News Hound archive: Through Dec. 15, 2006

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    posted Dec. 15, 2006

    7-legged Wisconsin deer story goes global

    I guess it was bound to happen; the story we blogged yesterday about the freaky Wisconsin deer with dual sex organs and seven legs has grown, uh, some significant legs.

    The self-confirmed backwoods hermit who ran over the unique specimen — and subsequently fixed it for dinner — says he's been contacted by news agencies from around the globe about his wild story.

    Rick Lisko told his local paper yesterday that he was a little nervous about doing an anticipated interview with the BBC last night.

    "I'm overwhelmed, man," Lisko told the Fond du Lac Reporter. "I'm a little nervous. I don't know what I'm going to say."

    In late November Lisko struck a young buck with his pickup while driving up the mile-long lane leading to his secluded, 1850s restored log cabin. Upon inspection, he found the button buck had three- to four-inch little hoofed legs growing from the rear legs and another growing off a front leg.

    Not only was Lisko overwhelmed by the reaction to the story when it hit the papers, airwaves and Internet yesterday, so was the local newspaper that originally broke the story and ran the only photos of Lisko holding the deer's legs.

    By early Thursday evening, the posted article appearing on the Fond du Lac newspaper's Web site had attracted upwards of a half-million hits in less than a day.

    Rhonda Severson, Lisko's better half, said her man is enjoying his so-called 15 minutes of fame. The couple figures things will quiet down in a few days and he can go back to his quiet life spent hunting and crafting household items from deer antlers.

    "CBS World News called and wanted us to e-mail them photos, but we don't have a computer," Severson said.


    posted Dec. 14, 2006

    A year for freaky deer

    Regular ESPNOutdoors.com News Hound readers may recall a recent blog about the whitetail deer bagged by a young Illinois hunter that sported a fifth leg — complete with a hoof — growing off the top of a front appendage.

    In addition, there have been several published reports from across the country about hunters taking antlered does this year.

    From Wisconsin this week comes perhaps the freakiest of freaky deer stories of the year.

    In fact, in my book, it's one of the wildest wild critter tales I've ever come across.

    Rick Lisko, who lives near Waucousta, Wis., has taken numerous deer with a bow and arrow. But his most memorable one fell to his pickup truck in late November.

    Lisko told the Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper that he struck a young buck while traveling up his mile-long driveway. When he got out to inspect the animal, he found it had three- to four-inch little hoofed legs growing from the rear legs and another growing off a front leg.

    And, though the deer was fatally injured, Lisko said the appendages quivered, eerily.

    "It kind of gives you the creeps when you look at it," Lisko said.

    And the story gets weirder, yet, because Lisko claims when he field-dressed the nub-antlered deer it contained the reproductive organs of both male and female ungulate.

    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officers who came to Lisko's house to tag the deer could not verify if the deer was indeed asexual after it had been dressed, but they confirmed it was a bona fide rarity.

    "I have never seen anything like that in all the years that I've been working as a game warden and being a hunter myself," said warden Doug Bilgo.

    "It wasn't anything grotesque or ugly or anything. It was just unusual that it would have those little appendages growing out like that."

    Lisko, who isn't accustomed to wasting good venison, offered the local reporter his final word on the weird deer.

    "It was tasty," he said.


    Hunting blind in Texas?

    A Texas lawmaker received more attention than he bargained for this week after he filed a bill for the state's 2007 legislative session that would allow legally blind persons to use laser sighting devices for hunting.

    Rep. Edmund Kuempel, a Seguin, Texas, Republican, said laser sights would allow blind hunters to legally shoot game animals with the aid of a spotter or another sighted person.

    Currently, such sighting devices are not allowed for hunting in Texas.

    "This will open up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great," Kuempel said in his announcement.

    But not everyone — especially many among the mainstream press — thought Kuempel's legislation was a good idea.

    The legislator told his local newspaper, The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise, that he's received calls spanning the globe, and it's obvious to him that many don't understand his motivation — or hunting, for that matter.

    "I've had calls from Great Britain, the Netherlands, New York — from all around the world," he said.

    "Many people are under the misconception that blind people can't hunt right now, and that's not true. They can't get a driver's license, so they can't drive themselves out there. But they can hunt."

    Kuempel said some reporters were obviously intent on giving his issue a humorous or anti-gun twist, but he insists his bill is all about hunting and access.

    "Some of them I've talked to, it's obvious they don't hunt or don't like guns," the lawmaker said.

