Big Buck Contest Showcases Deer in the Region

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The 10th annual Big Buck Contest at Mountain Man Supplies and Pawn in Fayetteville showcased some of the best hunters in the region.

Ethan Kimball, 12, described shooting his top prize 10-point buck.

"We went over there and I was like, ‘Wow,’" Kimball said.

Kimball won first place in the youth division.

"Biggest deer I ever killed, and I'm happy for it," Kimball said.

Kendall Keen won the adult division top prize and is a first-time contestant.

"That's what every hunter strives for: to kill a big deer," Keen said.

Keen took down a 10-point buck and said he's been hunting for more than four decades.

"A good day came along, bucks were chasing does and I got lucky and shot him," Keen said.

Two women made it to the grand finale in a sport mostly dominated by men.

"You never know if you can beat anybody, so just try it," said Holly Griffin, 13, who finished in third place.

Hunters had to follow certain criteria in the buck contest, and scoring was based on a strict system.

"They have to be hunted and taken legally,” said Clint Gober, manager of Mountain Man. “Everything about it has to be legal based on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission standards."

The contest scores are based on the measurements of a buck's rack.

"There are additions and subtractions based on certain things, and so the biggest one isn't always the winner," Gober said.

Hunting enthusiasts entered in prize drawings, taking home everything from gift certificates to jewelry.

Gober said the goal is to showcase the quality of deer in the region.

"A lot of people think there is no big deer. Well, there are. You just have to know where to hunt for them, and that's the main reason we throw the contest," Gober said.

Kimball and Keen said if they catch a big buck next time around, they'll compete again.

Winners received rifles. Those in second place received muzzle loaders, and third-place finishers received gift certificates.

Contestants had to be licensed Arkansas hunters and follow federal guidelines to participate and keep the weapons.

Ethan Kimball, 12, wins first place.

Ethan Kimball, 12, wins first place.

Kendall Keen won first place in the adult division.

Kendall Keen wins first place in the adult division.