The network of Game & Fish Magazine writers fanned out across the region to find the most impressive scored bucks we could. Here are our fascinating stories of some truly extraordinary trophy deer.
Trophy bucks can pop up anywhere. Biologists claim that the right combination of decent genetics, good nutrition and enough years to reach maturity can produce a good buck anywhere in the state. Some areas produce more and better bucks than other areas; just look at what comes out of the Black Belt.
Bringing home a big buck is every hunter’s dream. Even more exciting than taking a big buck, though, is watching a son or daughter take the buck….
On the hallowed list of America’s big-buck hotspots, Arkansas is considered a “sleeper” destination for hunters seeking trophy bucks. Thanks to visionary management goals and practices established 20 years ago by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas’ buck herd has a very good age structure, with ample representation among multiple age-classes. Our statewide 3-point rule, which took effect in 1998, requires a legal buck to have at least 3 points on one antler. Some of our wildlife management areas have more rigid regulations, such as a 15-inch minimum inside spread and/or at least….
There are stories about a 25-point monster that James Stovall brought out of the Green Swamp West Wildlife Management Area a number of years ago. There are also rumors of another big buck down around Lake Okeechobee, and several more in Green Swamp West; even in Florida, trophy bucks are out there. A big buck can be dropped any time hunters are in the woods. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding them. Other times, it’s just a matter of being in the right place a….
Every autumn, thousands of Georgia hunters head for the woods in hopes of bagging a deer. While what is considered a trophy buck sits in the eye of the beholder, dozens of good bucks were taken last season, with a handful reaching the lofty 160 score that makes a Boone and Crockett buck. However, for most Peach State hunters, any buck scoring over 120 is a very nice….
The trophy buck harvest has been booming in the Bluegrass State over the past decade or so. Hunters have had tremendous success bagging trophy class animals and the trend shows no signs of letting up. Kentucky has consistently been ranked in the top five states nationwide for producing Boone and Crockett bucks, oftentimes in the top three and at least once as the No. 1 state in the country. Last year proved to be yet another great year, with a total of 43 Booner registered bucks and several others likely not yet recorded….
While many trophy bucks are taken outside of the rut, the breeding time of deer still leads to increased activity in most parts of the state, providing some of the best chances for trophies for most hunters. While Louisiana doesn’t have the legendary status for trophies as some other states, it still has everything needed to grow trophy whitetails — genetics, nutrition and age. Nutrition is a vital component. Diverse foods contain nutrients and minerals necessary for deer to thrive. As they mature, deer will be able to grow impressive bodies and antlers to match, as long as there is….
Fortunately, Magnolia State hunters seeking the very best deer hunting in the nation don’t have to look far. Mississippi is considered one the best states in the nation to harvest a trophy buck. In fact, the Quality Deer Management Association’s 2016 Whitetail Report revealed that Mississippi hunters harvested a higher percentage of mature white-tailed bucks than any state that collects such data. In the report, Mississippi took the top spot with 74 percent of the bucks harvested in the 2014-15 season being 3 1/2 years old or older….
There is, arguably, nothing more majestic in the Missouri outdoors than a mature whitetail buck. The beauty and grandeur of a trophy rack is something to behold! The definition of a trophy buck is relative, I suppose. But for the purposes of this article we are talking about rocking-chair type racks. Those trophy bucks that haunt your dreams at night and keep you in the stand during the worst weather….
North Carolina’s northern-tier of trophy-belt counties proved again in 2016 they’re hot spots for wall-hanger whitetails. During the 37th Dixie Deer Classic, approximately 40 certified Boone-and-Crockett and Pope & Young scorers from across the country brought their measuring tapes to the event to score hunters’ bucks. Interestingly, 14 of 19 Tar Heel state divisional winners came from counties north of Interstate 40/85. The clear champion was Person County, which supplied six of the highest-scoring racks, including Clyde Watson’s 5×4 main-frame muzzleloader….
Each autumn a handful of Oklahoma hunters are fortunate enough to bag whitetail bucks that not only score well enough to qualify for listing in the state records, but the national record books as well. Some hunters just get lucky. We all know the type, like an acquaintance who went deer hunting for the very first time in his life down in McCurtain County a few years back. A few minutes after daylight on opening morning he downed a beautiful, wide-racked 10-pointer that scored well….
The 2017 whitetail deer antler measuring sessions conducted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) produced 186 new South Carolina state-record-book bucks. Of this number 172 were scored as typical racks and 14 as non-typical. A minimum size for entry in the state record book is a 125 Boone & Crockett score for typical and 145 for non-typical antlers. Charles Ruth, Deer and Turkey Project Supervisor for SCDNR, says he felt that overall the 2016 hunting season, which produced the bulk of the antlers….
The Volunteer State is not known as being one of the top trophy deer destinations in the country. Hunters looking to tag a trophy often travel to Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois or neighboring Kentucky. So obviously it took the deer hunting community quite by surprise when Stephen Tucker harvested a monstrously freakish 47-point world record buck in Sumner County last season. It just goes to prove that while Tennessee may not have the numbers of trophy class bucks as some other states, the state has the….
Texas deer hunting is known across the country for producing trophy bucks in both quantity and quality. And while many folks typically picture the Lone Star State as being a land primarily under high fence, there are huge bucks taken each year on low-fenced lands. Many of those bucks are taken on tracts that may span only a few hundred acres. That’s downright tiny when compared to places like the King Ranch and a few other hunting hotbeds that are larger than some….
As a fuzz-cheeked sports reporter many years ago in Martinsville, I asked the sports editor if I might write about outdoors events in Bulletin Country. Anxious to keep me around because of a paltry salary, he agreed (and I needed the writing experience). That fall and winter I was stunned by the wall-hanger bucks local deer hunters brought to the office on Broad Street. Because Commonwealth whitetails weren’t publicized and almost none lived where I was raised in central North Carolina (the Dixie Deer Classic wouldn’t appear for eight years), southern Virginia’s Blue Ridge bucks looked like they’d stepped out of Midwest….
Carrying on longstanding traditions, stocking the freezer with meat and being a vital part of game management are all significant components of deer hunting. But the prospect of taking a wallhanger is what really gets most hunters’ blood pumping. When it comes to such exceptional creatures, the Mountain State is well represented, with 95 bucks meeting the qualifications of the state’s Big Buck Certification Program last season by reaching a minimum of 125 inches typical or 155 inches non-typical for bows and crossbows, and 140 inches or 165 inches, respectively, for muzzleloaders and….