    "I consider this an access issue, and I consider it an environmental issue — about enabling more people to get out in the woods and enjoy nature and enjoy this sport."

    Kuempel noted that his research shows 15 states currently allow the visually impaired to use laser sights with assistance of a spotter.


    posted Dec. 13, 2006

    Researcher, activist allegedly harasses Minnesota bear hunter

    A well-known Minnesota black bear researcher and sometimes controversial activist has been charged with harassing a bear hunter during a September confrontation in the field.

    Lynn Rogers, a Ph.D. biologist who heads the non-profit Wildlife Research Institute based in Ely, Minn., admitted to authorities he confronted hunter Kevin Nathan on Sept. 2, after Nathan legally shot and killed a bear the researcher had purportedly been studying.

    An Associated Press story appearing in today's Winona Daily News reports Nathan said he and his hunting partners spoke with Rogers prior to their hunt and promised not to shoot any bear wearing a tracking collar.

    The bear Nathan shot was collarless.

    The AP report indicates Rogers berated and swore at Nathan after the hunter mocked the researcher's female graduate assistant for grieving and openly crying over the bruin's carcass.

    "He had just taken a cheap shot at an easy bear and then was telling us what a hunter he was, and I told him what I thought about his hunting," Rogers told the AP.

    Nathan acknowledged that seeing a woman weeping over a dead bear seemed rather foolish.

    "You're taking it too far if you're making pets out of these wild animals," he said. "That's wrong."

    To say Rogers is far from a hunter's advocate is an understatement.

    He has spoken at seminars sponsored by anti-hunting groups like the Humane Society of the United States.

    In addition, during the height of New Jersey's black bear hunting controversy in March 2003, he served as keynote speaker for The N.J. Black Bear Conference entitled, "Peaceful Coexistence in Our Modern World."

    The AP story also notes Rogers' past run-ins with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

    In 1992, the DNR revoked his bear research permit, alleging that he illegally killed two cubs. He also has butted heads with wildlife officials and biologists over issues ranging from forest management to allegations he sexually harassed women researchers and volunteers.

    If convicted of the harassment charge, Rogers could be fined as much as $1,000 and spend up to 90 days in jail. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 29.


    Trail cam nails Show Me cougar

    A deer hunter's trail camera and a subsequent on-site search for tracks by wildlife authorities has confirmed the existence of a mountain lion near the north-central Missouri town of Chillicothe.

    When Joe Neis checked his trail camera Saturday, he discovered that instead of taking a photo of a big whitetail buck the remote unit had captured the distinct image of an adult mountain lion two days earlier.

    Neis contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation, which dispatched its Mountain Lion Response Team to the scene.

    The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune reports today that Dave Hamilton, the state furbearer biologist who heads the special team, indicated a big, wild feline indeed paid a visit to the area.

    The finding marks the ninth confirmed mountain lion in the Show Me State in the past 15 years.

    The last confirmed cougar in the state was by way of a vehicle fatality in 2003. Another hunter's trail camera helped confirm an immature lion in 2001.

    In a recent article about the Missouri Mountain Lion Response Team, Hamilton notes that since the special group was formed in 1996, it has received "hundreds and hundreds" of mountain lion sighting reports.

    With only nine reports that can truly be proven during that period of time, a major part of Hamilton's job has been spent dispelling rumors that invariably get started at local coffee shops, sporting-goods stores and (naturally) the Internet.

    "Hundreds of eyewitness accounts, second-hand testimony and other stories circulate in communities across Missouri, causing lots of discussion and concern," Hamilton writes.

    "In the search for evidence, however, it is important to distinguish between a reported sighting and a 'confirmed' mountain lion report."

    And the answer to one of his most commonly asked questions?

    "Despite rumors, the Department has never stocked mountain lions and will not do so in the future," Hamilton said.


    posted Dec. 12, 2006

    Midwest hunters turn up more meth labs, chemical dumps

    I've blogged here in the past about the disconcerting existence of those involved with illegal, clandestine methamphetamine-making operations in our forests and backcountry, where they may inevitably clash with those of us who hunt, fish and recreate there.

    Yesterday's USA Today newspaper addressed this growing problem in its article "Meth labs abundant this hunting season."

    According to the news report, hunters afield during this fall's various hunting seasons have discovered abandoned meth labs and chemical dumps in numerous states, including Michigan, Arkansas, Indiana and Tennessee.

