The Dixie Deer Classic once again lured to Raleigh thousands of sportsmen, sportswomen and youngsters, but more important, it lured in hundreds of great bucks to the big-buck contest, including five that qualified for the Boone & Crockett Club's all-time record book.

The March 2-4 event was the highlight of the season for hunters, and the highlight of the 3-day event, which drew 23,000 people to the N.C. State Fairgrounds, was the big-buck contest.

Click here to see a photo gallery showing many of the bucks that were entered into the scoring session.

North Carolina hunters, as anticipated, posted a strong showing. Two bucks from the Tarheel State qualified for the B&C record book, and a North Carolina hunter took a record-book non-typical from Ohio. Also, a Virginia hunter won Best in Show honors with a Boone & Crockett bow kill from just across the state line and another Virginia hunter presented a muzzleloader buck that made the book.

What made this year's show so special was the number of quality entries. Dozens of deer barely were edged out - some by the length of a part of a pinky finger - in the many divisions of the big-deer contest. For the second-straight year, North Carolina produced a truckload of magnificent 8-point bucks, many scoring in the 150 range and a couple sliding up the scale into the 160s.

The show's most impressive buck was downed by Chad Coley of South Hill, Va. Coley's buck had a nearly-perfect 5x5 rack and qualified for the B&C all-time list with a net score of 173 4/8 inches. It was his second B&C qualifier.

Todd Lowe of Mocksville, who moved to North Carolina from Ohio seven years ago, returned to the Buckeye last September and killed a huge buck on Sept. 27.

"I always hunted other places because they had harvested corn," he said. "This time, the corn was on the ground at this other place I like, so I hunted there."

At that special spot, Lowe slammed an arrow into a main-frame 8-pointer that sported 20 non-typical points, the abnormals totaling an amazing 102 1/8 inches. The stunning rack topped out at 224 4/8 inches of antler and easily qualified for Boone-and-Crockett status. According to Lowe, the buck will rank as the No. 3 bow kill ever in Ohio.

Dustin Reamey of Chase City, Va., made the Boone & Crockett Club's all-time record book with a non-typical he killed with a muzzleloader that scored 212 7/8.

The two North Carolina trophies were both great typicals. Ronald Collins of Belews Creek and Jeff Hamilton of Pilot Mountain dropped their trophies last fall, with Collins popping a 170 5/8-inch Rockingham County buck with a rifle and Hamilton using a muzzleloader to down a 170-inch Surry County beauty.

Doug Malinowski of Burlington captured the non-typical archery award for his Orange County buck that scored 165 7/8 points. The buck scores as North Carolina's second largest in both typical and non-typical categories.

Steve Shaw's Alamance County 18-pointer, which sported six drop tines, captured the muzzleloader non-typical category at 180 3/8 inches.

In the youth category, Austin Shelton's 149 6/8 Caswell buck topped the muzzleloader category, while Daniel Miller downed the top bow buck, 125 3/8 inches, from Rockingham County. Hunter Webb's great 144 3/8 Scotland County buck led the gun division.

Robert Powell topped the adult non-typical gun division with his 177 5/8-inch Wake County monster. Kenneth Nance's 143 1/8 buck from Stokes County led the crossbow non-typical class while Louisburg's William Smyers led the crossbow typical with his 146 4/8 whitetail.

David Gardner found a skull that sported 148 4/8 inches of antlers in Lee County during December 2011 that led the Non-Hunting category, while Joseph Baldwin led the Physically Challenged hunters with a Durham County 123-inch buck.

Teena Koury of Burlington won the Female Muzzleloader class with a 129-inch Person County buck. Haley Price of China Grove topped the female archery division with a 120 1/8-inch in-velvet Forsyth County buck that's the biggest deer ever taken in velvet by a female North Carolina bowhunter.

Meanwhile, Donna Clifton of Linden popped a Harnett County 149 2/8 trophy to take the Female Gun category.