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200 inchers?

In Iowa we hunt in areas many hunters around the nation dream of. I am blessed to hunt here every year but my main hunting ground consists of public land with about a 90/10 split between public/private. I have been hunting here for a little over 10 years now and in different parts of the state and I can say I have only seen 2 bucks that would gross 170+. I have never seen a 200" deer. A few years ago I did hear of a 200" deer killed on public by an out of state guy from Louisiana I believe. I have 3 brothers and my Dad who also hunt and between all of us I'd say we've seen 7-8 bucks grossing over 170+ but still none over 200. I run a decent amount of cameras as well and have never captured a buck over 200" on them. So I'd say obviously 200" bucks exist but they are very rare in open and heavily hunted areas. In managed large blocks of timber I'm sure there are multiple. I'm a little surprised by how high the estimates are by some of the posts in this thread. In my world I would have guessed 4-5 in the best counties with many counties having none where the habitat is lacking and gun season takes a toll on the age structure. Obviously others disagree which is what makes this thread interesting because nobody will ever know the real numbers.
 

Muskrat24

Well-Known Member
Ok so here is another argument. How many 200 inch deer did Bill Winke kill/film. How bout Drurys or Kisky or Lakosky? These farms are managed way better than the majority of what most of us hunt. Pretty sure all those guys have broke 200 now except Terry but they aren’t behind every tree.
 

Daver

PMA Member
Ok so here is another argument. How many 200 inch deer did Bill Winke kill/film. How bout Drurys or Kisky or Lakosky? These farms are managed way better than the majority of what most of us hunt. Pretty sure all those guys have broke 200 now except Terry but they aren’t behind every tree.
I don't know the answer for sure as it relates to Winke's old farm, but if my memory is correct didn't he at one time have 3 bucks living there at the same time that would have gone over 200"? He harvested two of them and found one dead from probable EHD. My memory is a little fuzzy on the exact details, but that is the type of area/farm where they can be found in "bunches". :) (OK, bunches is an exaggeration. :) But multiple anyway.)

He got hit hard by EHD a couple of times or I suspect that there would have been more.
 

Muskrat24

Well-Known Member
I don't know the answer for sure as it relates to Winke's old farm, but if my memory is correct didn't he at one time have 3 bucks living there at the same time that would have gone over 200"? He harvested two of them and found one dead from probable EHD. My memory is a little fuzzy on the exact details, but that is the type of area/farm where they can be found in "bunches". :) (OK, bunches is an exaggeration. :) But multiple anyway.)

He got hit hard by EHD a couple of times or I suspect that there would have been more.
One over 200”. Other two were close 190s. To my knowledge and my poor memory double G4 deer he chased a couple years was only 200 he killed. The other two were BIG too but but not 200.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Ok so here is another argument. How many 200 inch deer did Bill Winke kill/film. How bout Drurys or Kisky or Lakosky? These farms are managed way better than the majority of what most of us hunt. Pretty sure all those guys have broke 200 now except Terry but they aren’t behind every tree.
5+ between those guys.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
The most 200” deer shot by single hunters are NOT guys on TV. There’s some of who have shot 1 to a handful now but not the most. There’s 2 guys I knew personally who have shot the most I know of. They are private & u won’t find pictures & if so- rarely. Never entered and maybe the pics get shared among buddies - that’s about it.
I’ll describe both generally out of respect for them & their privacy but here’s scoop….

Buddy who has a KS farm. I’ve been There maybe 4 years ago. It’s right around 400-500 acres. Really good. I used to hunt near him some years back. He’s got a neighbor with 200-240 that doesn’t allow hunting. He’s got Walk-in across road. On another side is 2 farms about 160 each that get “permission guys” in there & not managed but not destroyed. Over 20-25 years - this guy has shot a Legit 6 bucks over 200”. He’s had a few slip by that he never got as well. He’s just got a honey hole but he NEVER lets a “young 180” deer” get shot. Never on his land. He lets others shoot mature bucks & they shoot all the 120-160” mature dominant bucks they can. But protect those gems that get shot on 90% of other places. Also- I’d say most of the bucks were 6-7 years old. That’s just hard to do but doable.

One other guy who shot maybe 5-6 200’s…. This doesn’t really “count” when we talking DENSITY…. He just scouts like 50+ farms and areas a year. Across several states and countless acres. How he gets access to it all - I don’t quite understand. But heck, he might scout 50,000 acres & find 2 & hopefully get one. That’s just a numbers game + a dude with crazy ambition & hunting skills. I couldn’t do that to that level but props to him.

