My best whitetail ever, this is also a storybook buck for me. I shot this 180-class deer on my family's Missouri farm, but what made the hunt -- and the deer -- even more special was that I killed him with my late father's old rifle, a 7x57mm, in the soybean field where he always said I'd find a whopper whitetail.
Andrew McKean, Hunting Editor
A great Eastern gobbler. I shot this big tom on my family’s Missouri farm last spring. He weighed about 23 pounds and sported an 11-inch paintbrush beard and 1-1/2-inch spurs.
A great Wyoming mule deer. I spotted this buck bedded down underneath an old-growth sagebrush and shot him with a .308 at about 250 yards. He has great height, deep forks and bladed tines. I’ve never scored him — in fact, I rarely put a tape to any of the animals I kill — but he’s probably in the 170-class.
My very first — and so far, only — 30-inch mule deer. I killed this really wide, but fairly light-racked buck in the Missouri River Breaks not far from my home in northeastern Montana. It was my lifelong goal to kill a 30-incher, and the minute I saw the light glinting off these antlers at sunup I knew this was a dandy. I stalked him for several hours before shooting him with my .270.
I love big-game hunting, but I’m never happier than grabbing a shotgun and calling my yellow Lab, Willow, for some prairie grouse hunting. We teamed up for this sharptail north of the Milk River a couple years back.
It’s a helluva challenge to kill a good pronghorn with a bow, and this is my best one so far with string and stick. It’s a northeastern Montana sage country antelope.
This is the biggest pronghorn I’ve ever killed. He has huge bases and his mass extends well past really robust diggers. I took him with a Remington R-25 in southeastern Wyoming with Table Mountain Outfitters.
My best whitetail ever, this is also a storybook buck for me. I shot this 180-class deer on my family’s Missouri farm, but what made the hunt — and the deer — even more special was that I killed him with my late father’s old rifle, a 7x57mm, in the soybean field where he always said I’d find a whopper whitetail.
John Snow, Shooting Editor
If you like to hunt birds as much as I do then do yourself a favor and think twice before booking a hunt to Argentina because that country will just ruin you. A trip down there for doves, ducks, pigeons or partridge is sure to wreck your bank balance. But what a place. The people, the culture, the landscape, the grilled meats, the wines and, of course, the birds–it just can’t be topped.
In my mind, Cape Buffalo are the quintessential African game. They are big and mean and have a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous critters. If you don’t come away from a Cape Buffalo hunt with some great memories then you should take up golf. I shot this bull with my Ruger Magnum in .416 Rigby, which is as classic an African cartridge as you’ll find.
I took this picture-perfect mule deer during a picture-perfect hunt in western Colorado a couple years back. I was using a custom rifle by Rick Uselton chambered in one of the flattest shooting cartridges in existence–the 7.62 Lazzeroni Warbird. The shot was long, but the conditions were perfect and when my .30-caliber bullet hit the deer on the shoulder at 450 yards it struck him with the same force as a .30-06 at the muzzle. Talk about performance–that cartridge has power to spare.
I took this roe deer during my first trip to Germany. This hunt sticks in my mind is because it was a classic low-light European hunt. When this little guy–and all roe deer are little–stepped out into the clearing it was nearly totally dark and I had to use every bit of that massive binocular to get a look at his horns. Likewise, I was glad for the oversized Docter scope, which cut through the evening gloom and gave me a clear enough view of him to drop him at 100 yards with the Merkel 8×57 JS I was using.
As much as I enjoy getting behind the trigger myself, I have to say that my hunt with Army Specialist Matt Keil, who was wounded by a sniper in Iraq, was one of my most memorable. Matt made a series of spectacular shots during our time together down in Texas, including the one that dropped this pig at nearly 200 yards.
John Taranto, Senior Editor I shot this deer after along, hard hunt in Oregon. While this buck might not be overly impressive to seasoned mule deer veterans, to this greenhorn he is a remarkable trophy because of the work that went into getting him. The dopey expression of wide-eyed exhaustion, elation and relief on my face is the proof.
This antelope is from a hunt in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas, in late September 2006. I was hunting with Hunter Ross’s Desert Safaris. There were 13 hunters on the trip. Five killed pronghorns scoring between 70 and 75, five between 75 and 80 and three over 80. The B&C minimum is 80. Mine scored 77 5/8.