    In addition, more state game agencies and hunting organizations are warning hunters of the dangers associated with those so-called "tweakers" who run the drug-making operations, as well as with the toxic chemicals associated with the drug manufacturing.

    A hunting handbook published by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks warns that approaching meth users while wearing "camouflage clothing and carrying a firearm can be a recipe for disaster."

    The South Dakota booklet advises hunters to watch for lye, iodine and brake cleaner, as well as plastic coolers with hoses, gas cylinders and stained coffee filters.

    Indeed, it seems tragically ironic that the problem appears to be most profound in generally rural, middle America, where one would think basic conservative values and lifestyles would prevent the spread of this disturbing and personally destructive trend.

    But in the upper Midwest, where hunting and outdoor values are engrained as deeply as anywhere on the planet, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association sponsors public-service radio spots warning hunters to watch for meth operations while afield.

    It's a disturbing sign of our times.


    Study confirms waste water's affect on fish: Boys will be girls

    A continuing study being conducted at the University of Colorado has confirmed what many fisheries biologists have believed for several years — that chemicals passing through municipal wastewater treatment plants before returning to the natural ecosystem can alter the sexual traits of fish.

    In 2004, University of Colorado integrative physiology professor David Norris discovered fish found below the Boulder, Colo., treatment plant's outflow pipe were changing from male to female.

    Since that time, Norris, an associate and U.S. Geological Survey scientists have used a mobile laboratory to measure treatment-plant effluent for certain chemicals, predominantly human estrogen.

    The scientists believe the chemicals affecting fish gender originate from excreted birth-control hormones, natural female hormones and detergents flushed down toilets and drains.

    In the ecosystem, they are known as "endocrine disrupters," settling into cell receptors and derailing natural chemical communications.

    Norris' original study below the Boulder Wastewater Treatment Plant indicated that 90 percent of the white suckers swimming downstream of the facility were female. Upstream, the split was a normal 50/50.

    The Scripps-Howard News Service reports that Norris' current research uses fathead minnows in separate tanks--one filled with pure upstream creek water; the other with varying degrees of wastewater plant effluent.

    The results?

    "The males were feminized in seven days (in the effluent)," Norris said. "You don't need a Ph.D. to sex them."

    According to the news story, hydrologists believe the new study will help convince skeptics that treated effluent is responsible for similar fish genetic disruptions in the Potomac River and elsewhere.

    "We were excited to get these results, but at the same time we're a little bit appalled at what we've seen," Norris said.


    posted Dec. 11, 2006

    8-point buck crashes police cruiser-training course

    A couple of fresh recruits for the Abington, Mass., Police Department were engaged in emergency vehicular-control training at a private track last week when they received a driving skill test that wasn't included in their instruction manual.

    Rookies Matthew Owings and Antonio Gentile were driving approximately 50 mph on a cone-marked slalom course when an 8-point whitetail buck dashed in front of their vehicle.

    The ensuing collision severely damaged the training cruiser and deployed the vehicle's front airbags.

    The two troopers-in-training were subsequently treated for minor injuries.

    The buck wasn't as fortunate, becoming venison steaks for one of the agencies participating in the training.

    Abington Police Chief David Majenski told the Patriot Ledger newspaper that the training is designed to hone police cruiser driving skills; including backing up, turning, driving in slow-speed and higher-speed pursuits, stopping and skidding.

    Next year, they might want to expand the curriculum to include avoiding deer on the highway.


    Congress sends fishing reform bill to president

    In action just hours before the recess of the 2006 lame-duck Congressional session, lawmakers approved the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Sustainable Fisheries Act, legislation that has been in the works for nearly two years.

    The final language of the act, which passed the Senate on Thursday and the House early Saturday, was generally seen as a compromise between sportfishing, commercial fisheries and environmental interests.

    President Bush has indicated he will sign the legislation.

    The bill requires science-based no-fishing zones and creates a review process to determine when limits are no longer necessary.

    In addition, extensive provisions on individual fishing quotas for commercial fleets are created, as well as strengthened enforcement to fight illegal international fishing.

    Principals with the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the group that lobbied on behalf of saltwater sportfishing interests, said they were generally pleased with the outcome of the legislation, particularly the requirement for the federal Fishery Management Councils to recognize the important economic contributions of sportfishing when determining allocations.

    "Both houses of Congress, with strong leadership from Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Congressmen Richard Pombo (R-CA) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ), have crafted a well-balanced bill," said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman.

