By Scott Bestul
Iowa is well-known as a destination for serious whitetail hunters, but this month the Hawkeye State coughed up an unusual trophy: A trophy buck still velvet-clad in November!
Georgia bowhunter Chris Rivers ventured north to hunt his 40-acre property the first week of November. His first afternoon on stand, he spotted several bucks feeding on a 2-acre food plot; among them the tremendous whitetail pictured below. Chris decided to focus his efforts on this deer, knowing he had two weeks of prime rut hunting ahead. Only two days later, the buck approached within easy bow range, and Chris made good on the 15-yard shot.
Then things got weird. As he tracked the deer, Chris spotted another buck standing in the timber. This deer, a 2-1/2 year old buck, saw Chris coming and stood his ground. Then the buck walked to within 10 yards and left only when Chris talked to it in a loud, clear voice. After the smaller buck left, Chris saw his deer lying not far from where he’d first spotted the aggressive buck. Puncture wounds to his buck’s ribcage proved that the younger buck had been goring Chris’ dead trophy!
Sometimes, bucks that don’t shed velvet are antlered does or hermaphrodites, but Chris said his buck had both testicles. “I did notice a really strong rotten smell when I field dressed him, and I didn’t gut shoot him,” he notes. “All I can think is that he had some injury awhile back that prevented him from shedding his velvet.”
Regardless of the cause, this velvet buck could rank extremely high in the Pope & Young record books.
The super 6X5 gross-scored 186-5/8” and may net in the mid-160’s when the 60-day drying period ends in January. According to my research, this would place this amazing buck among the top 7 or 8 typical velvet whitetails recognized by P&Y. Congrats to Chris!