No, I don't have list of every single deer killed in 2010. I also don't have a source at Boone & Crockett feeding me inside information on the the record books giants that were taken down this fall.
But I have spent a hell of a lot of time on the Web and in the woods this season admiring these once-in-a-lifetimers. I guess that makes me as good a source as any on the biggest bucks of 2010. I've ranked each according to score, tactics used and, finally, the "Hollywood" factor. It has to be a good story.
If you've heard of a bigger deer or a better story this season, comment below, and we'll use your submissions to round out the top 10.
5. Ohio's Crossbow Sequel
Ohio's Steve Esker is beginning to make a major name for himself in the deer hunting community. Not only did he rent a helicopter in 2009 to aid in the recovery of what turned out to be a 19-point monster that grossed 213 6/8 and netted 206, non-typical, he came back for more this season.
On Oct. 14, Esker busted a 24-point non-typical buck that SCI green scored 217 7/8 in his home state with a crossbow. The buck was his third over all 200-inch deer. A feat that won't soon be topped.
4. Wisconsin's Best
Blaine Marion of Hudson, Wis., took a monster in October with his PSE bow that, with a preliminary score of 215 inches, is the biggest nontypical taken in the state this season.
The best part of this story was how Marion, 46, took down this 17-point brute. He developed a management plan over nearly a decade that would allow the deer on his 160-acre property to have a sanctuary. He would also only shoot bucks that were mature enough to hang on his wall. Marion dedicated himself, along with his father and young son, to producing big, healthy whitetails.
This season it paid off big time.
3. Hazelbloom Blessing Buck
A true trophy buck is a blessing. A 210-inch Boone & Crockett record book whitetail is a life-changing experience. Avid hunter Greg Barsigian found that out in November when he tipped over a giant buck in a land famous for producing such deer. We've got the exclusive story of how Barsigian's hunting life was changed forever on his trip across the Canadian border to Saskatchewan with his young son. He wrote exclusively to AmericanHunter.org:
My guiding service owner asked that we call the buck the Hazelbloom buck because of the area in Saskatchewan it was harvested. I added “Blessing” because harvesting this buck feels like the culmination of a lifetime of blessings.It was the best moment in my hunting life. Sharing that moment with my son was indescribable. I will never forget it. My only regret in this entire experience is that I wish it had been Jake that squeezed the trigger. What a life! To God be the Glory!
2. Nebraska's World Beater
Kevin Petrzilka killed a giant 17-point near Loma, Neb., this season with the help of his two young sons. Word quickly spread about Nebraska's all-time typical behemoth on the Web and beyond.
The buck, which got a preliminary score of 203 4/8, will almost certainly beat the current Nebraska record—a buck taken in 1983 by Vernon Vera that scored 199. The buck's classification as a typical will depend on whether its G3s are determined to be within its typical frame, not abnormal points.
To that end, it is in line to rank at least No. 6 on the Boone and Crockett Club’s all-time list of whitetails with typical antlers taken by a firearm. It would be the largest deer taken by firearm in North America since 1993.
1. Pennsylvania's Teen Titan
Hanna Harris, 16, of Northumberland County, Pa., recently busted what will undoubtedly be one of the top five non-typical bucks ever taken in the Keystone State. She wrote exclusively to American Hunter:
I turned 16, two weeks before the first day of buck and I knew this year I wanted to hunt alone since I'm now of legal age. I have shot two whitetail buck, a red stag and 8 turkeys before this, but I always had my dad there to keep me calm and remind me about the little things, like taking the safety off and to aim behind the front shoulder. This year I was going to have to remember everything on my own.
She certainly came through. The result was a 210 3/8-inch buck that was, for me, the most impressive all-around buck of 2010. The rest of the tale is an unbelievable as you'd think. The full story will run in an upcoming edition of American Hunter magazine.