    "This new law provides a sound basis for improving fisheries conservation and management for the enjoyment of future generations of anglers."

    The American Sportfishing Association reports saltwater anglers contribute in excess of $31 billion annually to the nation's economy. Many communities in coastal states depend upon sportfishing to support their local economies.


    posted Dec. 8, 2006

    Ohio poacher has right day, wrong warden

    I've mentioned here in the past that I don't necessarily consider game poachers and wildlife law violators to be among the sharpest tools in the proverbial shed.

    Well, at least one scofflaw from Ohio tried to get away with illegally taking a trophy deer by choosing one day in the calendar year that most folks in that part of the country wouldn't be caught dead in the woods — or away from their living rooms, for that matter.

    Court records show that Steve Niese, 24, was charged — and subsequently convicted — of shooting a deer with an illegal weapon (a rifle), during a closed season and without landowner permission on Saturday, Nov. 18.

    Pay particular attention to that date, folks.

    Why? Because if you reside within two or three states of Ohio, you know on that Saturday the Ohio State University Buckeye football team met their devil incarnate team from the north, the University of Michigan Wolverines, in a game that would ultimately decide the No. 1 college football team in the country.

    Besides, in the Buckeye State, three things are important: Family, religion and OSU football — and not necessarily in that order.

    The venerable outdoor writer from the Toledo Blade, Steve Pollick, reports that Niese was sentenced in Findlay Municipal Court this week to 90 days in jail with 60 days suspended and fined $550. His hunting privileges were suspended for three years. He was also ordered to forfeit a .30/06 rifle, the deer and its trophy rack.

    The massive rack green-scored about 173 inches, according to the arresting state wildlife officer, Kirk Kiefer, who responded to the scene of the crime on a tip from a concerned citizen.

    Kiefer, it seemed, was about the only Ohio resident (besides our convicted poacher) who wasn't perched in front of a television that Saturday afternoon.

    "Maybe the guy thought it was a good time to poach a deer because Ohio State and Michigan were playing," Kiefer told the Toledo Blade.

    "Unfortunately (for the poacher), I'm from Indiana and could care less."

    Oh, yeah. Go Bucks!


    Hunting, fishing gear among top-selling sporting goods items

    Data released this week from the National Sporting Goods Association shows a healthy upward trend in the sales of hunting, firearms, fishing and archery equipment over figures from the previous year.

    The new statistics show that hunting gear and firearm sales topped $3.3 billion in 2005. Only golf and exercise equipment performed better, with sales of $3.4 billion and $5.2 billion, respectively.

    The hunting and firearm figures exhibit an increase of 6 percent over 2004 numbers.

    Fishing tackle sales also showed a 6 percent increase in the past year, reaching $2.1 billion in total sales.

    In addition, archery equipment sales showed a marked increase, growing 9 percent to reach $362.3 million.

    Within the hunting and firearms category, hunting footwear sales saw a 7 percent increase and sales of hunting-related apparel saw a 4 percent gain. Shotgun sales increased by 10.5 percent for a total of $667.9 million, handgun sales rose 8.5 percent to $630.7 million and rifle sales were up 2.7 percent to $849.2 million.


    posted Dec. 7, 2006

    Nonnative pike chowing down on Montana trout

    As far as fisheries managers are concerned, the Northern pike is perhaps the most fear-inspiring nonnative species.

    In waters where the fish has been illegally introduced, it can wreak havoc with the native fish populations, especially trout.

    Biologists in California have tried for years, albeit unsuccessfully, to eradicate illegally introduced pike in Lake Davis after the voracious fish decimated trout numbers in the high-mountain locale.

    Now a study conducted on Montana's upper Flathead River indicates pike consume nearly 7,000 Westslope cutthroat trout and 3,000 threatened bull trout there annually.

    According to an article appearing in the Bigfork Eagle, Northern pike were illegally introduced into the Flathead River system in 1953.

    In the early 1970s, pike were illegally introduced into the upper Flathead River drainage, later becoming part of the sport fishery there.

    The report, conducted by University of Idaho professors and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Fisheries concludes that Northern pike may be negatively impacting the native trout populations in the research area.

    "Bucket biologists stuck (pike) in rivers and lakes and other places we didn't want them," said Bruce Farling, executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited, which partially funded the research.

    "The pike then escaped to other waters and then spread."