Last: a large farm I know that I can think of having 1-3 200’s probably 10 times in last 30 years. 2 different times it produced 3 200” deer. Yes- it happened. I don’t know what that farm is like the last few years & don’t follow it close but I’ve helped landowner with some projects & how they manage things. Same thing: amazing genetics & nutrition, small core areas for bucks. Don’t kill any young giants (yes, they would pass a 190” 4 year old for example). Kill all fully mature deer & bullies. Patrol for poachers, etc etc. Food is dialed in for premium nutrition. Good sized farm where most the time they can control the deer not leaving or getting shot. A rare situation?? Of course!!!! One in a million for what’s out there but it can be done.

Heck- up in mason city (NC iowa) dude was selling a 640 & buddy was looking at maybe buying it. Guy planted willows, shrubs & trees into a previously ag field. And tall grasses and left food up. Took 5-7 years and it held deer like crazy. In area NO ONE ELSE DID ANYTHING EXCEPT FARM & COMBINE EVERY ACRE. Pressure on land was way down & didn’t kill young studs (see a theme here?!? ;) ) - killed 2 200’s in 5 years. Had other giants. On a farm that 20 years before didnt have a single deer on it!!!

All of these are talking about “elite, cream of crop, rare situations or hunters” but if a chunk of land can be controlled & managed right…. Or minimize the killing of young studs- it’s clearly a game changer. Can most folks do this? NO. But it’s possible & that alone is pretty interesting.
 

newfarmer

Active Member
The most 200” deer shot by single hunters are NOT guys on TV. There’s some of who have shot 1 to a handful now but not the most. There’s 2 guys I knew personally who have shot the most I know of. They are private & u won’t find pictures & if so- rarely. Never entered and maybe the pics get shared among buddies - that’s about it.
I’ll describe both generally out of respect for them & their privacy but here’s scoop….

Buddy who has a KS farm. I’ve been There maybe 4 years ago. It’s right around 400-500 acres. Really good. I used to hunt near him some years back. He’s got a neighbor with 200-240 that doesn’t allow hunting. He’s got Walk-in across road. On another side is 2 farms about 160 each that get “permission guys” in there & not managed but not destroyed. Over 20-25 years - this guy has shot a Legit 6 bucks over 200”. He’s had a few slip by that he never got as well. He’s just got a honey hole but he NEVER lets a “young 180” deer” get shot. Never on his land. He lets others shoot mature bucks & they shoot all the 120-160” mature dominant bucks they can. But protect those gems that get shot on 90% of other places. Also- I’d say most of the bucks were 6-7 years old. That’s just hard to do but doable.

One other guy who shot maybe 5-6 200’s…. This doesn’t really “count” when we talking DENSITY…. He just scouts like 50+ farms and areas a year. Across several states and countless acres. How he gets access to it all - I don’t quite understand. But heck, he might scout 50,000 acres & find 2 & hopefully get one. That’s just a numbers game + a dude with crazy ambition & hunting skills. I couldn’t do that to that level but props to him.

Last: a large farm I know that I can think of having 1-3 200’s probably 10 times in last 30 years. 2 different times it produced 3 200” deer. Yes- it happened. I don’t know what that farm is like the last few years & don’t follow it close but I’ve helped landowner with some projects & how they manage things. Same thing: amazing genetics & nutrition, small core areas for bucks. Don’t kill any young giants (yes, they would pass a 190” 4 year old for example). Kill all fully mature deer & bullies. Patrol for poachers, etc etc. Food is dialed in for premium nutrition. Good sized farm where most the time they can control the deer not leaving or getting shot. A rare situation?? Of course!!!! One in a million for what’s out there but it can be done.

Heck- up in mason city (NC iowa) dude was selling a 640 & buddy was looking at maybe buying it. Guy planted willows, shrubs & trees into a previously ag field. And tall grasses and left food up. Took 5-7 years and it held deer like crazy. In area NO ONE ELSE DID ANYTHING EXCEPT FARM & COMBINE EVERY ACRE. Pressure on land was way down & didn’t kill young studs (see a theme here?!? ;) ) - killed 2 200’s in 5 years. Had other giants. On a farm that 20 years before didnt have a single deer on it!!!

All of these are talking about “elite, cream of crop, rare situations or hunters” but if a chunk of land can be controlled & managed right…. Or minimize the killing of young studs- it’s clearly a game changer. Can most folks do this? NO. But it’s possible & that alone is pretty interesting.

