For sportsmen who battled the elements to attend this past weekend’s Dixie Deer Classic, the trip was worth the effort, especially for those interested in the annual Big Buck Contest, which sent a 10-year-old Virginia boy home with its top prize.
Fisher Whitlock, 10, of Bassett, Va., won Best in Show for a 15-point non-typical buck he killed in Henry County, Va., on Nov. 11, 2014, with a blackpowder gun. The buck scored 180 2/8 points.
Although no bucks made the Boone and Crockett Club’s all-time record book, the DDC did crown a new top buck in the non-typical crossbow division, the all-time No. 2 non-typical bow kill, a top-ranked non-typical crossbow buck taken by a woman and two deer that qualified for the Longhunter Society’s record book for blackpowder kills.
But the most impressive feat belonged to Whitlock one of the Classic’s youngest hunters. While walking to their Henry County, Va., stand Nov. 11, 2014, with his father, Johnny Whitlock, the diminutive, bespectacled boy stopped and shot a .50-caliber Knight muzzle-loader and dropped a 15-point non-typical buck whose rack netted 180 2/8 Boone-and-Crockett inches. The deer won the DDC’s Best in Show and Virginia Youth Muzzleloader awards.
“It was my fifth time deer hunting with my daddy,” the boy said. “We were walking down a road when he saw the deer in the briars.”
The buck didn’t detect the hunters at 30 yards, so Fisher Whitlock sat down, flipped down a bi-pod attached to the blackpowder gun, aimed at the buck’s shoulder and pulled the trigger.
“He fell right there,” Whitlock said. “I called Momma and told her I’d killed the deer I prayed for last night.”
The buck’s rack, with only 7 6/8 inches of deductions, totaled 188 0/8 gross B&C inches.
“It’s the first non-typical muzzleloader deer I’ve put in the Longhunter Society record book,” said Hal Atkinson, a veteran Dixie Deer Classic scorer.
The state’s No. 2 archery non-typical was a Davie County buck arrowed by Todd Lowe of Mocksville last Sept. 18. It scored 175 3/8 points. Lowe’s buck trails only Brent Mabry’s 176 7/8 Halifax County non-typical taken in 2005.
Steven Davis of Welcome captured the non-typical crossbow award with a 16-point, 173 7/8-inch Davidson County monster. The new No. 1 non-typical crossbow buck, it earned one of two President’s awards given by the DDC.
Johnny Lawrence of Madison added the second Longhunter Society qualifier with a 15-point, 167 3/8-inch non-typical Rockingham buck he downed Nov. 1, 2014.
Karri Mullins, a Pinnacle housewife, went to her Stokes County tree stand last Oct. 4 and drilled a 12-point buck at 35 yards with a Barnette crossbow. The buck scored 160 4/8 net typical inches and was the top crossbow buck taken by a female hunter and the third-largest crossbow typical taken in North Carolina.
Jonathan Edwards of Marshville had put his rifle away after a morning hunt last Nov. 22 when he saw an amazing Union County buck slipping through the woods. He grabbed his stepson’s .308 and dropped the deer with one shot. The huge 8-pointer measured 156 2/8 inches and was the top typical buck entered in the contest.
John Del Papa of Raleigh arrowed a massive Wake County 8-pointer last December that measured 151 5/8 inches and earned a President’s Award.
Dustin Wrenn of Prospect Hill bagged the top typical muzzleloader buck with a 142 5/8-inch trophy he shot in Caswell County.
Donna Dean of Sanford won the female typical gun category with a 147 4/8-inch Harnett County 8-pointer whose rack had only 2 3/8 inches of deductions.
Four Oaks’ Dalton Allen captured the youth typical crossbow division with a 112 3/8 Johnston County deer.
A 156 4/8-inch rack found by Michael Allen of Brown Summit in Guilford County last January won the non-hunting non-typical category, while Kasey Ferguson of Liberty claimed the non-hunting typical division with a 152 1/8-inch Alamance County buck.
Clayton’s Terry Stewart took the youth gun typical class with a 121 4/8-inch Northampton County buck, while Graham’s Tammy Richardson grabbed female typical bow honors with a 100 4/8-inch Alamance County deer.
Adam Perkinson of Henderson shot a 162-inch Iowa buck last December that was the biggest non-typical taken by a muzzleloader from out-of-state.
Attendance was down at the Dixie Deer Classic, and that was reflected in the number of entries in the Big Buck Contest.
“We usually average 500 to 550 deer heads scored, and it’s been as high as 700,” said James Adcock, the Wake County Wildlife Club’s statistician. “We had scored a total of 360 deer (by 12:30 p.m. Sunday).
Overall attendance was estimated at about 30- to 35-percent lower.