Louisiana Sportsman Show Big Buck Contest is back!

Louisiana has big bucks, and it is evident as shown by this Big Buck Contest wall at a previous Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival.

Bring your trophy deer to the Sportsman Show, March 17-19

If you have not heard the news, the Big Buck Contest is back at the Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales on March 17-19.

After a hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, hunters can bring their trophies once more to the popular show and enter the contest. Bucks killed during the 2020/21 deer season, the 2021/22 deer season and the 2022/23 deer season can be entered in the contest. However, bucks that were entered in other buck contests around the state during these past seasons and were winners at these contests are not eligible to enter the contest.

Bucks will be officially scored based on the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young scoring system.

If your buck has already been officially scored and did not win any previous contests, it can be entered. Be sure to bring a copy of the score sheet when you register your buck. Bucks that have been officially scored will not be scored again because this is against the rules for these two national programs.

The rules

If your buck was scored based on another scoring system, then it will be measured since the score is not official. Official measurers of these two programs will do the scoring and if your buck qualifies for national recognition, you will be given the paperwork necessary to enter it into their record books. LDWF will be given copies of the score sheets for those bucks that qualify for state recognition to be entered into the state records.

These two scoring programs were designed to recognize the symmetry of a bucks antlers; measurements on the right side match the measurements on the left side. Any differences in individual measurements is considered a deduction since it takes away from the symmetry of the rack. For example if the right beam measures 21 inches and the left beam measures 20 4/8 inches then a ½ inch deduction is taken from the final score for this lack of symmetry. Hunters for the most part do not like deductions, but this is the way these two scoring systems were designed and they are the standard for trophy buck recognition.

Bucks will be scored either typical or non-typical with the winner being selected based on the score closest to the minimum score for each category or the score that exceeds the minimum score by the greatest amount. There are not separate divisions for typical or non-typical. A Louisiana gun killed buck that measured 165 exceeds the minimum score of 160 by five points and would beat a Louisiana non-typical buck that scored 186 because 185 is the minimum score for a non-typical buck.

Winning divisions

First, second and third place winners will be selected for each division. Divisions include Louisiana gun and bow, Mississippi gun and bow, Out of State gun and bow, Youth Division (age 15 or younger, any weapon) and a Muzzleloader/Crossbow Division.

It is important to note that the deadline to enter the contest is 3 p.m., Saturday, March 18. No exceptions will be made.

This should allow time for all the bucks that have been entered to be officially scored. I would suggest you take the time to rough score your buck. Typically at any buck contest about 30 percent of the bucks entered will score above 140 typical and probably only about 15 percent of the non-typical bucks entered will score above 180. The vast majority of bucks entered score around 100 to 130 typical; those are good quality bucks that many hunters would mount.

We will have more information about the contest and prizes closer to the show itself. Remember, a big buck contest is really not about hunters winning prizes. The contest is about showing the hunting community that quality and even trophy class bucks can be produced in Louisiana and surrounding states with sound deer management practices, good hunting strategies and of course a little luck!

Registration forms for the contest are available online at LouisianaSportsmanShow.com/Gonzales or the Louisiana Sportsman Show Facebook page. You can also find updated information about the show there regularly.

We hope to see you — and your big deer — there in March.

About David Moreland 240 Articles
David Moreland is a retired wildlife biologist with LDWF, having served as the State Deer Biologist for 13 years and as Chief of the Wildlife Division for three years. He and his wife Prudy live in rural East Feliciana Parish.

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