Florida Buck-of-the-Year Contest

(2014 Buck of the Year Winners)

#1 - Polk County produces Buck of the Year!

It was a cold, frosty morning when I slipped my kayak into the marsh on Jan. 19. I was heading for a treestand set up on the edge of the marsh.

I could walk through the woods to get there, but figured the more stealthy approach would be by water. As I slid through the water I found myself thinking about what a beautiful morning it was and how it would be a good day for duck hunting. A cold front had just passed and probably brought in some new birds.

I hadn’t done much duck hunting thus far because I couldn’t get my mind off the big buck I had been seeing on my trail camera photos.

Every chance I had I was deer hunting. It all started three years ago when I saw a big buck running across a small pasture in 2011.

In the spring of 2012 I found an awesome shed antler that I almost couldn’t believe came from around here. Then I set up a couple of stands in the area with feeders.

My father, Ron Allen, also hunts with me, and we set up a stand and feeder for him also. We were getting trail camera photos at his stand as well.

Shortly after that I started getting pictures of a great 10-point. Most of the photos were coming from where I had a double ladder stand set up for my wife, Tracy. However, we only got one photo of him during daylight hours, and he was with a doe.

Tracy and I spent a lot of time in the stand looking for this buck. We live close by and can be in the stand within an hour of leaving our house.


During the 2012-13 season we never got a glimpse of “Tracy’s deer” as we started to call him. I did manage to get my first deer with a bow from the ground when I arrowed a nice doe during archery season on a spot and stalk hunt.

Along with Tracy’s stand, I had a climber and a lock-on stand that I use. The lock-on stand was set on the edge of the marsh in a travel area.

In October, during the 2013 archery season, I was in this stand when I looked up and saw the tips of antlers moving through the palmettos. It was the big buck we were calling “Tracy’s deer!” He was coming along the edge of the marsh and looking very big!

I was not sure of the range, because I didn’t have my range finder. I practice a lot at 50 yards in my backyard – not that I want to shoot that far – but I find it makes a 30-yard shot seem easy.

I shoot a Matthews Z7 that Tracy got me for my birthday, and I figured I should be able to nail him at 50 yards.

He looked that close. Maybe it was just because he was so big. The arrow left the bow looking so pretty, but then it dropped right in front of him!

The deer didn’t spook. Instead, he just turned around and came back in front of me. I nocked another arrow, figuring it was about 50 yards again, because I have missed at that range despite all of my practice.

It turned out he was 70 yards away. My second arrow dropped right under him, and he just walked away back where he had come.

I felt sick! You know the feeling when you are thinking, “I should have done this or that.” Whatever. I missed!

Shortly after that happened I did some more scouting and came to an area where I could smell the pine sap in the air as I walked in because there were so many trees rubbed down.

The deer was definitely spending a lot of time here. I figured it was his core area and knew I had to be careful not to spook him. I always watched the wind whenever I hunted this area by setting up a small chair blind.

The first time I sat there in the early morning it was barely cracking dawn, and I caught a whiff of deer. There is no mistaking that odor. I could not see him, but I could smell him. He was that close! It was just too thick in there to see him.

The area I hunt is private property in Polk County. I have been blessed to have a friend and good hunting buddy, Tim Torgersen, who lets me hunt on his land. Tim doesn’t deer hunt much, but if a duck or dove comes by in range, they are in trouble. He is a good shot.

On this wonderfully-cold Jan. 19 morning, I had gotten up plenty early to hunt and tried to get Tracy up to join me. She doesn’t like mornings as much as I do and told me it was too cold for her to go.

I didn’t argue with her because I wanted to go to the lock-on stand where I had missed the big buck instead of sitting in the double ladder stand with her.

It was cold with no wind. I was sitting in the stand at about 7:30 a.m. with the steam from my breath rising straight up when a nice young buck come in on my right from behind me.

I am not a trophy hunter. I am a deer hunter. But when you know a buck like “Tracy’s buck” walks in the woods you are hunting, you can quickly turn into a “trophy hunter.” That is why I let the youngster keep walking.

Then, at about 8:05 a.m., I saw the “big ‘un” coming in on the same trail as the smaller buck had used.

When I first saw him he was just five yards away (GULP!). I let him walk past me before I picked up the .270 Ruger and shot him at 15 yards.

I have killed quite a few deer in my time, but never anything like this monster! It was a very rewarding hunt and the perfect end to three years of chasing this particular buck.

