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Brian Morgan
Brian Morgan • 01/23/2012 * Kerrville , TX • Muzzleloader

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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

A Giant Among Many

Michael Hanlon’s buck isn’t going to break any records, but it sure turns a lot of heads. If the velvet doesn’t get your attention, the left side’s tall tines and the right’s strange configuration — a three-point typical frame with an extra 22-inch beam on the backside — are sure to make you breathe through your open mouth.

Probably another corn-fed buck from the Midwest, right?


Ask any hunter to name the top whitetail states, the ones coughing up the most book deer, and the answers will likely include Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin and Iowa. I’d be very surprised if anybody mentioned Louisiana, which is where Hanlon arrowed his buck.

The Sportsman’s Paradise conjures many images: crawfish, bayous, alligators, killer hurricanes, LSU and Bourbon Street. Deer don’t really come to mind, but they should.

My introduction to the real Land of Giants came in 1999, when I met Cecil Reddick at a Tallulah, La., truck stop. We drove south into Vidalia, where Cecil (now the BTR’s regional director for Louisiana and Mississippi) measured a nearly 300-inch whitetail shot back in 1947. I was there to get the story.

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Mississippi Has a New Record

As suspected, Will Rives’ Jefferson County, Miss., buck – posted here on the Braggin Board 13 days after he arrowed it – is indeed a new state record within the BTR. But not as a Typical.

The 17-pointer carries a super strong 6x5 mainframe, but the six irregular points contribute just enough to the rack’s score so that it winds up a Semi-irregular by Buckmasters’ yardstick. The official score, which doesn’t include inside spread, is 183 4/8 inches. That’s the figure we use to rank deer. The composite (true gross) score is 200 6/8.

I’m fairly certain that Will’s buck will be recognized as a state-record Typical with the Pope and Young Club, too, although deductions will knock its score down to the low to mid-170s.

If Will were to take a hacksaw to that gorgeous rack and remove the kickers, it would gain 15 to 20 inches with B&C. Is that crazy or what?

That, friends, is why the BTR came into being. Speaking of which...

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Catahoula Moose

Benjamin Landry of Louisiana is the latest deer hunter to wrap his hands around one of nature’s rarest whitetail racks. The palmated antlers of the Catahoula Parish buck he shot on Jan. 22 might not have exceptionally long points, but there are several, and the last two circumference measurements on each side should nudge this rifle harvest into our record book.

I heard about this rascal from Greg Hicks, who pens many of the stories at Benjamin tells this one in his own words, however, which reminds me: Wouldn’t YOU like to be paid to write hunting stories?

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A Story by Itself Cannot Stand

An outfitter friend e-mailed a well written story last month about a client’s hunt for a world-class black bear. Along with it, he attached several gorgeous images of the man and his trophy.

Six e-mails, a visit to a photo-sharing website and a CD-rom later, I reluctantly was forced to discard the story. The bear was a keeper and the story better than average, but the photographs – or jpegs – were simply too small.

Unfortunately, the lack of a publishable photograph is frustratingly common.

The poor or distasteful quality of the image is usually why it’s rejected. But its size is equally important. Without decent photo support, a busy editor isn’t going to waste time reading what could be the best written story or the most interesting tale ever committed to paper.

For magazine purposes, we need jpegs close to or larger than 1 Mb in size (that’s 1,000 Kb). The little ones look great on a computer monitor and even on photographic paper. But they will not work when resized for a magazine.

To ensure you’ll get usable images, set your camera so that it will take big photos. In many cases, you’ll have three options: small, medium and large, or small, better and best. Choose the “large” or “best” options. You might also be asked to choose when downloading and saving an image from your camera to your computer. Always choose the largest/best possible. You can always save smaller copies to be e-mailed, while retaining the larger ones for persnickety magazine editors.

The following tips will help you with quality.

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