"Like it’s predecessor, Old Rivals I, the second print in the Old Rivals series, Old Rivals II, is also based on a large non-typical whitetail buck. I not only saw this massive buck alive but also was fortunate enough to get him on videotape one evening. Another mature buck also inhabited the same area. The rival buck carried a wide 14-point rack including double brow tines.
These two bucks comprise the whitetail rivalry in Old Rivals II. Other rivalries include mid-fifties Ford and Chevy pickups, ISU/U of I mascots, Texaco/Sinclair, Firestone/Goodyear, Farm Bureau/NFO, and many others.
The big non-typical buck spent the fall of 1994 in a cedar thicket sanctuary. Excessive hunting pressure had caused him to go nocturnal. At night he could often be found feeding in a nearby alfalfa field with a number of other whitetails. Most hunters in the area took other deer or eventually gave up on the wise old buck, but one dedicated hunter persisted. Every evening during the last two weeks of Iowa’s late muzzleloader season, Jeff Tussey waited patiently for the old buck to come out to feed. The second to the last day of the season, Jeff was watching several deer feeding about 75 yards away when the big non-typical came out of the thicket. Jeff harvested the buck of a lifetime with a perfectly placed shot. The rival, typical buck, unfortunately, was apparently taken by a poacher. The headless carcass of a large buck was found in the area and the wide-racked buck was never seen again.
I was able to use a set of the typical’s shed antlers from the previous year as reference material for the painting. A highly detailed pencil study called the Tussey Non-typical was released as a matching number companion print to the paper lithograph limited edition prints of Old Rivals II.
I decided to use this same setting, illuminated by a winter sunset, as the backdrop for the 1999 Iowa Habitat Stamp. The two rooster pheasants, flying in the background of Old Rivals II, are th main rivals in the habitat print, while the bucks are hidden in the distance."
- Larry Zach
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