April 10, 2008
BuckTracker: The Name Game
By Scott Bestul
A couple days ago, my friend Roger found a shed off a buck he knew well. Not only had Roger spotted the buck during scouting/glassing sessions last summer, but he had trail camera photos of the deer. My buddy nicknamed the buck “Mr. Ed” because its long face reminded him of the talking TV horse. And though Roger devoted much of his effort to killing the fine 8-point last fall, he never saw the buck. “Finding the antler was a highlight of my year,” Roger said. “I thought Mr. Ed had been killed by another hunter or hit by a car. Now I know he’s alive and I can go after him again.”
The Mr. Ed story got me to thinking about naming the deer we hunt. I have to admit to being pretty unimaginative on the few deer I’ve christened. A few years ago I went after “The Big 8,” a tall-tined buck that earned his nickname because he had—all together now—eight big points on his rack. I’ve been slightly more creative on a few others; “Picket Fence” and “Clyde” were both monster 12-points that humiliated me on a frequent basis. And last year I spotted “Lefty” in a bachelor group of six bucks while summer scouting. I lost a lot of sleep figuring out where to kill that deer, and when he finally showed up one evening I was shocked to see I’d misjudged him by, well, a whole bunch…so I let him walk. I’m anxious to see if Lefty made it through the fall and what he’ll be this year.
So all this got me to wondering about memorable bucks you guys and gals have chased. How do you name them? Tell me about your encounters and, if they occur, kills. Some of my favorite deer stories involve a hunter and a deer he knows well. A lot of these bucks are local legends that are old, wise or live in spots that make them very difficult to tag. Around here we’ve had deer named Garth and Moses, Bozo and Big Dan…..just to name a few. I’d like to hear about the names you give those special deer in your area!