The details were still cloudy at press time, but word on the street is that eastern Texas has produced a record book whitetail that ranks as the highest scoring open range non-typical ever reported statewide in the 22-year history history of the Texas Big Game Awards program.
Run jointly by the Texas Wildlife Association and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TBGA is a hunter/landowner recognition program intended to promote quality big game management practices across the state. Deadline for entering deer taken during the 2013-14 season falls on Feb. 15.
TBGA coordinator Justin Dreibelbis always receives an influx of entries from tardy hunters as the deadline closes in, but it doesn’t seem likely that another score sheet will show up in his mailbox with numbers remotely close to this one. Not this year, anyway.
The buck in question was killed in Houston County by Mark Lee of Crosby. Dreibelbis said Lee’s score sheet arrived in late January and was entered in the TBGA data base on Jan. 31. The final tally may shock you.
The buck, a 31 pointer, registered a Boone and Crockett gross score of 278 5/8 and 268 4/8 after deducts for lack of symmetry. Dreibelbis has yet to see a photograph of the deer, but he did say the rack has been taped by an official B&C scorer.
Only two other deer have ever been reported to TBGA with higher scores than the Lee buck. Both of those bucks were taken off a 4,200-acre high fence ranch in Webb County in South Texas.
That said, the Lee buck will rank as the No. 3 TBGA high fence/low fence buck of all-time. It also supplants the San Jacinto County whopper taken last season by bowhunter A.J. Downs of Conroe as the low fence TBGA state record for rifle or bow.
Dreibelbis says he is limited on the amount of information that he can release about the deer, because Lee has asked him to keep it confidential. However, he did say the the deer was taken by rifle on Sept. 28 on a piece of property that is under a Managed Lands Deer program that allows for rifle hunting before the general season gets underway.
Dreibelbis also released a few particulars from buck’s score sheet. The figures indicate the deer is a main frame 10 pointer with main beam measurements of 18 7/8 inches and 20 2/8 inches, a 20 1/8 inch inside spread and 117 7/8 inches of abnormal growth.
Knowing what I know about Texas deer hunters, cell phone cameras and the Internet age, it boggles my mind that a hunter could kill such an incredible deer so early in the season and manage to keep it totally under wraps until now.
What remains even more of a mystery is why Lee chose to enter the buck in a highly publicized hunter/landowner recognition program if he doesn’t want people to know anything about it.
Hopefully, more details on this magnificent animal will come available soon.
By Matt Williams