Mason City area can be a true hot spot. You talk about those amount of acres and it could happen. I wish I could get the “right” 60 acres- but I have 8000 things I feel working against me. In Laws that wander all over the property when they are here, a wife who doesn’t care at all about scent control when she hunts, a daughter who is always wanting to be in the woods. I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything and one day it will happen, but there are so many factors that need to fall into place at the same time and people need the same mind set
 

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cchadww

Active Member
This is probably a stupid question but when you say cell camera would that include the cudde back cameras that are linked together or just the main cell cam. I guess I haven't noticed anything different running cudde backs vs old school cams but I've never really thought about it either.

I was wondering the same thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

newfarmer

Active Member
I was wondering the same thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
The buck I just shared above is on many cuddelink cameras- he’s not a 200”, but they don’t seem to mind nearly as much. Part of me wonders- my Tactacam reveals seem to make areas go blank with mature bucks- but they are a “cheap” cell cam. Does quality of cell cam make a difference? Ask the people that are sponsored by them and no is the obvious answer, but just makes me wonder.
 

Daver

PMA Member
The most 200” deer shot by single hunters are NOT guys on TV. There’s some of who have shot 1 to a handful now but not the most. There’s 2 guys I knew personally who have shot the most I know of. They are private & u won’t find pictures & if so- rarely. Never entered and maybe the pics get shared among buddies - that’s about it.
I’ll describe both generally out of respect for them & their privacy but here’s scoop….

Buddy who has a KS farm. I’ve been There maybe 4 years ago. It’s right around 400-500 acres. Really good. I used to hunt near him some years back. He’s got a neighbor with 200-240 that doesn’t allow hunting. He’s got Walk-in across road. On another side is 2 farms about 160 each that get “permission guys” in there & not managed but not destroyed. Over 20-25 years - this guy has shot a Legit 6 bucks over 200”. He’s had a few slip by that he never got as well. He’s just got a honey hole but he NEVER lets a “young 180” deer” get shot. Never on his land. He lets others shoot mature bucks & they shoot all the 120-160” mature dominant bucks they can. But protect those gems that get shot on 90% of other places. Also- I’d say most of the bucks were 6-7 years old. That’s just hard to do but doable.

One other guy who shot maybe 5-6 200’s…. This doesn’t really “count” when we talking DENSITY…. He just scouts like 50+ farms and areas a year. Across several states and countless acres. How he gets access to it all - I don’t quite understand. But heck, he might scout 50,000 acres & find 2 & hopefully get one. That’s just a numbers game + a dude with crazy ambition & hunting skills. I couldn’t do that to that level but props to him.

Last: a large farm I know that I can think of having 1-3 200’s probably 10 times in last 30 years. 2 different times it produced 3 200” deer. Yes- it happened. I don’t know what that farm is like the last few years & don’t follow it close but I’ve helped landowner with some projects & how they manage things. Same thing: amazing genetics & nutrition, small core areas for bucks. Don’t kill any young giants (yes, they would pass a 190” 4 year old for example). Kill all fully mature deer & bullies. Patrol for poachers, etc etc. Food is dialed in for premium nutrition. Good sized farm where most the time they can control the deer not leaving or getting shot. A rare situation?? Of course!!!! One in a million for what’s out there but it can be done.

Heck- up in mason city (NC iowa) dude was selling a 640 & buddy was looking at maybe buying it. Guy planted willows, shrubs & trees into a previously ag field. And tall grasses and left food up. Took 5-7 years and it held deer like crazy. In area NO ONE ELSE DID ANYTHING EXCEPT FARM & COMBINE EVERY ACRE. Pressure on land was way down & didn’t kill young studs (see a theme here?!? ;) ) - killed 2 200’s in 5 years. Had other giants. On a farm that 20 years before didnt have a single deer on it!!!

