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2012 Illinois Deer Classic - Monster Bucks & Bowhunting Friends

by Justin Zarr 25. March 2012 08:10
Justin Zarr

The 2012 Illinios Deer Classic, held in Peoria Illinois, is starting to wind down but before we pack up and head home I wanted to give you all a quick update on what you missed if you weren't here.  As always, the Peoria Civic Center was packed full of hunters looking to stock up on gear, meet new friends and check out some of the giant bucks on display.  It always amazes me how many 200+" bucks are on display here, which represents only a small fraction of the whitetails harvested in the Land of Lincoln each fall.  I would really like to see a few of the giants that never make it into the public eye.

For those of you who are going to be around Madison Wisconsin next weekend make sure you stop in and say hello.  We'll be giving away a new Mathews Heli-m bow as well as a Lone Wolf climbing treestand so you don't want to miss out!

Look for the Bowhunt or Die neon sign and you'll find us!

If you're looking for good deals on gear, the Deer Classics are the place to be.

This officially wins the "Creepiest Mount" award.  Who actually mounts their dog???

Our buddy Dorge with Firenock is always eager to show off his new products.

My favorite mount of the whole show.  What a giant!

Looking for a unique way to display your European mount?  Check out Dutch Fork trophy plaques.  Very cool!

Our cameraman/editor Brandyn Streeter was on hand to shoot interviews with a lot of the exhibitors.  Stay tuned to the New Products section of for videos in the next few weeks.

Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of the new Mathews Heli-m and Epic Cam on display.

She loves her rack!  Check out the Pink Rack Project when you get a chance.  A great cause helping to fight breast cancer.

Todd & Richie post with the lucky winners of a new Can Cooker.

Todd signing an autograph for a Bowhunt or Die fan.  Thanks for stopping by!

Can you tell I love giant 8 points?  What a stud!

Got junk?

The mass on this deer is unreal.

If I ever shoot a 240" whitetail, I'll get a full body mount too.

Another 200+.

"Sweetness", the buck Todd was chasing for 3 seasons.  He offically scores just over 212" net NT.  What a giant!

The new world record 9 point, along with a few other 'impressive' bucks.

My 2nd favorite mount in the show.  This photo doesn't even do it justice.  This is an incredible deer and a great mount.

This deer is scored as a typical 8 point frame with junk still nets over 200" non-typical.  Amazing.  AND it was shot by a 12 year old kid.  Pretty impresive, eh?

Another shot of my favorite buck.  He looks incredible.

Our buddy Byron Ferguson stopped by to say hi.  He's an amazing shot!

Former UFC Heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia stopped by and showed Richie whats up after a little smack talk.

Wisconsin Buck Leaps to Death from Highway Overpass

by Patrick Durkin 30. December 2011 04:41
Patrick Durkin


When Al Rinka and his highway construction coworkers spotted a huge white-tailed buck crossing a field south of Marshfield, Wis., during their lunch break Dec. 8, they didn’t realize they were watching a dead buck walking.

Lane Wetterau of Stevens Point, Wis.; Aaron Seit, Wisconsin Rapids; Al Rinka, Osseo; and Dave Katzner, Arpin; pose with a giant white-tailed buck that leaped to its death from a bridge over an unopened section of U.S. Highway 10 south of Marshfield.

About an hour later, the buck walked up the embankment to the Washington Avenue bridge 1.5 miles away, leaped off and died on a concrete slab 34 feet below. The buck apparently panicked as a car approached, and jumped over the bridge’s parapet without realizing its height from the ground. The momentum from its leap carried the buck about 30 feet from the bridge’s base, where it landed head first.

The concrete below had been poured recently as part of the U.S. Highway 10 reconstruction, and isn’t yet open to traffic. A foreman for the road-grading crew called Rinka to tell him and his coworkers about the freak accident. When they heard the location, the men realized they had built that section of highway, and still referred to it as “our slab.”

This trophy buck leaped off the highway overpass in the background. The bridge's height is 34 feet.

When Rinka and his friends -- Lane Wetterau, Stevens Point; Aaron Seit, Wisconsin Rapids; and Dave Katzner, Arpin -- arrived to see the dead buck, they instantly recognized it as the one they had seen during lunch.

“We’re big hunters, and we all hunt anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour from there, but we saw nothing like that buck during gun season,” said Rinka, a civil engineer from Osseo. “We were amazed to see it crossing a field in broad daylight. It was opening day of the (four-day) antlerless hunt, so maybe some hunters pushed it out. We watched about 10 minutes before we lost sight of him. It’s a huge field.”

Rinka said he and his coworkers noticed the buck had a slight limp. They thought maybe a front leg was injured, but found no wounds or breaks when examining it later. The buck apparently landed on its nose, because nothing else on its body appeared broken, and its antlers weren’t damaged.

