By Gordon Whittington
Ask deer hunters which U.S. state bordering the Atlantic has produced the highest-scoring buck, and you might be surprised at how wrong most of them are. Maine might well get more mentions than any other state. And that’s understandable, because the Pine Tree State has had more than its share of trophy whitetails over the years. But the correct answer actually is another “M” state, this one quite a distance farther south: Maryland.
The Charles County mega-buck Billy Crutchfield took with his shotgun on the third after-noon of the 2006 season is not only the highest-scoring buck from any East Coast state, at 268 1/8 B&C points, but also is among the most impressive from anywhere. The rack has “only” 28 scorable points, which is an amazingly low number for such a high score. Any time a whitetail buck scoring over 240 or so averages at least 10 inches of score per antler point, he’s exceptional all over — and that’s certainly the case with this one.
While the Crutchfield buck hasn’t been in hiding, he remains a far bigger and more historic deer than most hunters realize. And for that reason, I feel he belongs on this list of over-looked/underappreciated trophy whitetails.
Billy shot the monster with a shotgun while hunting in tidal marsh along the Potomac River, not too far south of Washington, D.C. The hunter had come close to getting the same buck the year before, but that encounter hadn’t quite worked out. In the long run, that “failure” worked to Billy’s advantage, as the buck was even bigger in ’06 than he had been when he got away in ’05. As they say, all’s well that ends well.
Chesapeake Bay is one of the nation’s oldest and most legendary spots for fishing and waterfowling. But as Billy Crutchfield showed, the region also can produce some amazing whitetails. The land is fertile, the climate moderate and the crops lush. So don’t be surprised to see another world-class buck come from Maryland, or even from little Delaware next door, in the near future.