All of these are talking about “elite, cream of crop, rare situations or hunters” but if a chunk of land can be controlled & managed right…. Or minimize the killing of young studs- it’s clearly a game changer. Can most folks do this? NO. But it’s possible & that alone is pretty interesting.
You could have just said the bolded part Skip. :) :) But seriously, this is right on. It is definitely achievable, but it may not be practical in 98% of the territory since it obligates dudes not to take out the super high potential bucks when they are legit bruisers already, 160"+, BUT...still young enough that they are not done growing.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I enjoy reading this conversation. With that said... The management style required to produce 200 class bucks, locks land down and continues to turn deer hunting into an elitist activity. I see both sides, but dang.
There’s maybe 3-4 ways around the “elite way” as u call it. Not disagreeing …. In the sense that $ is required OFTEN TIMES to achieve great management. & even throwing $ at trying to grow big deer is often/usually unsuccessful. SKILL & AMBITION trump $ every time. But…. There’s a few other ways..
1) get a few neighbors all to agree to pass bucks not to potential. Hard, yes (like anything great) but possible & it does happen.
2) find areas with low enough pressure & then have the self discipline to pass bucks not to potential. Extreme examples of this would be Canada, western kansas, etc etc- places where it’s just extremely low pressure/people.
3) the most realistic situation: find “solid areas” & pass up bucks knowing that all won’t make it to maturity. Understand that it could be “10 years” in some cases before a 200” deer is there. In meantime, a lot of guys can hunt other mature bucks - maybe 130-180” that are old & a “trophy”. If in the right area and u aren’t the guy that can’t help self & shoots young studs- it’ll happen in time IMO.

& clearly - I think even the most hard core guys who want to shoot 200” deer - they know it’s just rare. Expectations are aligned with that as well… It’s hard. & these same guys would be stoked to shoot a “160” 7 year old 8 point” or whatever is mature. Having the chance at a 200” deer is more like a “rare bonus” or “cherry on top”. No one really expects it but it’s probably a dream that a portion of hunters have in the back of their mind. At least there’s areas & situations out there where that dream can become reality. As rare as may be. & yes, the best of the best areas and hunters- growing a 200” & shooting one is so hard anywhere.
 
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IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
The buck I just shared above is on many cuddelink cameras- he’s not a 200”, but they don’t seem to mind nearly as much. Part of me wonders- my Tactacam reveals seem to make areas go blank with mature bucks- but they are a “cheap” cell cam. Does quality of cell cam make a difference? Ask the people that are sponsored by them and no is the obvious answer, but just makes me wonder.
My cell cams are spartans. Mature bucks don't like them.

I have heard the cuddelink are far less of a problem than cell cams. They run on radio other than home cam.
 
Even a mature buck with one eye can detect a cell camera.Havent got another pic of him since this one.
 

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Trapshooter1

Active Member
I read this whole thread, Southern Iowa This, Southern Iowa that. 200 inch this, 200 inch that.
I agree. Ya ll should stay in Southern Iowa. There's no big bucks in North Iowa. 200 inches is cool. All I care about is a big framed Mature buck. If you have to debate weither he s big or not. He s not.

I'll take 160s big 8 pointers all day.
There is a lot of hunting pressure in my county making it pretty hard for a 170s+ deer to survive.

I know for me it's really hard to pass a 160s buck. But I know if I want to shoot a megabuck, I'll have to start passing them.
 

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Muskrat24

Well-Known Member
The most 200” deer shot by single hunters are NOT guys on TV. There’s some of who have shot 1 to a handful now but not the most. There’s 2 guys I knew personally who have shot the most I know of. They are private & u won’t find pictures & if so- rarely. Never entered and maybe the pics get shared among buddies - that’s about it.
I’ll describe both generally out of respect for them & their privacy but here’s scoop….

Buddy who has a KS farm. I’ve been There maybe 4 years ago. It’s right around 400-500 acres. Really good. I used to hunt near him some years back. He’s got a neighbor with 200-240 that doesn’t allow hunting. He’s got Walk-in across road. On another side is 2 farms about 160 each that get “permission guys” in there & not managed but not destroyed. Over 20-25 years - this guy has shot a Legit 6 bucks over 200”. He’s had a few slip by that he never got as well. He’s just got a honey hole but he NEVER lets a “young 180” deer” get shot. Never on his land. He lets others shoot mature bucks & they shoot all the 120-160” mature dominant bucks they can. But protect those gems that get shot on 90% of other places. Also- I’d say most of the bucks were 6-7 years old. That’s just hard to do but doable.

One other guy who shot maybe 5-6 200’s…. This doesn’t really “count” when we talking DENSITY…. He just scouts like 50+ farms and areas a year. Across several states and countless acres. How he gets access to it all - I don’t quite understand. But heck, he might scout 50,000 acres & find 2 & hopefully get one. That’s just a numbers game + a dude with crazy ambition & hunting skills. I couldn’t do that to that level but props to him.