Rinka said an elderly woman who lives near the bridge was driving the car that spooked the buck. She told them the buck was standing in the middle of the road as she approached. It could have run down the road to get off the bridge, but jumped over the side instead.

Al Rinka of Osseo, Wis., displays the impressive buck that survived Wisconsin's nine-day firearms season in November, only to die 10 days later in a freak accident.

The woman stopped and looked over the bridge, and saw the buck writhing on the pavement in its death throes. She drove home and told her neighbor, who is a hunter. He notified authorities and received a tag so he could claim the buck.

Rinka and his friends marveled at the buck’s antlers. “As much as all of us hunt, and after all the time we’ve spent in the woods, here we were staring at probably one of the biggest bucks we’ll ever see, and it jumped off a bridge,” he said.

The buck had a 12-point rack with wide beams and thick tines. Rinka said the tallest tines were about 9 inches long, and the spread between the main beams spanned 18 inches. They guessed it would score 150 to 170 inches on the Boone and Crockett Club’s measuring system.

The buck's flying leap carried it about 10 yards from the base of the bridge.

He said the buck had a smaller body than what they expected. Then again, it’s not unusual for a buck’s body to look small, even emaciated, in the weeks following “the rut,” the whitetail’s mating season. Rutting bucks can lose about 25 percent of their body weight while seeking and chasing does. This buck weighed 180 pounds when it died, so it might have weighed around 240 pounds when alive.

In the days that followed, some people jokingly referred to the deer as “The Suicide Buck,” but Rinka said no one there truly believed the buck intended to kill itself.

“What it was doing on that bridge, who knows?” he said. “There’s much easier ways to cross that area than by walking up an overpass. It’s a confined area, and deer seldom walk on bridges anyway. It was out of its element, and probably just panicked when the car approached.”

Although Rinka doesn’t buy the suicide theory, humans have long debated the possibility of animal suicide. About two years ago, for example, “Time” magazine reminded readers that Aristotle (384-322 BC) told of a stallion that leaped into an abyss after realizing it was duped into mating with its mother.

In more recent times, the Overtoun bridge in Milton, Scotland, has gained notoriety as the “Dog Suicide Bridge” because dogs have jumped from it about once a month since the 1960s, causing about 600 to die. Some dogs have even survived, only to run back up and jump again. No one knows what’s causing them to leap.

Rinka is content to consider the buck’s leap a fluke of nature.

“We were dumbfounded when we realized it was the same buck we had seen during lunch,” he said. “When it walked out of sight, we thought we’d never see it again. It was unreal.”



One Million Dollar Whitetail Buck!?

by Bow Staff 15. February 2009 12:39
Bow Staff

Modern whitetail deer hunting and management today is as much a business as a hobby. Whitetail enthusiasts pay top dollar for good equipment, good land, and even whitetail genetics. Below you will find a true story coming to us from the State of Texas, where one particular GIANT whitetail buck is causing some entrepreneurs to reach for their wallets. A whitetail deer whose worth may be ONE MILLION dollars!?

The One Million Dollar whitetail buck.

With a 46-point rack and a Boone and Crockett score of 334, it's hard to
argue that a whitetail named Stickers isn't 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. Noone r,
however, said the price is going to stay between him and the seller -
Tommy Dugger, one of the state's top deer breeders. 'It's probably as
high as anybody's ever paid,'' he said, 'but we're not letting it out;
Tommy and I have a gentleman's 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 he's the most expensive
deer ever in Texas ,'' Thorpe said. 'It's 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 B en died that same year, also to a respiratory illness.
Nevertheless, Clark said the big deer's potential was realized through
his son, Stickers. 'It wasn't until October of 2006 that a tape was put
on those antlers,'' Clark said of Sticker's 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.
'Let's 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 there's nothing uppity about Stickers. 'Some deer are
more nervous than others,'' Clark said. 'They don't do well in breeding
operations. But Stickers is pretty laid back. 'He's great at posing for
the camera.''

The staff at Bowhunting.Com wants to hear your thoughts on this incredible whitetail story. Would you, if you could, pay the possible 1 million dollar price tag of this buck based purely on speculation?

Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

30 Point Whitetail Buck Harvested

by Bow Staff 17. December 2008 14:09
Bow Staff

Huge 30 point whitetail buck taken! While rumors have spread far and wide throughout the internet over the past few seasons of this awesome whitetail, it remains somewhat of a mystery as what was it's real cause of demise!?  What state was it even taken in!? This incredible buck is easily one of the largest ever taken by a hunter and begs the question: Why such mystery!? If you had been the deer hunter, whether with gun or bow, would you have kept this animal and it's 30 points all to yourself!? Could you resist the temptation of letting everyone around you know the truth!?