The big 10-point has such long main beams and is very symmetrical. He scored 149-1/8 inches gross and had only 2-7/8 inches of deductions to score 146-2/8 inches net. I still can’t believe this deer came from this area!

In closing, I’d like to thank my friend Tim for letting me hunt and for being my friend. I would also like to thank my wife, Tracy, for sleeping in! Just kidding. I really thank her for hunting with me and allowing me to hunt all the time.

Thank you Lord!


#2 - Rodney Tyre’s Hamilton County buck takes #2 spot

Rodney Tyre of Jasper, Florida killed the #2 highest-scoring buck taken in Florida last season the Friday before Thanksgiving – just 2-1/2 weeks after seeing him for the first time.

“I did not have a treestand set up at that spot, but I had been feeding deer there for about three years,” Rodney said. “I went there to look around and saw him during muzzleloading season.

“He was standing at the far end of the food plot, but there was no way to attempt a shot on him at that distance (250 yards) with a muzzleloader,” Rodney stated. “two days later I had a stand there and started hunting this particular deer during opening week of the season. “I really hunted that stand hard – in the mornings and afternoons – the week before Thanksgiving, but didn’t see him again until that Wednesday.

“I didn’t see him on Thursday, but then I killed him Friday morning at 8:10 a.m. I actually killed a cull buck from 165 yards at 7:45 a.m. that same morning, and then this big buck came in chasing a doe at 8:10 a.m.,” Rodney said. “After shooting the small 165 lb. cull buck, I was trying to decide if I wanted to get down or not. My wife texted me, and that may have been what kept me in the stand those extra 10 minutes.

“I was just about to get down when I looked up and saw him come running across the corner of the plot chasing the doe. She brought him right to me,” rod- ney said.

“I hollered to stop him, but I had to really holler at him to get him to stop. He slammed on the brakes, and stopped behind a bush with his head and neck sticking out. You couldn’t have posed a mannequin more perfect than he posed for me because I always go for the neck shot or high shoulder,” Rodney added. He made a 60-yard shot with his Browning .270 rifle that piled the big buck up within only 25 yards.

When he got home, Rodney hung the smaller buck up first and told his son and wife he had missed the other one.

“My son has an 8-point, 9-point and a 10-point on the wall, and later I told him he could fit any of his racks on the inside of mine. of course, he didn’t believe me at first,” Rodney said. “this is definitely the biggest 8-point I’ve ever seen.”

“The rut occurs a bit later in this area of the state, and this buck was really covering a lot of ground. He was working a 3- to 4-mile radius during the rut. I never got a game camera photo of him, but a friend of mine got a photo of him on his camera 1-1/2 miles away at 5:30 a.m. another friend got a photo of him about 3/4 of a mile away,” Rodney said.

“He was an absolutely enormous buck,” Rodney said, adding that the massive 8-point weighed 200 lbs. even. “We take care of our deer. We have food plots, we put out some high protein in the spring and keep feeders out year- round. If you provide food, water and bedding areas, they will hang around pretty close,” Rodney said.

“I was very fortunate. everyone knows there is a lot of luck in hunting. the skill part comes in when you decide where and when to put the stand and when it comes down to the actual shot,” he added.

“We also try to manage our deer herd. If a buck doesn’t have a brow tine on both sides, we will kill him. We’ve done that for the past eight years,” Rodney said.


#3 - Jackson County produces #3 buck

Michael McPhaul of Chattahoochee, Florida hunted private property in Jackson County on Jan. 22, 2014 to take the third highest-scoring typical taken during the 2013-14 season. Michael’s 11-point buck scored 143-1/8 inches (147-7/8 inches gross) and had 3-4/8 inches in deductions, thanks in part to a small extra point (1- 2/8 inches) on the right antler.

Michael’s 205 lb. buck had 22-inch main beams, 5-1/8 and 6-4/8-inch brow tines, 8-inch G2s, 8-4/8-inch G3s and 6-3/8-inch G4s, as well as a 17-5/8-inch inside spread. The 205 lb. buck was taken with a .308 rifle.

“After the shot, he got away from me for a little while. I hit him good, and the bullet went all the way through, but it was a little behind his ribs on the left side,” Michael said. “After he ran off I waited a little while. About an hour later me and a friend were looking for him when the buck jumped up and my friend shot him in the head with a .22 to finish him off,” Michael added.

