Land of Giants

Double Play Booners They say a Boone & Crockett buck is a one-in-a-million whitetail. If true, then Alabama hunters Jake Markris and Phil Azar hit the lottery big time over a one-year period during two Missouri archery hunts. On the same small farm, exactly one year to the day apart, each arrowed a "Booner"-- that mythical monster whitetail every deer hunter dreams of collecting. It was a clear, warm day last November 5, 2007 in north-central Missouri. Alabama bowhunter Jake Markris had missed a monster B&C; buck the previous afternoon at only 20 yards. But a different Booner showed near the same stand at 3:30 p.m., and at 12 yards Jake drove a NAP "Spitfire" broadhead through the deer's boiler room.Outdoor Life Online Editor
The Markris buck is a main frame 12-pointer, with 15 total points, and scored just under 180 inches.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Jake's 275-pound whitetail is immense with a huge, exceptionally long neck.Outdoor Life Online Editor
A left-side point rises and forks almost like a mule deer.Outdoor Life Online Editor
The huge girth of the buck is clearly seen here.Outdoor Life Online Editor
"I knew the Missouri farm had some buster bucks-- sign I'd seen while hunting turkeys on the place the previous spring," Jake says. "But when I returned to the small farm in late October to scout deer and hang tree stands, I was amazed at the amount of giant scrapes and leg-size trees that had been rubbed to their white-wood core."Outdoor Life Online Editor
Exactly one year to the day after Jake arrowed his Booner buck, Phil Azar had this massive and near-perfect 11 pointer walk to within 10 yards of his stand. A Matthews bow set at 70 pounds and a 3-blade Muzzy broadhead quickly did the job.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Phil's buck is huge, heavier than Jake's they believe. There was no farm scale that could accommodate weighing the deer, which they estimate it at 275 pounds. The buck was shot on the same farm as Jake's, but about a mile apart.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Azar's giant trophy scores well because it is nearly perfectly shaped, with a wide spread. It green scores nearly 173 inches.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Phil hunted the farm last season with Jake and took a nice buck, but no record. He was determined this year to hold out for a giant, and "passed" a shot at a 150-inch 8-pointer, and several 130-inchers, waiting for this impressive whitetail.Outdoor Life Online Editor
A rear view of the deer's rack shows its spread. Remember the buck weighs 275 pounds, and Phil is good size, too.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Jake (left) and Phil share a unique bond, each tagging a Booner-size buck from the same farm, a year to the day apart. Unique memories, say, one in several million.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Two-Hour Stalk for a Giant With rifle tags in hand, Markris and his father Mike headed back to the same Northern Missouri farm. It was mid-day and the Alabama hunters were headed to town for lunch, driving a gravel road on farm property. As they drove they spotted a doe stand up in a CRP field, this monster buck rose with her. The deer simply stood to stretch their legs, then bedded back down. Even at 200 yards, they knew that it was a shooter.Outdoor Life Online Editor
It was cold and windy, but the hunters sneaked along a CRP field levy to within 80 yards of the deer, which they could see through binoculars. Mike couldn't shoot, because he could only see the deer heads. So the father-son team lay on their bellies for two hours, cold and tired, waiting for the deer to stand and offer a shot.Outdoor Life Online Editor
The hunters kept their optics on the buck, but could see only its antlers and face. Knowing he was a deer of a lifetime, they lay quiet and still, hoping for their luck to change.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Suddenly a strong wind gust parted the grass, exposing the buck's neck. At that exact moment, a truck traveling on a gravel road in the distance made a loud noise causing the deer to stretch his neck and stare at the intrusion. It was Mike's opportunity, and he took it, making a perfect neck shot and anchoring the huge buck in its bed.Outdoor Life Online Editor
As they walked up to the buck, it just seemed to grow larger, and larger. They shook their heads, then they were like a couple of kids jumping, hugging and laughing. It was a very special moment for the two Alabama hunters, who counted their blessings.Outdoor Life Online Editor
A tape on the rack came up with a green gross score of 171 2/8 inches. Huge for an 8-pointer with just one abnormal point. The buck has main beam base circumferences of nearly 7 inches; a total mass measurements of 47 6/8-inches, almost unheard of in the whitetail world.Outdoor Life Online Editor

Deer seasons are in full swing around the country and hunters are taking some incredible bucks. Here are three of the biggest.