    The migratory nature of the trout populations make them even more vulnerable to the pike as they travel from Flathead Lake into the river systems in the spring and back to the lake waters in the fall.

    When the trout travel, the pike are waiting.

    "They go in there, and then they meet all these teeth," Farling said.


    Bear-in-cornfield photo mystery solved: It's Wisconsin!

    If you're like thousands of other hunters and outdoor types who receive email, you probably have seen the photographs of a black bear found denning in an unnamed cornfield.

    A farmer discovered the critter while harvesting his crop with a combine.

    In accompanying email stories, the photo series was rumored to have originated in several states, including Illinois, where (as we all know) there is no native population of bruins.

    The rumor proved so rampant in the Land of Lincoln that the state department of Natural Resources issued a press release last week hoping to stem the onslaught of phones calls and email inquiries.

    My buddy Jeff Lampe, outdoor writer for the Peoria Journal-Star finally resorted to begging readers of his blog to stop sending the photos to him.

    Thankfully, we can now, with real authority, announce that the source and location of the infamous "bear in the cornfield" photos has been confirmed.

    And it's Wisconsin.

    Reporter John Brewer of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that the story and photos originated on Troy DeRosier's dairy farm, located in Osceola, Wis.

    While combining 40 acres of corn Oct. 26, DeRosier's machine tipped into a deep hole. He assumed it was an empty badger hole — he'd come across them before — but then he heard breathing and pawing.

    Instead of a badger hole, a wheel on the combine lodged in the 5-foot-deep den of a black bear.

    And the nearly 300-pound animal wanted out.

    "We didn't know what kind of mood he was going to be in," DeRosier said, "so we did shoot him there."

    He told the reporter the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was consulted for permission to dispatch the bruin.

    In the meantime, Nancy DeRosier arrived on the scene and began taking photos of the incident.

    "I just sent them to friends of ours down in (Arizona) and a few of my brothers and sisters up here," Nancy DeRosier said. "But as it went along, the stories got changed."

    Changed? I'd say so.

    And those, as they say, are the bear facts.

    Oh, yeah, isn't the Internet great?


    posted Dec. 6, 2006

    Comeback carp is a record, again

    American sport anglers often are surprised when they first discover that one of the favorite quarries of their European counterparts, especially those in Great Britain, is the carp — a species often looked down upon in the States.

    Indeed, the old bugle mouth is the target of catch-and-release anglers across much of Europe, and is equally popular among tournament fishermen.

    Gary Hagues, a golf pro from Derbyshire, England, enjoys his time off the course by hunting big carp.

    In fact, Gary The Golfer (as his angler buddies call him) has held the record for heaviest European mirror carp two different times.

    And that's with the same fish.

    Last year, Hagues landed a record 83½-pound carp after a 30-minute battle at Rainbow Lakes in Bordeaux, France.

    Then, last week, Hagues returned to the French lake, where he landed and released the same record fish (photo appears at link), which this time weighed 87 pounds and 2 ounces.

    "It was as strong-willed as it was the year before," Hagues, 34, told The Sun of London. "Maybe it will get even bigger."

    Though the British golfer/carp angler probably doesn't know a wit about America's favorite pastime, he might want to subscribe to the favorite mantra of Chicago Cubs fans:

    Wait till next year.


    North Carolina backs away from Sunday hunting

    North Carolina hunters who believed their state was finally poised to enter the 21st century and do away with a draconian "blue law" that has been in effect since colonial days were likely disappointed with today's decision by the Wildlife Resources Commission.

    During its regular meeting this morning, the commission backed away from its earlier commitment to support Sunday hunting in North Carolina. Hunting on Sunday continues to be against the law in a handful of eastern seaboard states.

    Though news of the commission's move does not reveal many details, the Associated Press reports the panel decided in an earlier vote Wednesday to recommend a change in Sunday hunting regulations to state lawmakers, then reversed its ruling following a break.

    A study presented to the commission revealed that 65 percent of North Carolinians opposes Sunday hunting, while just 25 percent support it.

    The study also indicated that an increase in the sale of hunting licenses would create the need for as many as 72 additional game wardens.


    posted Dec. 5, 2006

    Shoot and season birds at the same time?

    Here at the ESPNOutdoors.com News Hound, we're always on the lookout for new and innovative hunting, fishing and outdoor-related products.

    Still, we're not sure what to think about a new item recently brought to our attention.

    According to information contained on the company Web site, Season Shot is poised to introduce new shotgun ammo that will not only bring down your quarry in flight, but season it with your choice of spices at the same time.

