Racks return: Big Buck Contest details

The Big Buck Contest is a hallmark of the Louisiana Sportsman Show, and will be held this year March 15-17 in Gonzales.
The Big Buck Contest is a hallmark of the Louisiana Sportsman Show, and will be held this year March 15-17 in Gonzales.

See your taxidermist now

The last of the deer zones might be closing this month, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about the season. Instead, make plans to bring your bucks to the Louisiana Sportsman Big Buck Contest sponsored by Bowie Outfitters, to be held March 15-17 in conjunction with the Louisiana Sportsman Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

And even if your deer mount isn’t complete, you can make arrangements with your taxidermist to bring the antlers to the contest, which is hosted by Quality Deer Management Association Louisiana.

Deer may be dropped off beginning Friday, March 15, but must be entered no later than 6 p.m. Saturday, March 16. Antlers must remain at the show’s Big Buck Wall until Sunday afternoon.

And it’s free to enter — just bring your unscored deer from the 2018-19 or 2017-18 seasons to the show. (Admission to the show is free if you’re bringing a mount or antlers for the contest.)

Winners will be named in the following categories, with great prizes provided by Bowie Outfitters:

  • Best Louisiana Gun
  • Best Louisiana Bow
  • Best Out-of-State Gun
  • Best Out-of-State Bow
  • Youth
  • Muzzleloader or Crossbow
  • Best Mississippi Gun
  • Best Mississippi Bow

Contest head scorer Dave Moreland has developed a unique system by which all deer — typical and non-typical — within a category can objectively be compared.

Each deer is scored on the Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young system, and then compared to the minimum score for inclusion in those record books. The difference between the minimum score of each deer is then used to decide category winners.

That means a typical deer could beat out a higher-scoring non-typical.

Bucks entered in any previous Louisiana Sportsman Big Buck Contest are not eligible for the contest.

Bucks killed in seasons before the 2017-18 hunting season can be entered for scoring, but are not eligible for contest prizes.

All entries will be displayed on the Big Buck Contest wall until shortly before winners are announced March 17.

Big Buck Contest rules

  • All legally killed bucks shot during the 2018-19 season and those deer from the 2017-18 season that have not been officially scored or previously entered in this contest are eligible for entry in any of the seven categories: Best Louisiana Gun, Best Louisiana Bow, Best Out-of-State Gun, Best Out-of-State Bow, Ladies, Youth and Muzzleloader/Crossbow.
  • All bucks beyond the 60-day drying period will receive an official Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young score.
  • Any buck killed within the previous 60 days will be scored and entered in the contest, but the score will not be official.
  • Only free-range whitetails from any of the 50 U.S. states are eligible.
  • Bucks killed with primitive arms that aren’t true muzzleloaders will be entered in the gun categories.
  • Youth-category entrants must have been 15 or younger at the time of the kill.
  • Bucks killed before the contest period may still be brought in for scoring, but will not be eligible for the contest or any random drawings for prizes.
  • Bucks must be brought in during show hours Friday or before 6 p.m. Saturday to be eligible for the contest.
  • Racks must remain at the show until 2 p.m. Sunday, and may not be removed before that time.
  • Louisiana Sportsman reserves the right to add or alter rules at its discretion.