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Mark Owen Explains the Future of Trophy Deer Hunting In Ohio

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Editor’s Note: Twenty-seven-year-old Mark “Buck” Owen of Wooster, Ohio, found and took a buck of a lifetime wearing Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity camouflage. He says, “I really like Mossy Oak, because I am also a turkey hunter and like a more-open pattern. I wear the camo I use for deer hunting to hunt turkeys. I’ve been wearing Mossy Oak for 6 years. I was in a sporting-goods store and saw a really-nice coat. I didn’t even look at the camo pattern. I just liked the way the camo looked. I knew it would fit into the terrain I was hunting. So, I bought the coat. When I learned it was Mossy Oak, I started buying my pants, shirts and the rest of my hunting clothes in Mossy Oak. I stuck with the pattern and company, because my success has been in Mossy Oak. I believe that when something’s working for you, you don’t need to leave it. I’ve been a fan of Mossy Oak for a long time, and I see no reason to change.” Owen used his PSE Dream Season DNA bow to take the big buck. The story of how he found the deer, how he got permission to take the deer, and the agony of his defeat before the thrill of his victory makes this story unusual, exciting and a dream come true. This week Owen gives us the secrets of finding big bucks and getting permission to hunt them, as well as the techniques he used to pinpoint when and where that buck would appear, and the way he took this 2nd biggest Ohio bow buck ever.

The buck’s rack hasn’t been officially scored by Pope and Young. However, it was officially scored by Buckmaster. According to Buckmaster’s scoring system, the buck had a 256 gross score. Buckmaster didn’t give any credit for the inside spread of the main beam on its scoring system, so the buck officially scored 239-7/8 inches. In Buckmaster’s record keeping system, this puts the buck at number 13 of all deer harvested with a compound bow. I’m also having the buck scored by Pope and Young, because Boone and Crockett doesn’t recognize the buck’s third pedicle. Therefore, they won’t score the buck’s third pedicle. 

BuckOwen5_llIn the State of Ohio, this buck scores as the number two archery buck ever taken. The only buck ahead of my buck in the state record books is the Beatty buck, officially scored at 304-6/8 (I believe). On the Pope and Young measuring system, my buck should score either in the top 15 or top 10 bucks ever harvested with a compound bow. I’m taking the buck to the Bow Hunting Supershow held in Columbus, Ohio, March 21-23, 2014. He will be shown at the Greatest Buck of the Year competition sponsored by “Outdoor Life” and “Field and Stream” magazines at the Deer and Turkey Expo. I took the buck to the Archery Trade Association (ATA) show in Nashville, Tennessee, January 6-9, 2014 and already been in contact with someone who will replicate the buck’s antlers. So far, this is all the plans we have for this buck. 

But I don’t believe this is the end of our story. Quite a few landowners in this area have been managing their properties for trophy bucks. We are already starting to see some good 3-year old bucks. This section of Ohio has the soils, the food and the sanctuary to produce trophy bucks. I really believe that if we continue to pass up young bucks, as we have the last 3 years on many of the landowners’ properties, we will continue to see many more 3-1/2-year-old bucks and older coming from this region. Deer management for trophy bucks has been slow to catch on in my area of Ohio, because our deer grow so fast and so big. Many of our 2-year old bucks would be trophy bucks anywhere else that most hunters hunt. Let’s face it. Passing up a nice 8-point that scores 120-130 is really tough for any hunter, especially if you haven’t seen a buck that size, in the state where you hunt. But more landowners have begun to see the value of letting younger-age-class bucks walk. I feel certain we will have more big trophy bucks coming out of Ohio that are as big if not bigger than the buck I’ve taken. I really believe that our state has the potential to produce as many if not more trophy bucks as any other state, if we continue to manage our deer for older-age-class bucks. 

Day 4: How Mark Owen Took His Ohio Bow Buck That Scored 256

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