A huge Ohio buck killed by a McDowell County hunter and a handful of great bucks from the Piedmont, including two Boone and Crockett Club monsters, highlighted the 34th annual Dixie Deer Classic that ended on Sunday, March 2, at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh.
Gary Stevens of Marion won Best in Show for his entry of an enormous 11-point typical buck taken on Jan. 1 in Adams County, Ohio. The buck grossed better than 200 inches and netted 185 5/8, easily qualifying for the Boone & Crockett Club’s all-time record buck and placing among the biggest typicals ever scored at the DDC.
“I’ve been going up to Ohio for 15 years, but I changed places this year and went to Adams County; it was my very first hunt up there,” Stevens said. “A landowner up there, Larry Baldwin, put me up in his cabin, and I hunted his farm. I was in a ladder stand at 11:15 a.m. when this buck walked up.”
Stevens downed the buck with one shot from a .50-caliber Knight MK-85 muzzleloader. His huge buck had a double brow tine on its right antler that accounted for quite a few of the 17 or so points of deductions.
The first two Boone and Crockett archery kills in North Carolina history also won big awards. John Tuttle’s Rockingham County buck, taken Oct. 1 and scored Dec. 1 at 171 7/8 typical points, was the top typical buck taken by an in-state bowhunter. Tim Watkins’ huge Stokes County buck, which was the state archery record for the two weeks from the time he killed it on Sept. 18 and the day Tuttle killed his buck, won a President’s Award for his 170 1/8-inch buck.
Cody Caviness of Asheboro brought in the biggest typical North Carolina buck taken by gun, a 165 6/8-inch buck killed Dec. 13 in Randolph County. The biggest in-state typical taken by muzzleloader was a 155 2/8-inch buck taken in Stokes County by Norris Langford, and the best typical in-state buck taken by a crossbow was Matthew Alcon’s 152 2/8-inch 8-pointer from Alamance County.
The biggest non-typical that showed up in Raleigh was a 187 4/8-inch, 15-point whopper taken Oct. 26 in Robeson County by Fuller Locklear. The buck had a base 5x5 frame with three stickers on its right beam and two on its left.
“I’d hunted this buck for three years,” Locklear said. “I had his sheds from last year, and I didn’t think he’d grow that much, but he had a drop tine on his right antler (in 2012).”
Aaron Bates of Wadesboro had the biggest non-typical bow-kill at the show, a 165 2/8-inch Anson County buck he took on Sept. 21. The main-frame 5x6 had split brown tines on both beams, a huge drop tine on its left beam and a handful of other, shorter sticker points.
The best non-typical crossbow buck was a 167 7/8-inch Yadkin County buck taken by Todd Lowe of Mocksville, a 2012 DDC award winner for a huge non-typical archery buck taken in Ohio.
Donna Shaver of New London had the biggest buck taken by a female hunter in North Carolina, a 150 4/8-inch 10-pointer killed with a muzzleloader in Stanly County on Nov. 11. Lisa Dunlow won for the best typical gun kill by a female, a 10-point Bertie County buck that scored 132. Lynsey Koury of Burlington had the best non-typical bow kill by a female, a 128 5/8-inch buck. Samantha Evans’ 129 6/8-inch Guilford County buck was the best non-typical by gun by a female.
Holden Northcutte walked away with the top typical taken by a male youth, a 138 4/8-inch buck from Hertford County. Alden Patterson’s 135 7/8-inch Orange County buck was the best typical muzzleloader buck taken by a youth male. Erica Patterson had the best crossbow buck taken by a youth with a 138 7/8-inch Rockingham County buck. Two more young ladies took divisions: Nichole Preddy for a 114 7/8-inch buck that was the top youth typical entry; and Hanna Justice, whose 107 1/8-inch Hertford County buck was the top typical by bow taken by a youth.