Al.... Like I said puzzling... Farm consists of several fingers of woods with CRP and cedars between these fingers... Approx. 60 acres is tillable which is planted in corn or soybean every year... Plus adjacent farms have crops yearly... Now here's the kicker... The first year we had numerous bucks 150 + on trail cameras prior to the season... We did not harvest one of them that year... The next year we had high expectations for these future hall of fame bucks... Well didn't see one or have any on camera...Where did they go?? Since then we have harvested numerous bucks in the upper 140's low 150's, but nothing exceptional... Now many would be happy with deer in that range, but I'd like to get at least one booner in my life... This year we have 4 cell cameras running and not a single decent buck... There's no food plots on the property ( don't have the time needed to do them when property is 1000 miles away... And too expensive to have someone do them ) But as I said earlier there are crops on and surrounding farms have crops... Well see this year...
That sure is puzziling. Athough it can be very frusturating that often times, I woudl say the majority of times, a mature buck simply doesnt make that jump from 150 to 170. I have a pile of deer over the years that have gone from 4-5 without hardly any jump. MSU has some data on this as well. All in all, I wish you all the best, there has to be some giants close!!
One of my good buddies owns 170 acres a bit north of Pike County IL - and my goodness the bucks are unreal!!
Last thing I wil mention, the genetic pockets of deer can be amazing. I have a good friend in Monroe county Ohio, huge property and kills good deer each year. He is frusturated because he wants to kill a booner. Well, about 2 miles away - this kid he nows owns 80 acres and the kid has 3 or 4 170inch bucks on camera. The terrain, available nutrition, etc. is all relatively the same - it seems that there must just be some type of genetic dominant trait on that particular property/sq. mile.
I am sure if we could study the genetics and epigentics of each sq. mile, we would be blown away at the variability of bucks to express their genetic potential based on these factors, with all other parameters staying constant in the same area.
Maybe someday science will have more information on this!!
Good luck out in IL!