Deer of the Year '09

doy_final_dakota thorstenson
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Congratulations to Dakota Thorstenson for taking the Outdoor Life Deer of the Year! Dakota wins a $200 gift certificate to Cabela's for one truly great buck. Due to the outpouring of amazing sportsmanship by Deer of the Year candidates such as Eugene Mancl, James Hagman and Aaron and Brant Ludwig, our friends at Cabela's have donated an additional $200 gift certificate to the family of the late Adam Riehl. The thoughts of the entire Outdoor Life and Cabela's families are with you. Dakota Thorstenson
Selby, South Dakota Dakota wasted no time in proving his hunting prowess. The 12-year-old dropped this wide mule deer buck on the run at 200 yards during his first rifle season. He'd seen the deer several times during bow season, but never was able to get a shot at it.
doy_final_adam riehl
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Due to the outpouring of amazing sportsmanship by Deer of the Year candidates such as Eugene Mancl, James Hagman and Aaron and Brant Ludwig, our friends at Cabela's have donated an additional $200 gift certificate to the family of the late Adam Riehl. The thoughts of the entire Outdoor Life and Cabela's families are with you. Adam Riehl Shepherd, Montana Adam learned in September that his bone cancer had stopped responding to chemotherapy. Despite the bad news, he was determined to have a good hunting season, and last November he took a cow elk and this massive 7x9 muley. Adam passed away on January 22.
doy_final_joe carichner
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Joe Carichner Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania Joe and his dad first saw the deer they called "Hammerhead" at the end of the 2007 late-archery season. When Joe spotted it in late summer, he devoted countless hours to scouting and hunting the huge buck. He came up empty during archery season, but finally got a crack at Hammerhead on the opening day of Pennsylvania's rifle season. The buck green-scored 1635⁄8.
doy_final_eugene mancl
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Eugene Mancl
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin Despite unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures into the 70s and strong winds, Eugene stuck it out at camp while his buddies worked and planned to hunt the following week. Eugene was rewarded for his determination with this mature 150-class 8-point.
doy_final_derrick jarrell
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Derrick Jarrell
Mt. Airy, North Carolina On the second morning of his second Kansas hunt, Derrick saw this boss whitetail show up on the scene, but only to chase off a subordinate buck that had been milling around Derrick's stand. A short while later, however, the 169-incher returned, and this time presented Derrick with a shot.
doy_final_caitlyn ronchetto
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Caitlyn Ronchetto House Springs, Missouri Caitlyn, 13, and her dad had just returned to their stand after getting a bite to eat when this 180-class buck approached from behind. As the deer wandered around the area, Caitlyn warded off buck fever until she finally got the chance to make her shot.
doy_final_charlie bunde
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Charlie Bunde
Sartell, Minnesota Charlie and his buddies had dubbed this buck "The Bladed Eight" after it appeared in several nighttime trail-cam shots. Charlie proceeded to hunt it throughout Minnesota's archery and rifle seasons, but didn't see it until the final day of muzzleloader season, when it stepped out of a thicket at 70 yards.
doy_final_savanna bouldin
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Savanna Bouldin
La Monte, Missouri Savanna, 8, took her deer during Missouri's youth season. After
watching two bucks spar and then leave the area, Savanna and her dad saw three smaller bucks arrive. Just as she was about to shoot an
8-pointer, this 10-point, one of the sparring bucks, reappeared.
doy_final_cierra cain
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Cierra Cain
Lansing, New York Cierra was about to quit for the day when she spotted a deer with its head down 50 yards from her. When it finally picked up its head, Cierra could hardly believe what she saw. The 170-class gagger buck had a split main beam on the right side.
doy_final_al liddle
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Al Liddle
Leduc, Alberta Al's father-in-law was pushing along a river bottom toward Al when he came upon this buck and a group of does. Before he was able to raise his rifle and touch off a shot, the deer were gone. Luckily for Al, the monster muley took a course up the valley directly toward him. The buck scored a whopping 2156⁄8.
doy_final_brant and aaron ludwig
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Brant and Aaron Ludwig Provo and Springville, Utah Brothers Brant and Aaron had caught glimpses of this 190-class, 31-inch, public-land mule deer over the course of several seasons, but were never able to get within range for a shot. Their luck finally turned during the 2008 Utah general muzzleloader season, when Brant (right) made the shot at a mere 20 yards.
doy_final_dustin kernal
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Dustin Kernal
New Castle, Indiana Dustin took this great 140-class heartland whitetail with his bow
at just 14 yards. The buck trailed a group of does through a bottleneck right past Dustin's stand. His kids were particularly excited about Dad's deer, as they recognized it from trail-cam photos.
doy_final_brandon thorne
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Brandon Thorne Greenwood, Missouri As Brandon and his father wound down another deer-less afternoon on their 500-acre farm, they noticed several deer congregating in a corner of a cornfield uphill from them. At first, there were three nice bucks and a doe. Then this monarch, which no one had seen before, appeared. Brandon offered the shot to his father, who deferred. The massive brute scored 2123⁄8.
doy_final_jake and mike markis
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Jake and Mike Markris
Fairhope, Alabama Jake and his dad, Mike, have traveled to Missouri for the past three years to hunt whitetails. In 2008, Mike took this incredible mainframe 8-point after watching the deer lie with a doe for over two hours. Mass measurements totaled 476⁄8 inches.
