This contest is different from the others across the state in that the winners are selected based upon the official Boone and Crockett score.
Hunters register their deer with the store during the hunting season, and are given time for the 60-day mandatory drying period before being scored, generally during the month of April.
David Moreland, retired biologist with LDWF and an official Boone & Crockett and Pope and Young measurer does the scoring, with category winners are selected based upon the buck scoring the closest to the 160 minimum for typical bucks or the 185 minimum for non-typical bucks or the one that exceeds the minimum score by the largest amount.
When the 60-day drying period is up hunters may have their head measured by any official B&C measurer and that is the score used for the contest. By doing this official scoring, deer that qualify for the Louisiana Record Program or any of the national record keeping programs are ready to be submitted to the various programs by the hunter and there is no guessing about the official score.
Another unique feature of the Bowie Outfitters Big Buck Contest is that any hunter who kills a legal buck during the hunting season can enter the contest and be eligible for the grand prize drawing. Store manager David Reynerson smiles when he tells people that even a spike can be the big winner of the grand prize.
This year Jimmy Goodeau of Baton Rouge won the grand prize, a $1,500 gun or bow package (hunter's choice), with what contest coordinator Joe Loupe referred to as a mutant buck. The buck Goodeau killed in Pointe Coupee Parish is described in the textbook as a cactus buck. Because of hormone problems the buck never shed its' antlers but just kept growing antler material that has the appearance of an old cactus plant.
The contest has categories for the best buck killed in Louisiana with gun, bow or primitive weapon (muzzleloader and crossbow); there is a Louisiana Ladies Category and a Louisiana Youth Category and a category for bucks killed from other states. The winners of the various categories received a $200 gift certificate from Bowie Outfitters.
One hundred deer were registered in this year's contest, and several state records were set and many deer qualifying for national recognition.
Eric Brabham of Port Allen won the Louisiana Bow Category with a 132 1/8 Pope and Young buck he killed while hunting on the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. Al Dugas, Richard Dugas and Troy LaBorde killed bucks with bows and qualified for the state-record program.
Steve Smith of Prairieville killed a 154 7/8 B&C buck in West Feliciana Parish, winning the Louisiana Primitive Category. This buck is also the new Louisiana crossbow record buck. This 10-point had a 20 5/8-inch inside spread and 25-inch main beams.
Raymond Myrick killed a buck with his muzzleloader that qualifies for state recognition, and David Saale killed one with his crossbow that also qualifies for state recognition.
Jackson's Kathy Wilkinson won the Louisiana Ladies Category with a nice East Feliciana Parish buck that scored 108 4/8.
Jude Newton of Bunkie and Cory Coreil of Zachary were the co-winners of the Louisiana Youth Category. Newton killed a 22-point Avoyelles Parish buck with heavy mass that scored 165 2/8 non-typical, and Coreil killed a 20-point buck in West Feliciana Parish that scored 166 non-typical. Both of these bucks will qualify for the Louisiana Recognition Program.
There were numerous trophy and quality bucks entered in the Louisiana Gun Category, and the winner was Kenneth Bordelon of Vick with his 22-point 209 3/8 non-typical buck killed in Avoyelles Parish and featured in the March issue of the Sportsman. This buck will qualify for the Boone and Crockett Record Book, and is an example of the buck quality coming out of Avoyelles Parish over the past several years.
Just as impressive was the 14-point typical buck that Kevin Breaux of Franklin killed in St. Mary Parish this past season. This new parish record buck scored in at 176 5/8 B&C, and will also qualify for the Boone and Crockett Record Book.
Other fine bucks included a 170 5/8-inch non-typical killed by Kris Melancon with his .45-70 rifle in Concordia Parish; the new St. Tammany Record Buck killed by Richie Schaefer on the Bogue Chitto NWR that scored 153 7/8 inches typical; a 148-inch typical buck killed by Tommy Calandro in East Baton Rouge Parish; a 143 5/8-inch typical buck killed by Mike Lovelace in Avoyelles Parish; a 139 7/8-inch typical buck killed by Calvin Ardoin in Avoyelles Parish and a 137 2/8-inch typical buck killed by Bubba Jumonville in Pointe Coupee Parish.
The competition was fierce in the Out-Of-State Category. Dwight Shaffer of Tylertown killed a beautiful 18-point non-typical buck scoring 190 4/8 B&C in Mississippi; Wayne Murray of Baton Rouge killed a 21-point non-typical with his bow in Kansas that scored 185 4/8 B&C and qualifies for the Pope and Young Record Book and the B&C Recognition Program.
However, Jessie Alleman Jr. of Pierre Part won the Out-of-State Category with his huge Illinois typical buck that scored 168 2/8 B&C and qualifies for the Pope and Young Record Book and the B&C Recognition Program.
Reno Gregoire Jr. of Prairieville killed a 142-inch typical buck in Mississippi that qualifies for the Muzzleloader Record Book; other muzzleloader record bucks included Darren Hess with his 166-inch non-typical buck from Arkansas and Barry Hutchinson with his 159 1/8-inch typical buck killed in Kansas. Lance Walker of Zachary also killed a beautiful Kentucky Pope and Young record-book buck in velvet that scored 140 3/8.
If you killed a buck during the 2010-11 hunting season, now is the time to contact LDWF and get it officially scored. If you have good luck with drawings, you just might want to enter the Big Buck Contest at Bowie Outfitters next year. Who knows what size buck might win the Grand Prize; it certainly couldn't be any worse than that mutant buck from this year!