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Biggest Buck in Texas?
If the non-typical giant Jerry Wascom shot in South Texas last season wasn't the biggest buck killed in our state last year, it had to be mighty close!
By Robert Sloan
Working as the outdoors editor for the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper, I get all sorts of phone calls about big fish and big deer - and everything in between. I never know what the next call is going to reveal.
So when I picked up the phone on Nov. 11 last year and heard the voice of Aubrey Webb, publisher of the Enterprise and my boss, I didn't know what to think. Turns out he had a friend that had shot a "good" buck, and wanted to know if I would take a look at it. He said it might be worth a story.
There's no way I could say no to that request. I hung up the phone and contacted Webb's friend, Jerry Wascom. He dropped off some photos of his buck, and when I opened the envelope I just about fell off my chair!
That "good" buck just happened to be an 18-point non-typical with a 22-inch inside spread. It had a gross B&C; score of 215 1/8 points. That's not your basic "good" buck. In fact, it was good enough to win the prestigious high-fenced division in South Texas' Los Cazadores big-buck competition.
Wascom, of Beaumont, shot a huge buck that is his personal best after many years of going after wallhanger whitetails. This guy is not your average deer hunter. He's obsessed with hunting for high-scoring bucks.
"I've hunted all over for big deer, including Mexico," says Wascom. "Hunting in Mexico is not what it is supposed to be. It has gotten to be too much of a hassle. South Texas is where you'll find the highest-scoring bucks."
Wascom, 46, was hunting on the 10,000-acre Hindes Ranch in Frio County when he first spotted the buck at about 50 yards. It was Oct. 11, a day he'll never forget. Wascom says the buck had been seen on a previous hunt. His guide, Roy Hindes who is owner of the sprawling Brush Country ranch, knew a thing or two about the comings and goings of trophy bucks on his property.
Once they reached the area, Wascom and Hindes parked their truck about a half-mile from the spot where Hindes had last seen the deer.
What happened next surprised both of those veteran hunters.
"As we were walking in we spotted him in thick brush about 50 yards out," says Wascom. But there was a problem. "The only shot I had was at his head. It didn't make any sense whatsoever to shoot such a trophy in the head."
Wascom is not one to make bad decisions. Instead of making a risky shot at the buck through a tangle of brush, he decided to head to a ground blind, hoping the buck would make another appearance.
That decision was based on thinking that the buck had not seen them and was not spooked. However, Hindes didn't like the idea of Wascom not taking a shot at the buck when he had the opportunity. Seeing that particular deer again was not likely.
Once the buck melted into the brush and out of sight, the guide and his hunter headed to the box blind.
It was an afternoon hunt. Time was running out, but at about 6:45 things began to click. The corn they had spread out was working its magic.
"We had been in the blind about 45 minutes when two does showed up," says Wascom. "Not long after that we saw the buck again, but he was gone before I could get a shot.
"He kind of circled around us, and about five minutes later he walked out with the does at about 70 yards."
This time Wascom didn't waste any time getting the trophy in his cross hairs. After one shot from Wascom's .300 Weatherby Magnum, the buck was on the ground.
The worst thing that can happen to a deer hunter is for him to overestimate a buck's overall trophy status. Ground shrinkage has shocked more than one South Texas gunslinger. That would not be a factor for Wascom. The buck that had looked big on the hoof looked even bigger on the ground!
The rack on this trophy is incredible. That is evident in its gross Boone and Crockett score of 215 1/8 points.
This was not exactly a ghost buck; it had been seen in past seasons. Wascom says its sheds from the 2001-02 season would score 200 B&C; points. He adds that last season the rack was probably as big as it would ever get, considering the buck's age of 8 1/2 years.
Needless to say, Wascom wasted no time in entering his kill in South Texas' big-buck contests. It easily won the Los Cazadores contest, one that is very popular and usually draws the highest-scoring bucks killed in South Texas.
Wascom's buck won the Division II of the Los Cazadores contest. That division is for deer harvested from a high-fenced ranch of at least 1,000-acres (of which at least 400 acres must be covered with adequate foliage to provide "cover" for game.)
Wascom also entered his buck in the El Monstruo del Monte contest; it took first place. Second place in the high-fenced division of the Los Cazadores contest went to Sid Terry of Houston. Sid's buck had a spread of 31 2/8 inches and scored 200 3/8 points. It was tagged in Frio County.
Third place in that division was Blake Powell of Jacksonville, with a 17-point buck that scored 199 6/8 points. That deer was taken on the Powell Ranch in Zavala County.
During the 2001-02 season, first place in the Los Cazadores high-fenced division was won by Roger Hill III of San Antonio with a typical that scored 222 2/8 points.
During the 2000-01 season Kelly Kathleen Watson of San Antonio won the high-fenced division with a 21-pointer that grossed 228 1/8 points. It was killed in Kendall County.
The thing that keeps these high-scoring bucks out of the Boone and Crockett record book is that they were killed on high-fenced ranches. The Boone and Crockett Club - the official keeper of North American big-game records - doesn't recognize bucks killed behind game-proof fences.
If you take away the sticker points and drop tines on the buck Wascom killed, the rack would have a typical 10-point frame scoring 183 points. It picked up right at 32 inches with the stickers and drops to boost the non-typical score to 215 1/8, according to Wascom.
As I said, Wascom is not your ordinary deer hunter. He makes it a point to go after really big bucks. This past season he had two leases on some primo South Texas real estate. Both are professionally managed for trophy whitetail hunting.
That kind of deer hunting property in Texas would cost anyone a pretty penny, but if you are into the hunt for big bucks, that's not a factor.
"Some people buy boats and fish; others join the country club," says Wascom. "I hunt for trophy bucks."
Although this buck was his best by far, Wascom says he has killed some high-scoring deer in past seasons. He has also got an 11-point typical on the wall that scored 181 points.
By the way, if you want to see photographs of some of the giant bucks entered in these contests, go to www.dfgwildlifesupply.com or to www.loscazadores.com (warning: this site contains numerous pop-up ads). Both sites are loaded with photos and information on where and when the big bucks were taken.
Something else you might want to do is to type "South Texas big-buck contests" into an Internet search engine. It'll take you to all sorts of contests. Many have photos and data on the kills. You might be surprised at where some of the biggest Texas bucks came from, and when they were tagged.
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