Michael killed the buck during an afternoon hunt near Altha, Florida.

“It was about 5 p.m. – just an hour or so before dark – and I got him just as he was crossing a lane,” Michael stated.

“We never saw this buck before. In fact we had never seen one like it. This is the biggest buck I‘ve ever killed. I am 60, and I have been hunting since I was 20 years old,” Michael added.


#4 - Levine kills 142-7/8-inch buck in Leon Co. backyard

Jack Levine, Jr. hunted 50 years in Minnesota, but never killed a buck like the one that he got in his own Tallahassee, Florida backyard on Dec. 12, 2013.

The unbelievable 8-point buck finished as the #4 overall typical in the Florida Buck of the Year contest with a net score of 142-7/8 (148-1/8 gross).

“When I moved down here I never had hunted public land before, so I just put a feeder in the back corner of our property and put a stand about 30 yards back into the woods in my backyard,” Jack said. “I can’t walk more than about 300 yards and really can’t carry a stand anymore. I also don’t hunt in the mornings – only afternoons.”

“I have access to 20 acres across the street and was hunting it six weeks after sur-gery on my hand. The day I shot this buck I asked my surgeon if I could shoot, and he told me no. I couldn’t cock my crossbow, so I figured my smoke pole wouldn’t kick that much. I just wanted to sit in the woods. I put two pellets in my muzzleloader and was there about 10 minutes when five does came into a little plot I turn up every year,” Jack said.

“Right after the does came in, I saw a buck. All I saw was a big rack. He was nice enough to stop for me. When the smoke cleared I saw it knocked him down right there,” Jack added.

“I used some Throw & Gro and Deer Cane. I put out some minerals and freshened it up once. I drag it once a year and get just enough clover to get them to come in. I have a kiddie pool in a dry pond I keep full of wa-ter,” Jack explained.

“I am sold on my Traditions Pursuit now. I was 0 for 2 on that gun before this. I ripped off the scope and practiced in the yard to find I was doing much better with the fiber-optic sights than with the scope. I made the shot from about 40 yards. He weighed 200 lbs., so I had to have my buddy come over to clean it for me because I was one-handed.

Jack, who practiced taxidermy for 25 years, said a leftover form from Minnesota fit the buck perfectly when he mounted it.

“It took me three weeks to do what usually takes three days, but I did it myself. I’ve got 12 nice bucks on my wall and killed one per year since I was 16. This is a very nice deer, especially for an 8-point.

“I wouldn’t go back up north to hunt for nothing. It is too cold, and I believe the bucks down here grow just as much bone. I see more game here than up there anyway,” he added.


#5 - Gregg Eason’s ‘Captain Hook’ is #5 overall

Toward the end of archery season back in 2009 I found myself in a familiar position atop my ladder stand with a compound bow across my lap. I still had about 15 minutes before there would be enough daylight to consider finding a deer in front of the two-pin sight aperture of my bow.

I love this time of the morning – just before the birds begin to sing – as it is a favorite time for leery bucks to sneak back to their bedrooms.

This particular season had already brought blessings our way, and I was determined to put my son on the next deer, as the brother/sister rotation was now in his favor. The only problem was he did not come with me on this particular hunt.

Most hunters know when guiding your children, that if they do not come along, you are guaranteed to see a nice deer. Sure enough, here he came! It was light enough for me to make out a rack on this unfamiliar deer. Although he was very young, he still had a noticeable crab claw and small inward hook at the end of his left main beam.

This buck walked directly below my stand and stopped, pausing a few moments as he contemplated his next step. I remember this moment of indecision being a remarkable time stamp upon my then 25 years of hunting whitetails.

The decision was made to “pass.” I must admit, this had rarely occurred before. The desire for my son to harvest a buck had overridden my own wants, so I watched as he slowly walked back into the thicket.

I went home and told my son about my encounter. I was glad to see his excitement, and now that he was fully rested after sleeping in, Zach was ready for the afternoon hunt. Suddenly, his older sister wanted to know when it would be her turn again!

For the next three months we hunted this deer without so much as a sighting. Then, on Jan. 11, 2010, I found myself once again hunting alone on what was most likely the last hunt of the year.

As the north wind slowly began to relax and the sun began setting behind the large oak trees to my west, I saw not one, but two bucks materialize in the roadway. As they began to feed, I noticed the second buck was the one I passed up during archery season.

