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Deer of the Day: Eric Barrett's 183-Inch Indiana Buck

eric_barrett_fHunter: Eric Barrett

Location: Brookville, Indiana

Gear: BowTech; Gold Tip arrows; G5 Montec; Scent-Lok clothing

Score: 183 inches


What's the deer hunter's greatest tool? Perseverance.


That was certainly the case for Eric Barrett during a 2011 bow hunt in Franklin County, Indiana.

It was the October archery season, and much like in every deer circle there were reports of giant bucks coming from all over. One in particular came from a joining farm that Barrett hunted. The landowner had several trail cam photos, and even a video of the buck in velvet. Rumors of the buck's 30-inch spread fermented in Barrett's mind.

His intrigue couldn't be extinguished, as is the case for many avid whitetail hunters. Intrigue bordered obsession as Barrett burned through gallon after gallon of gas and hour after hour in hopes of just catching a glimpse of the buck. But it was to no avail. Barrett had nothing on the giant.

His frustration soon turned to jubilation as he received texts from the landowner and his son saying the buck was either at a pond near his house or across the field, close to Barrett's stands.


He waited for the mercury to dip as a storm front was slated to move into the area on Oct. 26, causing temperatures to drop through the afternoon hours enough to get the deer moving.

Rushing home from work that afternoon, Barrett headed straight to his stand about 40 yards from a picked cornfield. A few does traipsed through on their way to feed. It wasn't long before the wind and action picked up. A grunt from the nearby hill caught Barrett's attention as the giant he'd been hearing all about was pursuing a doe.

Following the same trail as the doe, the giant stopped in a spot that gave Barrett a clear 25-yard broadside shot. He drew back on his BowTech bow and settled the pin on his Copper John sight behind the buck's shoulder and released the Gold Tip arrow with a G5 Montec broadhead.


Everything looked great at the shot as the buck kicked and took off through the trees. After gathering his thoughts, Barrett climbed down from his stand and found his arrow. It was a clean pass through but there were signs of the buck being gut shot on the arrow. With light quickly fading and not wanting to push his luck, Barrett exited the field to return the following day and pick up the blood trail. A sleepless night followed as a flood of emotions understandably went through him.

The following morning he picked up the trail with his brother. There wasn't much blood to track as the previous night's rain washed away most of it. However, it was only a 60-yard walk before they came upon the buck.

It turned out that the rumors about this deer were pretty much dead-on. The inside spread measured 27 1/2 inches, with 12 scorable points. At 183 inches, this was by far the largest buck Barrett had ever killed.

Kyle Heuerman

Any serious whitetail hunter knows that it's not often that we get a second chance on the buck of a lifetime, or even a first chance for that matter. But luck was on the side of Kyle Heuerman and his girlfriend Jennifer Weaver when they put an arrow through this 196-inch Illinois brute.

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Joe Franz

We estimate he was 7 1/2 years old. That's based on photos from 2010, when he clearly wasn't over 3 1/2. When I got him he weighed over 300 pounds on the hoof, as suspected. Official B&C measurer Glen Salow came up with a 'green ' gross score of 258 7/8 inches. After the 60-day drying period, he again taped the rack. This time he got a gross non-typical score of 261 3/8, with a net of 230 7/8. The gross score evidently makes this the highest-scoring wild whitetail ever harvested on professional video.

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Jon Massie

Jon's no stranger to free-ranging whitetails across the central plains, having guided a number of clients to trophies and harvesting many big ones himself. In fact, going into 2013 he'd shot two net Boone & Crocketts: one a non-typical scoring over 200, the other a typical from public land. With such success behind him, Jon felt all of his hunting dreams already had come true. At least, he did until a buck he'd never seen showed up on one of his trail cameras.

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Tom Boyer

Knowing I couldn't even come to my knees without breaking the little concealment we had, I decided to lie on my left side, using my left elbow for as solid a rest as could be achieved within the slight incline of the old fencerow. But when I shouldered the rifle, the sight of the crosshairs oriented at a 10-4 o'clock angle was definitely a different look from the normal 12-6 position we all practice from. Even so, I didn't figure that would matter if I aimed at the right spot and squeezed off a clean shot. I settled the crosshairs where I needed to place the bullet and steadied the rifle. Whispering 'fire in the hole ' while floating the crosshairs on the spot, I gently squeezed the trigger until the recoil removed the buck from my view.

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Teddy's Buck

With a whopping 40 inches of non-typical growth, he has a gross Boone & Crockett score of 215 3/8. The rack's 21 6/8-inch inside spread certainly helps to show off its unique character. He was just a special deer, and very much a result of patience in both management and hunting.

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Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan was only 19 when, during the 2013 season, he arrowed an Arkansas buck of gigantic proportions. Like many of his fellow Arkansans, Ryan is a deer and duck fanatic. For several years, however, he gave up most of his duck season to lock horns with the world-class buck.

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Junior Key

Junior's outstanding whitetail is the biggest ever recorded from Monroe County, and he ranks as one of the Bluegrass State's top bucks from the 2013-14 season. This great non-typical also is the latest member of Kentucky's all-time Top 30 list.

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Mikell Fries

At 16 yards, Mikell took aim at the giant and released his arrow. In an instant, the shaft had passed through him. The deer instantly whirled and ran out of sight . . . but then, within seconds the archer heard him crash to the ground. 'I remained in the stand for several minutes to gather my thoughts and calm down, ' Mikell says. 'I'm sure the entire encounter only took a few minutes, but it seemed an eternity. '

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Bill Robinson

Three double-digit tines of 10 2/8 to 13 5/8 inches, plus 7 1/8- and 9 3/8-inch brows and a 21 3/8-inch inside spread, add plenty to this regal crown. Put everything together and you have a gross 9-point frame score of 193 6/8. That's as big as it sounds.

Typical asymmetry and 11 6/8 inches of abnormal points total 25 1/8 inches of deductions, so as a typical, the deer nets 'only ' 168 5/8. But the 8×5 rack's total gross score of 205 4/8 is much more reflective of its stunning size. Regardless of score, the Robinson buck is clearly a marvel of nature.

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Nick Drake

The action was fast and furious right from the get-go. At daybreak a doe busted through the cedar thicket with an eight-point suitor following close behind. The doe, however, wanted nothing to do with her pursuer and jumped into a nearby pond in an attempt to flee the buck. This, however, wasn't the last of the action. Nick continued to watch several bucks harass does throughout the morning, but chose not to take a shot at them.

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