I killed this buck on the morning of my third day in camp. The first two days I was in Texas the temperature was in the mid-80s and we were hunting in shirtsleeves. When we woke up on Wednesday morning the temperature had plummeted more than 50 degrees. The 15 minutes during which we laid stock-still on the ground waiting for the buck to present me with a shot felt a heckuva lot longer due to the icy cold wind blowing in our faces. He netted a B&C score of 146.
I shot this impala on the Munnik Conservancy in the Limpopo Region of South Africa in June 2009. I had gone there with Tim Wagner, the winner of our Africa Grand Slam. It was my first hunting trip in Africa and one I will never forget.
Todd Smith, Editor-in-Chief
I took this black Bear in the Porcupine Hills in Saskatchewan years ago. I have shot several since, but I’ll probably never take a bigger one. I saw him on two previous occasions but he spooked before I could get a shot off. The third time he strolled right up to my stand. He looked as big as a coal pile.
My first Alaskan moose and the first ever taken with the .450 Marlin. Steve Hornady, whose company designed the cartridge is just behind me.
This is my best pronghorn to date, taken near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. He’s just under 16 inches and heavy. And I smile whenever I look on him.
I will have to hunt a long time to take a better whitetail than this. He scores 163 and change, but what really makes him special is that I took him in Iowa with my old friend (and whitetail master) Mark Drury.
This is an elk I took in New Mexico a few years back. I was very fortunate to get him on the very first morning of our hunt. We bumped into a group of elk, he jumped up and I had no time to take a rest. I shot him off-hand at 100 yards. He took two steps and fell over. He scores right around 340 for those who keep track of such things.
My first Cape buffalo. Everyone should hunt buffalo at least once in their
life. It is truly thrilling and your heart rate is at about Mach 10 the
entire time. The rifle is a Sako in .375 H&H. I love this rifle and it
shoots tiny little groups.
This beautiful Kudu came on my last trip to South Africa and he hangs
just outside my office door here in NYC.
I took this bushbuck on the same trip to South Africa. I have hunted them on every safari I’ve ever taken but just never got lucky enough to get one until this trip. You can tell I like that Sako .375. I hunt everything with it … even deer sometimes.
Gerry Bethge, Deputy Editor I took my best-ever whitetail on an icy December morning in Kansas. We scored him at 174–lots of junk.
Here’s another pretty good Kansas buck. I wasn’t too big on patience, though — I shot him just an hour after getting into my treestand.
Here’s a closer look at the gnarly 174.
I came to love caribou hunting during my trip to northern Quebec with outfitter Joe Stefanski at High Arctic Adventures.
John Burgman, Assistant Editor
I took this deer in Uvalde, Texas, last January. It now resides, mounted, on the wall of my New York City apartment.
Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama, will always be special to me, specifically because my first time fishing saltwater was on the ocean near those places. Hooking redfish and snapper for the first time was quite an experience for someone who was more accustomed to freshwater species like bass and northern pike.
My first time fishing the Niagara Falls region of New York was incredible. In addition to tons of lake trout, numerous 5-pound smallmouths, I managed to land a few nice salmon.
As we all know, the best hunter is the guy who is having the most fun on a given day. My Texas pheasant hunt last year didn’t produce tons of birds, but I had a blast. The dogs were excited, the weather was chilly, the ground was frosty, the coffee in the thermos was hot, and the post-hunt camaraderie was great.
Alex Robinson, Content Editor
I caught this pike on a weeklong fishing trip in Ontario. I went in early spring and just a few days before I showed up the region was hit with 10 inches of snow. Luckily the weather cleared up and the fishing got really hot. On that trip I caught four pike over 40 inches and several more in the high 30s (all were released). It was one of the better weeks of fishing I’ve ever had.
The walleyes were also biting during that Ontario trip. I fished Gullrock Lake out of Wright’s Wilderness Camp. We focused our efforts near river mouths and picked off walleyes and pike as they made their way into the main lake.
I shot this buck two years ago on my family’s hunting land in Wisconsin. He’s no B&C record, but it was a great hunt in the home state. We’ve been hunting the same property since I was 12 years old and there isn’t anywhere in the country I’d rather be in November.
Here’s another pretty good Kansas buck. I wasn’t too big on patience, though–I shot him just an hour after getting into my treestand.