Oh, how I wished one of the kids were with me! Then reality sank in, and I decided I would attempt to harvest one of the bucks myself. My intent was to take the buck we had now dubbed “Captain Hook,” but he never presented me with a shot, so I harvested the other buck.

I never dreamed it would be more than a year before I would see “Capt. Hook” again. He obviously spent the 2010-11 hunting season somewhere else, as I never even captured a trail camera photo of him.

At first, I convinced myself his “Houdini Act” was due to the timbering work around me and all the heavy equipment operation. In addition, most of the old growth that makes a deer feel comfortable traveling to and fro was replaced with newly-planted pine trees.

I began wondering if Capt. Hook had wandered unto one of the neighboring dog-hunting clubs or, worse yet, been killed by an automobile. As time passed, I began to convince myself Capt. Hook had learned a valuable lesson witnessing the loud rifle blast which took out his end-of-the-year buddy the previous season. It’s mystifying how a white-tailed deer can overtake one’s imagination, and all the disappearance possibilities become nightmares.

Late in August of 2011, we were in the deer woods pulling camera cards to assess the season’s potential. We conduct this ritual several times a month to keep up with what’s moving on the property and to ensure no two-legged creatures are crawling around.

It’s always exciting as you wait for the computer to warm up and read the newly-ac-quired photos from the game camera. To be honest, I had almost removed Capt. Hook from my memory bank (not really) when to my surprise he appeared on the screen.

I remember shouting, “He’s still alive!” to my family who were standing just over my shoulder. Wow, had he ever grown! He was sporting a newly-rubbed-out rack that was glistening in the night air. I could identify the tell-tale crab claw and the small inward hook which was only visible when he stood broad-side and looked straight ahead.

The small hooks had multiplied and were now on his G-4’s and main beam – however slight. The obsession had begun. Oh, how thrilled I was that he was still running around!

You can only imagine how the 2011- 12 hunting season went. Everything seemed to revolve around the next opportunity to be in the woods. We captured hundreds, if not thousands, of trail photos of Capt. Hook, but not a single one during daylight hours.

Capt. Hook was truly “Mr. Nocturnal,” and all of the long hours of sitting in the stand in anticipation of him showing up never materialized. We did however enjoy watching him via trail cameras. He shed his first antler on Feb. 21 and the next one the following day. We searched hard, but never found them.

The 2012-13 hunting season arrived, and I watched as Capt. Hook grew his antlers covered in velvet, rubbed out in late August and dawned his new, darker and more impressive rack.

It was not until Jan. 6, 2013 (a Sunday morning) that I got the first daytime photograph of Capt. Hook. By now he must have been stalking me, as he somehow knew I was attending church as he stood broadside 70 yards from my stand as if posing for the camera! But, that was all we saw of him for another hunting season. No shot, no sightings, only photos taken at night.

We had to endure months of waiting on end, knowing this deer was now at least 5-1/2 years old – maybe even older – and time was running out.

The 2013 season was the same story as the year before, except we got our next daytime photograph earlier in the form of a present on Christmas Day.

Capt. Hook appeared alongside two does at 5:40 p.m., according to my trusty trail camera, while I was at home celebrating the birth of Christ with my family. When I saw the daytime photograph two days later, I was actually disappointed, as I knew the odds of Capt. Hook showing himself again this season were heavily against me.

The first weekend of January 2014 was one that brought exceptionally-low temperatures to north central Florida (called the “Polar Vortex”). I remember hearing the forecasted low temperatures reaching the low 20’s. For a seventh-generation Floridian, that’s really, really cold!

I was spent and had actually considered throwing in the towel. I had hunted 44 previous “sets” (as we like to call them) that season, and the 45th did not seem very inviting.

On Jan. 6, the good Lord shined His blessings upon me. The afternoon work schedule cleared up, and I began feeling the rush and excitement of one more hunt.

I called my best buddy in the whole world, Big John, to discuss my plans. He’s one of a kind and always offers a word of encouragement. He said, “If you’re ever going to get him, today will be the day.” Big John was one of the few outside my immediate family that I shared my secret with. I made my way to the woods around 3 p.m. and slipped into the ground blind. The added cover helped me to stay slightly warmer, but it was really cold.

My grandfather’s rifle (a Browning .30- 06 I inherited) was leaned up against the corner of the blind. At 5:30 p.m. the first deer appeared as a flash across my blind window. She had sprinted across the road from my left to right. A few moments later I learned why she was running.

