The original inspiration for Old Rivals I – Whitetail was a huge non-typical buck I saw in my headlights as I left a bowhunting only area in central Illinois in 1993. By the time the buck was finally taken in 1997 he was one of the most spectacular and well-known wild bucks ever hunted. The buck is usually referred to as the Mascoutin non-typical since part of his range included the Mascoutin State Park near Clinton Lake in Illinois. He was often seen and videotaped in the late summer when he fed in protein rich, soybean fields. My friend, Ron Willmore, was a biologist in the area for a local power company and was responsible for managing the deer herd on company land. While conducting a deer census by spotlight in the fall of 1994, he discovered the big non-typical in the midst of a violent battle with another mature buck, this one a large, typical ten-point. The battle lasted for several long minutes as both bucks ignored the spotlight and fought until they were both exhausted. After watching the tape of the epic battle I decided to put both deer in the painting and call it Old Rivals. Once I had the title I decided to include other classic rivalries in the design including John Deere/Farmall, Pepsi/Coke, Pioneer/Dekalb and others.
Nine of the big non-typical’s shed antlers have been found, the first being one side of his 1991 rack when he was a 2 ½ year old buck. Both sides were picked up in ’92, ’93 (the rack I saw him with), ’94, and ’95 (the rack I painted him with.) His 1995 rack carried 26 points, had an estimated 33 ½” outside spread and scored over 235 P&Y, gross. He was finally taken by a lucky bowhunter in 1996 when he was 7 ½ years old. His ’96 rack was smaller, grossing 230 5/8, netting 214 4/8 with 27 scorable points and a 33-inch outside spread.
- Larry Zach
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