Last: a large farm I know that I can think of having 1-3 200’s probably 10 times in last 30 years. 2 different times it produced 3 200” deer. Yes- it happened. I don’t know what that farm is like the last few years & don’t follow it close but I’ve helped landowner with some projects & how they manage things. Same thing: amazing genetics & nutrition, small core areas for bucks. Don’t kill any young giants (yes, they would pass a 190” 4 year old for example). Kill all fully mature deer & bullies. Patrol for poachers, etc etc. Food is dialed in for premium nutrition. Good sized farm where most the time they can control the deer not leaving or getting shot. A rare situation?? Of course!!!! One in a million for what’s out there but it can be done.

Heck- up in mason city (NC iowa) dude was selling a 640 & buddy was looking at maybe buying it. Guy planted willows, shrubs & trees into a previously ag field. And tall grasses and left food up. Took 5-7 years and it held deer like crazy. In area NO ONE ELSE DID ANYTHING EXCEPT FARM & COMBINE EVERY ACRE. Pressure on land was way down & didn’t kill young studs (see a theme here?!? ;) ) - killed 2 200’s in 5 years. Had other giants. On a farm that 20 years before didnt have a single deer on it!!!

All of these are talking about “elite, cream of crop, rare situations or hunters” but if a chunk of land can be controlled & managed right…. Or minimize the killing of young studs- it’s clearly a game changer. Can most folks do this? NO. But it’s possible & that alone is
These are the things it takes to consistently produce 200” deer. IMO. It CAN be done by a blind sow but way less consistent. Nice explanations skip!
 
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Rut Nut

RUT_NUT
Interesting take on the cams, I'd like to see how and where guys are setting them up that put the mature bucks on edge. I never see a buck that I don't already have on cam. I have quite a bit of confidence by mid-October that I know of all the bucks I'll be hunting that fall. I'm almost never surprised by a buck I don't recognize when I'm in the stand. The last couple bucks I sent teeth in were 7 and 6 years old and I could fill a photo album with pictures of those bucks through the years. I'll get multiple pictures throughout the year of the same 5+ old bucks, same spots, same cameras, over and over. In fact, I can pretty much predict every year where most the survivors from the year before will show up on camera and about which week they'll show up for the first time. I don't put out any summer trail cameras so I don't know about that.

As far as the 200 inch conversation, I'm 100% sure I have never had a 200 using a property I hunt on while I was hunting it . I have never seen one or had a picture of one. They have been killed fairly close by on other properties and even on property I now own before I owned it. I am patiently waiting my turn. ;)
Iv'e had the same experience as Hillrunner. As a backroad there are 3 of us that own a total of about a 1000 acres of heavily timbered property. The one partner is a camera nut and together we are currently running 38 cuddylink cameras using white flash on all but 2. There are 3 home units which are put in lower activity sites so they dont take as many pictures. We also run 14 scout guard style cameras. using white flash. The camera nut also runs some Spartan cell units at times and I think he believes it affects the deer some. We get mature bucks standing in front of the cuddylinks all the time with no affect. We are archery only and almost all the deer taken are 5 to 7 years old. I personally have taken 2 bucks in the last few years grossing 196 and 198. The property has a lot of old bucks but many have modest racks. Several years ago I shot a 3 point 6 yr old. Deer that gross above 175 are pretty rare and I only know of 1 that grossed above 200 in the last 30 years in the area.
 

Buckscrape

Active Member
Given enough cover and the right genetics I think it's possible for a very special deer to make it to 200. It happened here. The critical ages are between 3 and 5. If a buck can make it through those yrs ...
Here's an example: yrs start at two and a half, ends at seven and a half.
 

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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I read this whole thread, Southern Iowa This, Southern Iowa that. 200 inch this, 200 inch that.
I agree. Ya ll should stay in Southern Iowa. There's no big bucks in North Iowa. 200 inches is cool. All I care about is a big framed Mature buck. If you have to debate weither he s big or not. He s not.

I'll take 160s big 8 pointers all day.
There is a lot of hunting pressure in my county making it pretty hard for a 170s+ deer to survive.

I know for me it's really hard to pass a 160s buck. But I know if I want to shoot a megabuck, I'll have to start passing them.
NE iowa is pretty high up there when it comes to giant bucks killed.
S iowa has a ton of hunting pressure. Truth is, I don’t know of any “GENERAL AREA” that doesn’t have a lot of hunting pressure. There may be pockets or neighborhoods in any part of any state that are lightly hunted but not over wide areas. Every part of every state I’ve seen in my life has substantial hunting pressure. Don’t think it matters whether u talking: NE, SC, SE, E, W, SE iowa…. All comes down to neighborhood. A 5 mile drive can take a guy from a poor farm to a premium farm. Happens in every county & area across the state.
 

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