Mrs. Matriarch doe was pushing her away from the area, as she wanted it all to herself, going as far as to kick her with her front hooves. I had watched this doe as long as I had watched Capt. Hook. She had a small white patch on her side – as her grand-mother was piebald and her mother was colored normally.

When I saw her, my heart began beating much faster than normal because the Christmas photo showed Capt. Hook along-side of her, and I believed he had to be close by. Seconds seemed like minutes as I sat on total alert trying to gather my senses. Finally, at 5:42 p.m., Capt. Hook appeared.

He looked like a monster! His rack seemed even larger, as his skinny, late-season frame had dropped enough weight to reveal his hips and ribs.

I could not believe it. After all these years, there he finally was! But, then he disappeared into the woods!

Fervent prayer followed. From the years of trail camera photos, I knew he was probably circling around to see if I was in the blind. Capt. Hook did this often – many times just moments after I would leave my stand. I knew if he did it now, I would be busted.

I could not even entertain the dismay I would feel. When I opened my eyes, there he was standing broadside at 70 yards. I quickly leveled my rifle and tried hard to control my breathing, focus and get a good sight picture - all the things I learned in the Marines, but it didn’t work. I was beside myself.

I had to start all over, get my gun back up and try again. As I pulled the trigger, I remembered my friend’s encouragement, my grandfather’s smile and all the countless hours we spent hunting Capt. Hook. It was a fitting end as I watched the big buck fall in his tracks.

This all took place within 30 yards of the first-ever encounter I had with Capt. Hook in 2009 – about 10 yards from where I had shot a buck directly in front of him in 2010 –and exactly a year from the day I captured his second daytime picture ever in 2013.

Some will read this and not believe a wild deer in Florida could live this long, especially when you throw in the hunting pressure from surrounding clubs.

If I had not seen it myself, I would not believe it either. It’s remarkably true, and I feel really blessed to have harvested such a trophy – which is a trophy as much as a result of the pursuit of him as it is from anything else. Happy Hunting!


#6 - Jonathan Pfau takes #6 Typical

Jonathan Pfau from Bay County, Florida took this awesome 195 lb. buck with a Browning .243 rifle on Jan. 24, 2014 at 3:45 p.m.

Jonathan’s buck scored 148-7/8 inches gross and 140-7/8 net when it was scored by the FWC, making it the #6 overall highest-scoring typical taken in Florida last season.

He killed this buck while still hunting in G.W. Hobbs Moccasin Creek dog Hunting Club located in Youngstown, Florida (Bay County).

His father-in-law dropped him off at the stand, and within 15 minutes this nice 11-point showed up. This deer was Jonathan’s second buck since he began hunting in 2012!

The G.W. Hobbs Moccasin Creek dog Hunting Club has a long tradition of deer management that allows trophy deer like this to reach maturity.

Jonathan’s buck sported a rack with 22-inch main beams, a 6-inch brow tine, 7-inch G2s, 7-5/8-inch G3s, as well as 6-inch G4s.

The buck had a 16-5/8-inch in- side spread, but scored high due to its impressive mass – measuring 5 inches around at the bases and 4 inches in cir- cumference in between the other points.

If not for 8 inches in deductions for differences between the two sides, the buck may have claimed the top spot in the “Buck of the Year” contest.


#7 - Bruce Layne’s Walton Co. Buck is #7

by Bruce Layne Navarre, Florida

Last year was a great season for me. I’ve hunted in Natural Bridge Hunt Club outside of Florala, Alabama for the last several years. Our hunting property is located in Florida and Alabama, but due to the price of out- of-state licenses, I only hunt the Florida side.

In late April last year I started working on a summer food plot to hold deer on this awesome secluded little patch of earth I found located just off some well-used trails leading into a swampy area.

First, I used Round Up to kill a 25x35 foot oval plot. My son and I raked out the spot a couple of weeks later and worked in an early-season mix of lablab, iron clay peas, soy- beans and red clover. With the help of Stew, I put up a 22-foot ladder stand about 20 yards off the plot, threw up a trail camera and left it to grow. I went back at the end of May to find trail camera photos of a few bucks just starting to grow antlers.

This is when I first saw “The Man.” He had good thick bases I thought would grow into a nice rack. I tried to stay out of the area as much as possible, continuing to check the camera once a month, but never saw him again until mid-August.

