This thread got me thinking back on how lucky I've been in my long hunting career. I thought I'd chime in. I'm sure it will look like I'm bragging. I guess I'll admit right from the start that is true.
I started deer hunting in the 1970's but for me the good old days didn't start back then. They are a more recent phenomenon.
Here's my list. I don't know how to post pics but maybe I'll figure that out and get some up.
2001 218 Gross
2003 240 Gross
2004 201 Gross
2008 207 Gross
2015 213 Gross
No flying, no buying, no radios or cell phones, no trail cameras and no long range shooting.
Longest shot was 75 yards (rifle). Next longest shot was 40 yards.
Three were taken with otc or leftover tags. Two were taken with draw tags.
I have a far different style of hunting than most these days. I do very little long distance glassing. I believe if you can glass an area effectively then you aren't likely to see a big buck. Big deer don't like to be seen. The way to see them is in or near thick unglassable cover usually very late in the evening or very early in the morning. Evenings have been much better than mornings for me. Darn few guys are still busting it way back in thick cover after the sun goes behind the horizon. I feel like the last 15 minutes of legal shooting is worth more than the entire day up to that point.
Of course under the right conditions tracking is deadly. Three of the five were taken by tracking. Two of the bucks were tracked in snow and one in mud after heavy rains.
I've also got quite a few in the 180's and 190's (and plenty of smaller bucks).
The comment that you have to hunt where big deer exist is of course absolutely true. In much of the west a 200" buck is so rare that finding one is almost impossible. I've hunted some of these areas too and was happy to shoot bucks in the 160's and 170's.
Even in areas where there are some 200 inchers around it's very tough to get one. I'm the first to admit that I have been really, really lucky. I am actually very surprised that it's gone that well for me. I have no illusions about ever taking another. It could happen but I wouldn't bet on it. As far as doing it consistently. I believe it is possible if someone spends enough time and effort (total obsession required). I am sometimes obsessed during the season when I have a tag but my scouting is very limited. If somebody scouts hard enough they can create a fighting chance for a monster buck anytime they have a tag in a good area.