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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Defining HOG

 As impressive as its antlers are, especially with the extra beam on the left side, Scott Thrasher’s Bienville Parish buck probably won’t crack the top 50 whitetails felled in Louisiana in 2010. But photographs of the enormous animal have generated just as many, if not more, oohs and ahs than any other Louisiana deer circling cyberspace.

If there was a Deer Hunter’s Dictionary, this rascal’s photo would appear under “hog.”

If you’re surprised such a big-bodied deer came from Louisiana, don’t feel bad. I once thought as you do.

I was so high up an oak overlooking a Louisiana clear-cut that morning, I could feel the whoosh whenever a chevron of geese flew past. So when a shooter 8-pointer tried to sneak through the tall weeds about 50 yards behind me, it didn’t look any bigger than any other I’d seen or harvested throughout North America.

The deer might’ve been 50 steps from the base of the tree, but the shot was closer to 70. I was that high.

A few minutes later, as Cecil Reddick and I were approaching the dead buck, my eyes bulged.

“Look at the size of that deer!” I gasped.

Cecil thought I was talking about its 141-inch rack, which was way cool. But I couldn’t see the antlers at that point. I was talking about the buck’s haunches.

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Young Guns

A trio of outstanding northern Missouri bucks was showcased in this space last week, testament to the caliber of whitetails to be found north of Interstate 70, which connects the dots of St. Louis and Kansas City. Even without poring through records, I know the Show Me State was among the top yielders of book bucks in 2010.

I failed to mention, however, that a fair share of last season’s gigantic deer were shot by unlicensed hunters ... as in those too young to buy a regular hunting license. Seems more and more deer hunters are taking advantage of the state’s youth hunt to take kids afield, and the little ones are making their shots count.

I’ve grown accustomed to writing at least one magazine story a year featuring a kid and a colossal whitetail from Missouri. This time around, even more ink will be dedicated to half-pints and their bucks with 10-gallon racks. Two of the best were taken by little girls named Morgan -- Wallace and Reed – on Oct. 30.

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Winter Bones

I suspect that when I examine all the entries from 2010, I’ll find Missouri among the top yielders of record-book bucks. I cannot recall a better season, quality-wise, for Show Me State whitetails.

The most recent giant to cross my desk was taken Nov. 16 by John Bruno of Macon, Mo.  His Randolph County 14-pointer – a mainframe 5x5 with a trio of forked points and a small kicker – carries a composite score of 194 6/8 inches.

The Bruno Buck is one of several that’ll be featured in Rack magazine next fall. Two others to look for are Justin Moenkhoff’s Lafayette County 17-pointer (207 4/8 composite), also a rifle-killed irregular, and John Cozart’s clean 6x5, which he arrowed in Macon County (180 4/8 composite).

These outstanding deer are but a very small sampling of what can be found north of Interstate 70, which connects St. Louis and Kansas City.

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Two New Records for Kansas

In the shadow of 2009, the best year on record for world-class whitetails, last hunting season wasn’t particularly noteworthy. But I know a couple of gents in Kansas who’ll say it ain’t so.

Both men shot new state records in 2010.

At 170 inches (not counting the 18-inch inside spread), the buck taken by Wesley Allen Eagleburger on Dec. 1 is not only the Sunflower State’s new No. 1 Perfect in the rifle category, but it’s also the biggest harvested there by any means. The Norton County specimen is a gorgeous 5x5 with one small kicker on the left side, altogether nearly 6 inches bigger than the previous record set in 1998.

Two months before Eagleburger earned his spot in the book, Tracy Atchison smoked a new No. 1 Perfect for Kansas in the blackpowder category. It tallies 163 4/8 (sans spread), 5 1/8 inches more than the previous king of the hill shot by David Prine in 2009.

The above scores might not sound impressive nowadays, when 200-inchers are far more attainable than they used to be. But mature whitetails rarely sport perfect antlers. The older a buck gets, the more likely its rack is to sprout a few stickers and kickers.

[Read the rest of this article...]

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