That is when I saw he had indeed grown into “The Man”.

My hunting buddy Ray and I used a little gas tiller to mow down the summer plot before planting rye, oats, winter peas and a few varieties of clover for fall/winter.

As archery season began, I hunted the spot on odd weekends when I could get to camp, but the buck had disappeared. I had several does show up on nearly every hunt, but I would never take one in hopes they would draw in the bucks.

“The Man” never showed up on cam- era again, but on the few occasions I hunted that spot, I could hear deer crossing a creek beyond my plot leading into the swamp. I did a little scouting one afternoon and found a game trail, but only a small part of it was visible from my stand – about 75 yards to the right of me through a good stand of trees.

My son played travel and high school soccer, so it was rare we could hunt together. The Christmas holidays provided us with a chance, but my wife’s birthday was four days after Christmas, and one of our good friends had planned a surprise party. We took her out for a meal as a diversion before surprising her by turning onto our friend’s street.

My son and I had all our bags packed for the hunting camp, but we knew better than to ask to leave on her birthday. After the nice afternoon party, we headed home around 6 p.m. After milling around for about half an hour, she finally looked at us and said, “Why don’t y’all just go to the camp now? Then you can get in a morning hunt tomorrow too.”

We protested for about half a second before we were on the road. We got to the camp about 9 p.m. to find it filled with folks, but quiet, as everyone had hit the sack.

At 4 a.m. Eddy and I were among the first to sign out our hunting spots on the map. Eddy was going to be about 3 miles from me across an adjacent farming property, and I headed back to my secluded hole.

The morning was quiet – no different from any other morning I had sat there. The usual does came by about 7 a.m., but then absolutely nothing moved or made a noise. I started getting bored and hungry around 9 a.m., so I stood up in my stand to stretch and texted Eddy to see how he was doing.

He texted back that all was quiet in his area also. While I was standing reading his text, I heard a little rustle to my right. Something was headed down that trail that I had only a few seconds to see before it entered in that stand of trees.

“Holy crap! What was that?” I thought as I glimpsed an antler flash that quickly disappeared behind the trees and growth. Quickly and quietly I eased back into my seat, picked up my gun and zoomed my scope all the way out to scan the area.

I caught a nose, then an eye and finally an awesome rack. He stopped right there and started feeding. I think the 10 or 15 seconds from when he stopped for a mouthful of food to when he made his final steps seemed like an eternity.

I got the safety off, controlled my breathing, and waited for a shot. I saw his neck, then the front of his shoulder, but kept waiting until I saw the sweet spot and squeezed the trigger – BANG, THWACK! I’d made the perfect shot on “The Man,” drop- ping him right where he stood. I chambered another round and kept the scope on him, but he never bucked or moved again.

A text from another hunter asked, “Did you shoot?” and I replied “I got him!”

I got out of my stand and went to claim my trophy, finding he had the biggest rack of any deer I had ever seen on any trail camera or bragging wall picture from this camp. I knew he was special. I pulled him up to the access road, then got my truck to load him.

After struggling for 10 minutes to get him in my lifted truck, I called my son and told him he had to come help – adding he had to walk to me because there was no way I was leaving this buck in the woods alone.

Begrudgingly, he came over, and we loaded him up after a small photo session and headed to camp. There were already people hanging around the skinning rack, as the texting network had been hard at work telling everyone a big deer was coming in.

I took the long victory lap to the skinning rack with all eyes upon me. It was awesome to hear all the comments as I dropped the tailgate and brought out “The Man.”

Although there were several more deer to come for me this season, he was definitely the highlight. All the time and hard work had paid off! I now have the #3 typical ever recorded in Walton County. He wasn’t the heaviest deer taken (168 lbs.), but he does have the biggest rack ever taken off the property (145 inches gross, 140-4/8 inches net).

Rifle: Remington 700 CDL 7mm Rem. MAG, Scope: Leupold VX-III 4.5-14x50mm Bullet: Hornady Custom 154-grain SST.


#8 - Madison Monster scores 148-3/8 before deductions!

Bobby Brack from Calhoun County (Adairsville), Georgia killed one of the biggest bucks taken last season on Nov. 30, 2013 when he dropped a 14-point while hunting in Madison County, Florida.

The buck sported an impressive 14-point rack that scored a whopping 148-3/8 inches gross and netted 140-2/8 inches after deductions for two abnormal points (1-inch long on each side) and 6-1/8 inches in differences between the two sides.