    No, really.

    The company catchphrase is, "Shoots, Kills, Seasons."

    The Season Shot Web site notes the pellets contained in its shotgun shells are composed of "tightly packed seasoning bound by a fully biodegradable food product."

    "The seasoning is actually injected into the bird on impact, seasoning the meat from the inside out," according to the site.

    "When the bird is cooked, the seasoning pellets melt into the meat, spreading the flavor to the entire bird. Forget worrying about shot breaking your teeth and start wondering about which flavor shot to use!"

    Flavors include Cajun, Lemon Pepper, Garlic, Teriyaki and Honey Mustard.

    If you've ever busted a tooth on shot that's remained inside a duck or quail breast, Season Shot might sound like a pretty cool idea.

    But, I don't know. The way I shoot, I'm convinced I'd send far more pepper and garlic harmlessly into the air than into my oven.


    California places sweeping limits on ocean sportfishing

    Despite intense last-minute opposition from sportfishing groups and individual anglers, California wildlife regulators recently agreed to expand the country's most extensive network of marine protected areas, effectively banning or severely restricting fishing across hundreds of square miles of the state's coastal fisheries.

    As reported here last month, the California Fish and Game Commission agreed this summer to a federal plan to create 29 marine-protected areas, encompassing nearly 200 square miles between Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.

    Sport anglers and commercial fishermen said they were blindsided by the plan, because it imposes restrictions beyond the "preferred alternative" plan originally supported by the Department of Fish and Game.

    The first chain of refuges, covering about 200 square miles and stretching from Santa Barbara to Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, is set for implementation early in 2007. Similar restricted zones along popular fishing areas of northern and southern California will become effective at later dates.

    Many anglers were embittered by the Commission's August announcement, as well as how angler groups were treated during November hearings.

    "They felt betrayed by the process," said Bob Fletcher, Sportfishing Association of California president. "They felt that all their input was ignored."

    "It was a slap in the face to all of the fishermen who worked so hard on this process in good faith and were told they'd be listened to," said Jim Martin, West Coast regional director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. "It felt like we were up against a firing squad."


    posted Dec. 4, 2006

    Bruiser buck will likely crush 20-year Maryland record

    This time of year, nothing gets Internet forums and outdoor blogs buzzing like photos and stories about big bucks that are being taken by hunters across the country.

    As you've read here and elsewhere, the nature of the Web often can lead to hunting tales that sometimes are less than trustworthy (like the story last month about the alleged world-record bull elk that turned out to be from a Canadian game farm).

    Here's one that's the real deal, and it comes with an awesome photo, to boot.

    Maryland hunter Bill Crutchfield Jr. shot a massive 26-point buck last week that appears well on its way to the state record books, surpassing the Maryland non-typical record by nearly 40 inches.

    Crutchfield took the deer near his Newburg, Md., home last Monday with a single shotgun round, according to a Maryland Department of Natural Resources press release.

    On Tuesday, Maryland Natural Resources Police personnel confirmed the buck has 13 scorable points on each side and a preliminary Boone and Crockett non-typical score of 268 5/8 inches.

    If the scoring holds to any degree during the 60-day required drying period and becomes official, Crutchfield's buck would not only be a state record but would become the largest non-typical ever taken on the East coast and among the top-20 all-time largest non-typical deer in the world.

    Crutchfield's buck field-dressed at 150 pounds — a rather unremarkable weight for such incredible headgear. It had a 22-inch inside spread and massive 25-inch main beams, sporting more than 5 inches of circumference mass along each beam-length.

    The previous Maryland non-typical record was taken in November 1987 by Jack Poole during the firearms season and scored 228 4/8 inches.

    Bob Beyer, Maryland's associate director for game management, not only measured Crutchfield's huge deer, but also scored the standing record 20 years ago.

    "This new record buck is truly remarkable and is a perfect testament to the superb potential of Maryland's deer management program and the quality of our state's deer herd and habitat," Beyer said.

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    About the author: J.R. Absher shares his perspective while blogging about hunting, fishing, shooting sports, sportsmen's issues and the occasional offbeat outdoor tale. In more than 30 years of writing and a lifetime of enjoying the outdoors, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, photographer, mule wrangler, wilderness packer, magazine editor, political consultant, hunting-equipment copywriter, public-relations director and sportsman's advocate. You may contact him at jrabsher@psci.net.

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