Big Buck 411 Blog

When the Wow Factor Trumps Score

When the Wow Factor Trumps Score

By Mike Handley

While a 151-inch whitetail might be considered a buck of a lifetime by many, including yours truly (my best in 50 seasons tallies 150), it’s not ordinarily considered a truly world-class animal.

But don’t say that to Clifton Vibbert.

The hunter from Burkesville, Kentucky, enjoyed one of his career-best opening days last fall, which culminated in the taking of one of the coolest deer he or I have ever seen. The 17-point velvet rack is only 8 inches wide.

World-class? You betcha!

Clifton’s unusual drop-tined buck has the third-smallest inside spread in Buckmasters’ record book. The BTR’s narrowest is a 7 1/8-inch-wide North Carolina deer, followed by a Pennsylvania specimen with 7 4/8.

“When I first saw the buck in 2018, it already had an unusual rack,” he told Dale Weddle, who’s writing the story for Rack magazine. “It had a cluster of small points, which is why I named him Stickers.”

Clifton let the buck walk twice that year, but its status changed the following summer.  The first trail photographs – from Clifton’s cameras – were taken in May, when the rack was nothing more than large velvety stumps. The drop tine and other irregular points developed over time.

“By the time the season rolled around on Sept. 7, he had grown a crazy-looking rack,” he said.

Several neighbors in Cumberland County had retrieved photos as well.

The buck was a frequent 7 p.m. visitor to a feeder Clifton set up beside a soybean field, which is why the hunter decided to skip the morning hunt on opening day. He waited until that afternoon to climb into the blind overlooking the deer’s supper table.

“I was in the hut by 3:30. It was so hot that I pulled my pant legs up to my knees to try and stay cool,” he said.

Between 5:00 and 10 minutes until 7, two does, three fawns and a 4-point buck came to feed. They were followed by the 8-pointer that had been Stickers’ running buddy.

Clifton decided that might be a good time to pick up his bow. Sure enough, not long afterward, he spotted the narrow-racked giant 100 yards away in the beans.

“The 8-pointer ran to him,” he said. “They started feeding in the soybeans, and I thought it was over; I didn’t think they’d come back.”

He was wrong.

— Read Recent Blog! Hunt for the Headless Buck: The Stark County whitetail has a BTR score of 190 6/8 inches.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd