On Newsstands Now!


Get a copy delivered to your door every month for just $19.95 a year or $34.95 for 2 years. Click here to subscribe.

Million dollar deer!

Does the Nooner ranch in Texas have a deer worth $1Million?

With a 46-point rack and a Boone and Crockett score of 334, its hard to argue that a whitetail named Stickers isnt the biggest buck to ever consume protein in Texas. Sammy Nooner of Hondo brought Stickers home in February. Since then, fellow deer breeders have been speculating on the price tag. Some estimates involve seven figures for the 6-year-old monarch buck, whose semen fetches $4,000 to $5,000 per straw. Nooner, however, said the price is going to stay between him and the seller Tommy Dugger, one of the states top deer breeders. Its probably as high as anybodys ever paid, he said, but were not letting it out; Tommy and I have a gentlemans agreement.

Damon Thorpe, director of operations for the Texas Deer Association, said there are probably only two deer in the United States bigger than Stickers. I think you can say with confidence hes the most expensive deer ever in Texas, Thorpe said. Its not inconceivable at all to think a deer like that is worth $1 million. Dugger told the Lone Star Outdoor News it would not be accurate to say the deer sold for one million dollars. Wildlife consultant Chase Clark, who works with both Nooner and Dugger, said the biggest buck title was previously held by Jake the Dream Buck, which was owned by Dugger. Jake died of a respiratory illness in the winter of 2005, Clark said. In the meantime, Dugger acquired the up-and-comer Stickers, who was born in 2001 on the Glen Morgan ranch.

But Stickers had something else going for him, Clark said. This deer is the offspring of a doe impregnated by artificial insemination with semen from an Ohio legend named Redoy Ben. The elder whitetail, who was only about 2 years old at the time, showed a lot of potential, Clark said. Redoy Ben died that same year, also to a respiratory illness. Nevertheless, Clark said the big deers potential was realized through his son, Stickers. It wasnt until October of 2006 that a tape was put on those antlers, Clark said of Stickers headgear. Now Stickers represents the ultimate in the Texas deer breeding industry.

Nooner, a South Texas gasoline distributor, is also known for the quality dove hunts he offers from his base in Medina County. We just wanted to help the genetics, he said. It was fun just trying to see how big a deer could grow. But Nooner may be on the verge of seeing his profits grow as well. Lets assume he did pay $1 million for the deer, Thorpe said. All he has to do is sell 200 straws to get his money out of him. You can easily get that in a year, and do it safely. But despite his pedigree, Nooner and Clark agree theres nothing uppity about Stickers. Some deer are more nervous than others, Clark said. They dont do well in breeding operations. But Stickers is pretty laid back. He's great at posing for the camera.