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Democrat Big Buck Contest has stood the test of time

Posted 11/15/19

SULLIVAN COUNTY - For 46 years the yardstick by which all Sullivan and Wayne County bucks are measured has been the ‘Democrat' contest score.

Starting in 1974, the Sullivan County Democrat's Big …

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Democrat Big Buck Contest has stood the test of time

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SULLIVAN COUNTY - For 46 years the yardstick by which all Sullivan and Wayne County bucks are measured has been the ‘Democrat' contest score.

Starting in 1974, the Sullivan County Democrat's Big Buck Contest has scored more than 2,000 Sullivan County, NY and Wayne County, PA whitetail trophies and only one thing is for sure - you never know who will win.

The 2019 Democrat Big Buck Contests begin tomorrow in New York State and November 30 in Pennsylvania and run through the end of the regular firearm season (see ad, page 11B).

“It's been a great run - 46 years and going strong,” Sullivan County Demo­crat Publisher Fred Stabbert III said recently. “We have been getting heavier bucks - and bigger racks - since the new three-point law went into effect in New York in 2006.

“The ‘three-point law' is really working,” Stabbert said.

‘The three-point law' required hunters in Sullivan County to only harvest a buck which has at least three points on one side.

By not shooting smaller bucks - the 13-year law is designed to let smaller, younger bucks grow into larger, more mature deer.

The results are real.

Contest proves

the law is working

Will a 90 class buck ever be taken in Sullivan or Wayne County, PA?

With both counties now in the deer management program - PA started more than two decades ago - requiring hunters to only take bucks with at least three points on one side, the odds are a “Monster Buck” will be taken sometime soon which will eclipse the legendary ‘90' score in the Sullivan County Democrat's Big Buck Contest.

Since 2002 only four winners have scored below 79 - which is impressive.

Equally impressive, the average weight for the first 10 years of the heavy deer contest was169.4 lbs.

However, since the three-point rule went into effect, the average weight of the heavy deer contest winner has jumped to 185.83 lb. - a 9.7 percent increase.

Older deer with larger racks are also, for the most part, heavier deer.

New this year

There will be a new wrinkle in the 2019 Sullivan County Democrat Big Buck Contests.

In addition to the Grand Prize of a Free Mount for the Biggest Rack, courtesy of Rod's Taxidermy in Callicoon and cash prizes for the 2nd and 3rd place winners, the Democrat is adding some special awards.

“This year we decided to honor every person who entered their deer in our contests,” Stabbert said.

The Democrat will be giving a gun to one lucky hunter who enters this year's contest, all you have to do is enter (see ad, page 11B). There will a drawing at the end of the season for the gun along with other great prizes offered.

“It's our way of saying ‘Thank you' to all the hunters who have made our contest the No. 1 Big Buck Contest in New York,” Stabbert said. “Let's hope we set a new record for entries.”

There will also be a new measuring station in Monticello, Monticello Farm Home and Garden on Route 17B.

Good luck and safe hunting.

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Sullivan County's tale of the tape

The Sullivan County Democrat has been sponsoring a Big Buck Heavy Deer Contest for the past 45 years. Here are the winners of the Heavy Deer Contest for the past 22 years.

1997 - tie Paul Muhlig & Raymond Hummel - 145 lbs

1998 - Manny Anastasis - Liberty - 175 lbs.

1999 - Mark Chmura - Thompson - 9 pointer - 161 lbs

2000 - Manny Anastasis - Liberty - 192 lbs.

2001 - tie Raham Rothchild & Gene Ackerley - 176 lbs.

2002 - Albert Spence - Neversink - 180 lbs.

2003 - Charles DeHart Jr. - Forestburgh -10 points -Nov. 18 - 172 lbs.

2004 - Mike Neenan - Forestburgh - 8 points - 171 lbs

2005 - David Travis - Forestburgh - November 20 -11 points- 160 lbs.

2006* - Maria Menjivarv - Bethel - November 18 - 7 points - 162 lbs.

2007 - Betty Neer - Callicoon - 8 points - November 19 - 163 lbs

2008 - Gary VanValkenburg - Neversink - Nov. 16 - 10 points -179 lbs

2009 - Craig Hummel - Thompson - Nov. 23 - 9 points - 181 lbs

2010 - Jerry Dagostino - Thompson - Nov. 20 - 8 points - 175 lbs

2011 - Brian Fisher - Bethel - 10 points - 195 lbs

2012 - Kyle Matthews - Neversink - 7 pointer - 197 lbs

2013 - Leslie Edwards - Rockland - 10 points - 189 lbs

2014 - Chris Smith - Thompson - November 17 - 8 points - 178 lbs

2015 - Jason Stephenson - Bethel - November 23- 10 points - 174 lbs

2016 - Juan Arocho - Bethel - December 7 - 8 points - 205 lbs

2017 - Tod Burns - Thompson - December 10 - 8 points - 192 lbs

2018 - Steven Cappello - Bethel - November 20 - 8 points - 202 lbs

* Three-point rule, whereby hunters can only harvest bucks with three points or more on one antler, goes into effect in Sullivan County.

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