That's a good question. According to entries from Iowa into B&C, from 2016 to 2020 I counted about 60 that would have grossed 200. So lets say for arguments sake only 20% get entered (low IMO), that would make 60 200 inch deer/yr die in Iowa. My guess would be closer to 30, maybe even less. So ya, needle in a haystack.
 

hesseu

Active Member
Randomly...and I haven't heard this past year, but 2 or 3 years ago Oklahoma led the country in most 200" deer harvested. Oklahoma private lands are primo these days, but public is some rough terrain.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
That's a good question. According to entries from Iowa into B&C, from 2016 to 2020 I counted about 60 that would have grossed 200. So lets say for arguments sake only 20% get entered (low IMO), that would make 60 200 inch deer/yr die in Iowa. My guess would be closer to 30, maybe even less. So ya, needle in a haystack.
Way less than 20%. Less than 5% likley. I don't know of a single buddy that has entered their 200 into book.
 
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IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Randomly...and I haven't heard this past year, but 2 or 3 years ago Oklahoma led the country in most 200" deer harvested. Oklahoma private lands are primo these days, but public is some rough terrain.
More likely people in Oklahoma have a higher % that actually report/enter their deer into the books. People in Iowa simply don't enter their deer. It's a very low percentage.itd a cultural thing.
 
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Daver

PMA Member
There are ALOT of 200's shot in Iowa on a yearly basis. There are alot at the Iowa deer classic every year and I would bet that less than 10% of the big deer shot end up at that show. And I'm talking gross btw. Net is for fisherman.

Just between myself and a handful of buddies... we been on at least 7 in the last 5 years. 3 of which got killed and a 4th that got hit and survived.
FWIW, in my "neighborhood", I am personally aware of at least 5 - 200" class deer in the past several years. Shed(s), pics, harvested, found dead, etc, or combinations of the aforementioned. They are legit observations. A very small percentage of these giant, giants are being entered in any record books according to my understanding.
 

YtailFreak

Member
I believe this stems from a discussion guys were having on a recent podcast. It started with the question, how many 200s are currently alive in the country? If there are 30 million whitetail deer in the US and lets say 10 mil are bucks, how many of those are 200s? The 2 individuals are guessing about 500.

Fun discussion and one that we will never truly know the answer to, but I'm guessing they are way low.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
I believe this stems from a discussion guys were having on a recent podcast. It started with the question, how many 200s are currently alive in the country? If there are 30 million whitetail deer in the US and lets say 10 mil are bucks, how many of those are 200s? The 2 individuals are guessing about 500.

Fun discussion and one that we will never truly know the answer to, but I'm guessing they are way low.
Agreed. WAY too low.
 

Muskrat24

Well-Known Member
Rob, I think you can relate to the Quest competition and maybe not a record book but not many 200s killed on the Iowa leaderboard annually. More in Kansas last year for sure.
 
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