New No. 2 Blackpowder Buck!

New No. 2 Blackpowder Buck!

Mike Dupell Sr. took a chance and went blackpowder deer hunting in the pouring rain. The reward for his persistence turned out to be the second largest non-typical whitetail ever taken in New York.

Mike Dupell's remarkable Hamilton County non-typical scored 176 0/8 Boone and Crockett points and is the top-scoring non-typical buck taken in 2002. Photo courtesy of Mike Dupell

By Jeff Brown

On opening day of New York's 2002 muzzleloader season, Mike Dupell Sr. left the comfort of his truck and walked in the pouring rain through the woods of Hope, unknowingly headed for an encounter with New York's top-scoring muzzleloader buck of 2002!

The 40-year-old Massachusetts resident has been deer hunting in New York for about 10 years, and for the last four years he has driven to Hamilton County to hunt New York's fabled Adirondack Mountains. In fall 2001, following a long day in the woods, the deer-hunting veteran was sitting in a restaurant enjoying a hot meal when he overheard two local hunters discussing a huge buck they had seen on nearby public land - a piece of land that Dupell had driven past many times before.

Dupell vowed to hunt that area during the 2002 muzzleloader season. Little did he know that his vow would bring him face to face with one of the biggest bucks ever taken in New York!

Fast forward to Oct. 12, opening day of the 2002 muzzleloader season. Several hours before daylight, the disappointed hunter sat in his truck beside a section of state land on the Hope-Wells border. It was raining, and not just a little light rain - it was really coming down!

Knowing that blackpowder and rain are not a good mix, Dupell decided to stay in his truck and get some sleep, hoping that the storm would let up later in the day.

Hours later, Dupell was still sitting in his truck and the rain was still coming down in buckets. He was certain that no deer would be moving. He remembered thinking that a hunter would have to be crazy to go out in this mess. As that thought crossed his mind, a doe ran across the road in front of his truck.

As Dupell watched the doe to see where she was headed, he noticed a New York Department of Environmental Conservation officer approaching. After a brief discussion, the officer encouraged Dupell to get out and do some hunting. That was just the kick in the pants he needed.

At about noon, with the rain finally letting up, Dupell headed out.


Total points16 (9R, 7L)
Greatest spreadN/A
Inside spread18 4/8
Main beams23 3/8, 22 5/8
Longest tine9 5/8
Antler bases4 5/8, 4 7/8
Abnormal points20 1/8
Gross typical155 7/8
Deductions4 3/8
Net score176 0/8


As hunters, we all know that it often takes many hours of patient still- hunting or stand-hunting to produce a deer sighting. And Dupell, a 25-year veteran deer hunter, was aware that the odds were against him. He was in a new place, it was midday, it was raining, it was almost 60 degrees, and chances were pretty good that no other hunters were out there pushing deer around. No deer would be moving this day, right? Well, experienced hunters also know that deer almost never do what we expect them to do!

After only 20 minutes in the woods, Dupell was standing in a promising-looking area. This was the general area he recalled the two old timers discussing back at that restaurant in 2001. The rain had all but stopped, and Dupell decided that this was as good as any to hunt. What a decision that turned out to be!

Dupell worked his bleat call a few times as he surveyed the rugged New York terrain. He noticed some movement in front of him, and just then a doe ran full speed up a nearby ridge and disappeared into the adjacent valley. Right behind the doe was a big-bodied, big-racked buck!

The buck was moving fast through heavy cover about 85 yards away. The distance, cover and movement made for a tough shot, but Dupell held steady and pulled the trigger. He lowered his rifle and struggled to see through the cloud of smoke, hoping to get a glimpse of the buck, but he could see nothing. He tried to walk and reload at the same time, but finally gave up on reloading and began searching for some sign of a hit.

As he got closer to where he thought the buck had been standing, Dupell could not believe his eyes. Lying dead right where he last saw him before the shot was the monster buck of his dreams.

Realizing that he had dropped the buck in his tracks, Dupell let out a yell that carried all the way back to Massachusetts! Dupell gawked at the 16-point rack and couldn't believe his great fortune. At that moment, he realized that this must have been the buck the two old-timers were discussing in the restaurant the previous fall.

He field dressed the 170-pound buck and made the short 10-minute drag back to his truck. On the drive out of the area, Dupell spotted another hunter who he believes was one of the old-timers he'd seen in the restaurant that previous fall. As he drove by, he yelled, "I got the big one!" and the old-timer waved his congratulations.

Back home, Dupell showed the buck to his son and his friends. The following Monday he brought pic

tures with him to his place of employment, where he just happens to work with Bob Fontaine, Northeast Big Buck Club membership director and co-founder.

After the 60-day drying period, Fontaine officially scored the buck for Dupell, and the results were fantastic!

The Dupell buck has 16 scoreable points - 9 right and 7 left - with a 176 0/8-inch gross Boone and Crockett score. The typical 10-point frame grossed 155 7/8 inches. The 6 abnormal points (4 right, 2 left) add 20 1/8 inches to the final non-typical score.

Most of the rack's abnormal growth comes from the brow tine area. Both brow tines are forked with 3 2/8-inch and 3 6/8-inch abnormal forks coming off the typical brow tines, which measure 7 3/8 inches and 7 6/8 inches, respectively. The right brow tine also has an S-shaped 2-inch abnormal point off the front.

On the left side, a 4 1/8-inch abnormal point comes off the main beam just after the base of the left brow.

The typical G-2s are a very impressive 9 5/8 and 9 4/8 inches, with a 3 2/8-inch abnormal sticker on the right and a 3 6/8-inch abnormal point just after the right G-2.

In addition to all of this non-typical growth, the right main beam curves downward after the G-4, giving the appearance of a very large drop time.

The rack has solid mass overall, with bases of 4 5/8 and 4 7/8 inches. The inside spread of 18 4/8 inches gives the rack an even more impressive look.

At 176 0/8 inches, this is the Northeast Big Buck Club's No. 1 muzzleloader buck from the state of New York, and ranks No. 4 overall in the Northeast for all non-typical muzzleloader entries.

According to a recent edition of the New York State Big Buck Club Records, this buck would rank No. 2 for muzzleloader bucks under its scoring system.

Neighboring states have produced some huge muzzleloader bucks. Massachusetts boasts a 180 7/8-inch 14-point non-typical taken by muzzleloader by Frank Gleason in 1997. Connecticut tops the list with a 206 3/8-inch 19-point non-typical taken by Henry Konow Jr. in 2000. Rounding out the top three is Aaron Tucker's Maine 14-pointer from the 2001 muzzleloader season, which grossed 178 5/8.

For the 2002 season, Dupell's buck is the largest non-typical muzzleloader buck that the NBBC has scored as of Jan. 15, 2003. Overall in New York, the largest buck scored by the NBBC (in all categories of gun, bow, muzzleloader) is Mike Brown's 188-inch 14-point non-typical Chautauqua County buck.

Who would have thought that a conversation overheard in 2001, a rainy morning and a brief chat with a game warden would provide the ingredients for an encounter with a new state-record muzzleloader buck!

For more information about the Northeast Big Buck Club, visit the club's Web site at; call (508) 752-8762; or write to the club at 390 Marshall St., Paxton, MA 01612.

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