Some of the mystery that surrounds this phenomenal whitetail buck is truly fascinating! From the stories of a small Amish boy who made a stalk on this buck through a standing cornfield in Wisconsin, to a small tavern owner outside St. Paul, Minnesota. A gun hunter from Georgia, an Amish man from Iowa, even your buddy from the neighboring county! It seems that everyone has claimed the prize of this 30 point buck with no real owner to be found.

The most truthful insight of this non-typical seems to stem from the 2006 Ohio archery season. According to this tale, on opening day of that year a young Amish hunter on the Ohio river around Adams county arrowed this buck. Shot with crossbow, the hunter, Jonathon Schmucker declined the photo as it is against his Amish custom. The massive non-typical buck was green scored at 304"! With a 24" inside spread! If this is the true story to this now legendary 30 point buck can you imagine not getting your picture taken with it?

And so it goes… The legend of the 30 point buck circulates amongst deer hunters everywhere! A new yarn to spin by our campfires, a new photo to see on our open forums. This huge.. 30 point.. whitetail buck.. may never hold the last name of it's maker- And it's legend will only escalate! But it truly has a tall tale to spin…doesn't it?

If you have any information on this amazing 30 point whitetail buck, please don't hesitate to send it our way.

Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

Why do we go hunting? - The Experience!

by Troy Kailbourne 9. December 2008 16:10
Troy Kailbourne

Why do we hunt? That is a question a lot of people have asked me over the years. I have answered the question in so many different ways. I think the reasons have actually changed for me over the years. I am not sure how many of you that read this blog even think about why we hunt, we just do it. My good friend inadvertently blurted out “meat!” when asked the question. Other answers include tradition, pleasure, excitement etc…

I think I would some it all up with the answer, “The Experience!”


Hunting for me has been a self-taught experience of lessons that have easily flowed over into my mainstream life. My father was not a hunter, and so I got my hunting experiences from friends who came from hunting families. I proclaim I am self-taught, in reality this means a lot of good friends have helped me learn about hunting in general. Without these close friends I would probably not be here writing this. Which is all part of “The Experience!”


I have found that all of the marvelous experiences while hunting have truly given me pleasure in life. I seem to be more at peace with myself when hunting. Sure, I equate this to man vs. beast, to brave the elements, to outwit a cunning game animal, and to have nerves of steel to make the shot when it counts. These are all things that come in to play when I harvest the whitetail deer. I have such high regard and respect for the animal that sometimes people ask, “Then why kill it?” to which I answer “The Experience!”

I truly believe that hunting some how links me to the past, days gone of the wild frontier; in harder times when hunting was a way of life, not a recreational pursuit of sportsmen. As a history teacher I have always believed I am so how connected to the past and hunting helps fulfilling some inner being in me.


Regardless of why you hunt, you have to be able to chalk up it up to “The Experience!”

On a recent cold November day in western New York.



Recent weather has brought colder than normal temps to western New York. My perch is a beautiful view.

I sat pondering why the heck I am 30feet up in a tree waiting for the possibility of a 3 ½ year old buck to miraculously come walking by me. It was below freezing and there really wasn’t much moving, except the Turkeys. 


This Turkey decided to come in for a closer look at me. Turkeys have such great eyesight, but yet their curiosity can bring them in close.


Then I remembered it was all part of “The Experience!” My mind quickly became refocused when the Turkeys began to join me up in the tree. In fact these two decided to come take a closer look at my camouflage.

These two Turkeys decided a grounds eye view wouldn’t work, so they joined me in an adjacent tree. I thought for sure taking my camera and would spook them away, but they hung around for a bit.

Apparently my camo works well, as these Turkeys took a close look and I didn’t spook them away. Although I was not thrilled to have to sit “so still” for a long period of time.

Eventually the Turkeys began to wonder away, as they continued to frolic in the bushes about 75 yards out.  



This row of Turkeys decided to head out and find some morning food to fill their stomachs. They reminded me of a parade, all the soldiers marching in line! 

 I laughed to myself and chuckled at “The Experience!”


Soon my attention was focused on the brown creature moving in the brush my way. “The Experience” was picking up as my heart raced; my thoughts went right to the 150 class 10 pointer I saw a few days earlier. As the deer cleared the brush and I got a better look, it turns out to be a hopeful 150 class 10 pointer in about 4 more years.


This button buck got my heart racing as he came through the thicket. I was hoping he was a big 10 pointer I had seen a few days earlier. Instead it was just a button buck coming to pick through the snow for some leftover white oak acorns on the ground.  

Safe to say I was disappointed, but again, what a great “Experience” to have that feeling.

I will close this blog by saying, we all hunt for different reasons. Some for meat, fun, excitement, and traditions. No matter why you hunt, enjoy “The Experience” it gives you.

Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

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