doy_final_james hagman
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. James Hagman Rose Hill, Kansas James was hunting a 140-class 10-point when this stud showed up to let the 10-point know who was boss. Jim managed to grunt the big boy to within 34 yards before making his shot. The rack scored 1727⁄8 inches with a triple right brow tine, matching forked G3s and 44 inches in circumference alone.
doy_final_jason cook
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Jason Cook
Belton, Missouri As opening day of the 2008 Missouri gun season drew to a close, Jason decided to leave his stand to walk a creek bottom and rattle. After a while, he heard a grunt from behind him. As he slowly turned to the sound, he saw this 1685⁄8-inch buck walking by at 10 feet, looking for a fight.
doy_final_jeff minton
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Jeff Minton
Owosso, Michigan Jeff put off his trip to deer camp in the Upper Peninsula to hunt around home for the buck he and his son Matt had dubbed "The Big One." He was preparing to climb down from his stand one afternoon when he sensed movement behind him. The Big One proceeded to walk right past Jeff's stand, and he arrowed the 160-class deer at just 18 yards.
doy_final_bill macfarland
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Bill MacFarland, Jr. Limerick, Pennsylvania Bill could hear this Manitoba buck coming before he could see it: The deer was grunting aggressively as it cruised for does. Bill shot the 140-class buck from the exact same stand he used to take a trophy the year before. "I will be back next year!" he says. We don't doubt it.
doy_final_keith bauer
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Keith Bauer
Withee, Wisconsin Our cover model shot his 188-inch behemoth near his home in north-central Wisconsin. While searching for a doe that his uncle had wounded, Keith made a push around a rise and heard his cousin shout, "It's a buck!" Keith raised and fired his .270, dropping the buck headfirst into the frozen ground, which broke off the right G3. Without the break, the rack would have scored an estimated 197 inches.
doy_final_kelly gustafson
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Kelly Gustafson Welch, Minnesota Three days before Kelly shot this Minnesota monster, it ran in front of her car. Until then, no one had laid eyes on the deer they called "Lesnar" (after former UMN wrestler and current UFC star, Brock), except in trail photos. Then, on Nov. 8, it ran a doe past Kelly's stand and she dropped the 204-inch brute.
doy_final_marc chavez
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Marc Chavez Michigan City, Indiana Marc had taken the day off from work to go hunting, but was considering not going out at all when a major snowstorm hit. Ultimately he sucked it up and headed into the elements with his buddy Nate. After a couple of hours on stand, Marc was rewarded for his decision when he pulled the trigger on this 21-inch-wide, 160-class buck.
doy_final_paul kelley
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Paul Kelley Mulberry Grove, Illinois Tired of shooting nothing but does and immature bucks, Paul and his cousin Kory made a pact three seasons ago that they wouldn't shoot any deer on Paul's brother-in-law's Bond County property that was under 120 inches. Little did Paul know at the time that his first muzzleloader buck would be this tall 170-class whitetail.
doy_final_rachel and dad hewett
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Rachel and Doug Hewett Callahan, Florida Ten-year-old Rachel and her father, Doug, took these two awesome bucks on their lease in Kentucky on consecutive weekends in October. Rachel dropped her 181⁄2-inch-wide stud at 90 yards with her .243. Doug's measured an inch wider; he was able to grunt it and two younger bucks into muzzleloader range.
doy_final_robin newlen
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Robin Newlen
Bakersfield, California Robin's husband, Kevin, and their two sons, "Li'l" Kevin and Sean, accompanied her on her late-season Kern River buck hunt. After missing two smaller bucks, Robin redeemed herself with this heavy-racked muley on a stormy second day of the hunt.
doy_final_chip hafele
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Chip Hafele Cincinnati, Ohio After countless years of cold, fruitless opening days, Chip's luck finally changed in 2008, when this 164-inch buck charged across a 25-acre field to within 10 yards of his stand…just moments before Chip was going to head back to the barn to warm up.
doy_final_scott hartman
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Scott Hartman Cincinnati, Ohio After 23 years of bowhunting, Scott had yet to take a deer that scored more than 100 inches. After seeing this deer early in 2008, he let several 125-class bucks walk during the course of the season. His patience paid off one early November evening as this 157-incher cruised right under his stand, hot on a doe's scent. The G2s measured 121⁄2 and 13 inches.
doy_final_thomas fitzpatrick
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Thomas Fitzpatrick Napa, California After taking a 25-inch-wide Columbia blacktail back home in northern California in September, Thomas and his dad took off for a do-it-yourself backpack hunt in Wyoming in October. They hiked into the wilderness 4 miles, slept in a cave, hunted hard and packed out this great 7x7 muley, which sported 4-inch brow tines.
doy_final_todd gilchrist
Cabela's is the proud sponsor of Outdoor Life's 2009 Deer of the Year. Todd Gilchrist Fairview, Oklahoma After this huge Oklahoma whitetail showed up in a few trail-cam photos, "virtually every possible hour not at work was spent scouting or hunting this buck," says Todd. Its unofficial green score put the rack at 2055⁄8 inches. View the final poll here!

Announcing the winner of the 2009 Deer of the Year contest...