The 45-year-old hunter shot this bruiser buck at around 5:15 p.m. while enjoying a Thanksgiving weekend hunt with his family at the B & B Hunt Club run by the “Huntinator Crew” in Madison County, Florida.

Bobby used his Remington Model 700 .270 rifle to take the buck, which weighed 180 lbs. The big buck had 7 points on each side, with one main beam measuring 21- 1/8 inches and the other measuring 22- 1/8 inches. the inside spread measured 14-4/8 inches. deductions for differences between the tines on the two antlers resulted in over 6 inches in deductions.


#9 - Partin takes #9 typical in Alachua County

For the second time in four years, Robert “Chuck” Partin from Bronson has killed one of the top bucks in the Florida “Buck of the Year” contest. Chuck’s Alachua County 11-point finished as the #9 typical taken in Florida last season with a score of 147-2/8 inches gross and 137-2/8 inches net.

The big buck had one abnormal point (3-6/8 inches) on the right antler and 6-2/8 inches in differences between the two sides for a total of 10 inches in deductions. “It was Nov. 30, and I was supposed to be at the hospital, where my brother and sister-in-law were having their first child – which would be my first niece or nephew. I called him to tell him I wouldn’t do him any good there and instead asked my fiance if she wanted to go hunting,” Chuck said.

“I put her in the good stand, hoping she would kill her first deer. I didn’t want to get too far away, so I went to a ground blind where we keep some corn out. after about an hour some does came in to feed, and about an hour and a half before dark I heard a deer come up from behind my makeshift blind. “He actually got close enough that I could hear him circling around me. I froze, and the next thing I know I was able to ease forward a little to see him. The shot scared Diana (now my wife) half to death. I called her to tell her I shot a giant and went to get her,” Chuck said. the buck made it just 50 yards before crashing to the ground.

“We had photos of this same buck, we called him “Stickers” because of all the trash on his rack – from the first week of bow season, but then he disappeared. He finally came ‘home’ after the rut. You could tell he had been going hard because he was beaten up, scratched up and physically run down,” Chuck said.

The 11-point rack had 22 and 23-3/8-inch main beams and plenty of mass, with each base measuring 5 inches around. the G2s measured 10-5/8 and 9-5/8 inches, while the G3s were 8-2/8 and 9-5/8 inches. the rack had identical 4-inch G4s, as well as a 15-2/8-inch inside spread.

“It was a very cool day. as soon as we found the buck I called my brother, who was just about to call me and tell me that my first-ever niece had just been born,” Chuck said. Chuck killed this year’s #9 typical on the same property that produced the #1 non-typical taken in 2010-11.

That 18-point scored 170-6/8 inches, making it the 2nd-highest scoring non-typical on record for Alachua County and the 9th-largest typical taken in the state. “It was in the same general area. I’ve been very blessed to kill some big bucks there. I killed four bucks last season and three made the record books. the other was an 8-point with a ugly rack that we culled,” Chuck said.


#10 - Top Youth Buck is #10 overall!

Ten-year-old Chandler Hiers Monster 10-point ranked #10 in the 2013-14 "Buck of the Year" contest.

The Dunnellon, Florida hunter killed this 10-point the morning of Thanksgiving (Nov. 28, 2013) in Levy County, Florida. With 21-3/8-inch main beams measuring 4-4/8-inches around at the bases, an 18-inch inside spread and 11-inch G2s, the buck was scored at 141-1/8 inches gross and 136-6/8 inches net by the FWC, despite missing a G4 on the left antler.

“On my birthday (Oct. 28) my dad got me a trail camera,” Chandler said. “I put it up at my food plot, and my Papa (Buddy Hiers) and I named the three huge bucks we got photos of.

We had a 10-point we called ‘Grampa Jones,’ a 9-point named ‘Slick Willie’ and an 8-point named ‘Downtown Leroy Brown.’ Grampa Jones (the 10-point) was on the camera the very first time I checked it. He was huge!” Chandler said.

“My Papa said I would get him. One month past my birthday, on Thanksgiving morning, we went hunting early. I was half asleep, and when I woke up, there he was!

I shot him at 7:15 a.m. and called my dad to come help us look for him. My dad got there right when my Papa found him.

We finally loaded him up and showed him off. It was kind of funny, because my dad had texted me and said ‘get to looking for him’ just 15 minutes before I shot him,” Chandler said.