CHRIS GALLAGHER O’Neill, NE Whitetail, 22-inch spread Over the course of the day, Chris watched countless deer walk through the cattails in front of his blind near Lake McConaughy, but he wasn’t able to get his gun up for a shot at any of them…until this rutted-up buck trudged by.
BRANDON COOK Bay Village, OH Whitetail, 21-inch spread Fifteen-year-old Brandon’s first deer came in the first hour of the first day of his first hunting season. Brandon shot this public-land buck in Ashland County. “Ol’ Striper,” named for his striped hooves, showed up on the scene just five minutes after Brandon’s dad started rattling.
MEGAN WHITE Chippewa Falls, WI Whitetail, 10 points Megan, 13, and her family were hunting together when Megan killed her first buck. Her brother and mother were the first to congratulate her. When her father arrived, “he gave me a big hug,” she says. “He had tears in his eyes.”
ROBERT SNOW Salt Lake City, UT Mule deer, 9×6, 185 inches Though he missed a shot at this velvet buck on the second day of Utah’s archery season, Robert dedicated himself to tracking it. Finally, nine days and several 4×4 muleys later, he caught up to the deer and ended the hunt.
MARK MARINO West Cornwall, CT Whitetail, 142 3/8 inches After passing on a six-point, waiting in vain for a nine-point to come within range and watching the light quickly fade, Mark was about to call it a day…until this monster in velvet presented him with a perfect broadside shot.
TONY DINKINS Clayton, AL Whitetail, 14 points Apparently good things really do come to those who wait. Tony shot this high-racked 14-point whitetail in his wooded backyard on January 31–the last day of the season. The deer fell to his .243.
KEN THOMAS Bishop, CA Mule deer, 25-inch spread Ken’s guide spotted this Wyoming muley feeding on a ridge more than a half mile away. After sneaking through a wash, they got within 350 yards when the buck spotted them. Ken steadied himself and made a perfect shot.
CHRIS & MAX MILLER Oakland, IL Whitetails, 8 points each Chris took his 12-year-old son Max deer hunting for the first time last season. As the sun set one day in November, they sat silently together in a ground blind and shot these two bucks within 20 minutes of one another.
JAKE PARIDON Cortland, OH Whitetail, 160 4/8 inches Jake shot this 4 1/2-year-old buck at 65 yards during Ohio’s youth shotgun season when his father’s friend pushed the deer out of a wood duck marsh. This was only the second-largest deer Jake saw that day.
CHANCY BRANNING Madison, MS Whitetail, 210 inches Chancy shot this massive whitetail on his second Canada hunt when the brute showed up with a date for a midday snack. One shot from Chancy’s muzzleloader downed the 250-pounder.
KEN SERVAIS Litchfield Park, AZ Coues whitetail Ken had never hunted deer before, but his friend Larry, an avid hunter, offered to guide him on a hunt in southern Arizona. They glassed this buck on the third and final morning of their hunt. Ken dropped the deer at 200 yards.
HEATHER MARTIN Middletown, OH Whitetail, 204 1/8 inches Heather and her husband, Josh, crawled within 50 yards of this deer bedded in a field in front of their house. When the buck stood up, Heather placed a shot in its neck. It was just her second day hunting.
STEPHANIE JONES Boulder, CO Mule deer, 23-inch spread After stalking this monster muley for more than an hour and passing on a 180-yard shot she was uncertain about, 12-year-old Stephanie made a perfect 155-yard shot on her first-ever deer.
GREG BABCOCK Hoxie, KS Mule deer, 189 6/8 inches After Greg’s father spotted this buck during pre-season scouting, father and son decided to hold off on shooting any smaller deer. Greg shot the buck on the last morning of his hunt.
GORDY OATES Lonoke, AR Whitetail, 165 2/8 inches Gordy shot this super-wide 10-point buck in Linn County, Kan., with his Ruger 7mm. The deer’s almost perfectly symmetrical rack has an inside spread of 25 1/2 inches and less than 1 inch of abnormal deductions.
CHRIS SWEARER Pottstown, PA Blacktail, 8 points Chris and his father, Gary, were on a combination Sitka blacktail and brown bear hunt on Kodiak Island when Chris took this fine buck. Gary shot an eight-point blacktail as well.
KAREN ANDERSON Logan, UT Mule Deer, 183 3/8 inches After crossing paths with this deer on two separate occasions, Karen shot him on their third encounter. With a little help from her dad, Jim, she cleaned, skinned and packed out the deer herself.
DAWN JANOUSKY Coleman, WI Whitetail, 185 1/8 inches Dawn shot this buck of a lifetime with a bow set at 41 pounds. Dawn hopes women who may be unsure about bowhunting see that practice and a well-placed shot can replace heavy draw weights.
PRIZE RECIPIENTS All recipients were chosen at random. Chris and Max Miller will receive an EF1000iS generator from Yamaha Motor Corporation US, Power Equipment Division. Megan White, Mark Marino, Chancy Branning, Greg Babcock, Gordy Oates and Dawn Janousky each will receive a Mathews Solocam Outback bow. Tony Dinkins was selected to receive a Performance Wool jacket from Weatherby. Jake Paridon will receive a Hunter’s Pack from Wildlife Research Center. Other hunters featured on these pages will receive an Outdoor Life baseball cap. Go to www.outdoorlife.com for more Deer of the Year photos.