One for the record books: Best bucks in Ohio


Evenings are cooling. Friday night lights shine on local football fans.

The colors of fall have started to decorate foliage and will soon paint the season with a broad brush and a pallet of brilliance.


Add to all that the coming Ohio deer season, the time of year that every serious hunter awaits with baited breath — whatever that is. But the arrival of archery season is just the beginning.

Soon enough, cross bows and compound bows will turn to muzzle loaders and shotguns, and several other legal shooting means, as the hunting seasons progress.

And yes, harvesting deer is the activity, but there is more than venison on the minds of 99 percent of deer hunters. It is the promise of taking a trophy buck, a monster, a buck big enough to make the book, to enter Ohio’s Big Buck Club and hopefully the Boone and Crockett record book or another of the permanent records.

Yes, Ohio is big buck country and everyone who hunts knows it.

The what, where, and when of it all makes for good conversation, but to be truthful, some of Ohio’s top record bucks are taken by the most dedicated trophy hunters while others are downed by simple lucky hunters who happen to be in the right spot at the right time.

Ohio’s Big Buck Club recognizes the best bucks taken each year and maintains a telling record book, something every serious trophy hunter studies — and drools on.

Top bucks

Ohio’s top spot belongs to two huge “typical” bucks, each scoring over 201 inch headgear. One, killed in 1986 by bow, was taken in Clark County and the other was taken in 2004 by crossbow in Warren County.

The No. 3 Ohio big buck, a 198 1/8 incher, was killed in Muskingum County by a bow hunter in 2004 and No. 4 is a 2006 Wayne County buck measuring 193 1/8 inches that was downed by shogun.

A muzzleloader hunter killed number five, a 192 3/8 incher, in 2006 in Clinton County.

The next five bucks, completing the top 10 of Ohio Big Buck Club trophy deer were taken in Licking, Scioto, Lawrence, and Trumbull counties.

No. 9 and 10 each measured 190 2/8 inches.

Record book deer are truly monsters.

Understand that a big eight point buck seldom makes the 140 inch minimum for the registry in the Ohio Big Bucks Club book.

It is interesting, but hardly telling, that top Ohio record book bucks were taken from a wide swath of Ohio counties. Only a couple of the top 20 were taken in the same county.

Turn to the top “nontypical” record book and that doesn’t change.

No. 1 is a bow killed Green County 304 6/8 inch buck killed in 2000.

No. 2 came from Adams County in 2006 and No. 3 from Pike County in 1971.

The top 15 nontypical bucks each came from different counties, so there’s no pattern there either.

But what is evident is that there is no shortage of monster bucks in Ohio, and there is still room in the record books for more to be recorded.


A large number of records are held by hunters and their trophy bucks that were claimed in the last 15 years.

No wonder Ohio is a top destination for trophy hunters.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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