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Texas Lumberman Wins Big Buck Photo Contest
Winning Deer Bagged on Texas Ranch

By Staff
Date Posted: 3/1/2005

Plenty of jokes and tales – ‘tall’ tales and otherwise – abound about how ‘big’ things are in Texas.

            Bob Hixson made the point again. Bob, who hails from Carrizo Springs, Tex., was this year’s winner of the big buck photo contest with his submission of an 18-point buck he killed during this past 2004-05 hunting season.

            The contest, sponsored by Industrial Reporting Inc., which publishes Pallet Enterprise and TimberLine, was open to hunters in North America who subscribe to either magazine or are employed by businesses that receive a subscription. The winning big buck is chosen based solely on the size of the antlers as shown in the photograph submitted by the hunter. The only stipulation is that the antlers must have a minimum of eight points – and all visible in the photograph. Bob will receive the winning prize, a $100 gift certificate for Bass Pro Shops.

            Bob is the owner of Hixson Lumber Sales, which his father started in 1958. The company has 10 locations – seven in Arkansas, two in Texas and one in Illinois -- that include treating plants, planer mills and dry kilns. Primarily a softwood lumber business that produces a high volume of treated lumber, the company also sells pallet cut stock and hardwood cants.

            Bob has hunted since he was a boy growing up in Arkansas, but his winning deer had the biggest set of antlers he has ever taken on a deer.

            In fact, the antlers on his winning deer were rated the largest on a deer killed in Texas this past season in the low fence division. (Hunting on ranches in Texas, some are enclosed by low cattle fences while some are surrounded by high, 10-foot fences.) He also killed another deer in 1997 that was judged to be the third-biggest in the state.

            Bob was hunting with a 300 Ultra Mag, a custom rifle featuring a Remington action and equipped with a Leopold 3x12 scope. He fired once and the deer dropped in his tracks. He was hunting in brush country, standing on an overlook about 30 to 40 feet above the deer. The hunt took place on a 13,000-acre ranch that Bob owns and which hosts guided hunts. It was a day in late November about

            One of Bob’s employees on the ranch had seen the deer the previous day with the aid of binoculars. “He was completely flabbergasted,” recalled Bob, who was hunting at the time on another stand. “He called me on the radio and was freaking out.”

            They returned to hunt the same area the deer was sighted in the following afternoon. The deer returned to the same vicinity – 24 hours and four minutes later. “It was a long night,” said Bob.

            When he saw the deer, Bob deliberately avoided gazing at the antlers so he would not become over-excited. “I really avoided looking at the horns,” he said. “I just needed to worry about shooting.” The spread or width of the antlers at their widest point was more than 28 inches. “That kind of thing is pretty intimidating,” said Bob.

            The buck was very old, his age estimated at eight to 10 years. Its front teeth were broken and it weighed only 160 pounds – considerably less than a typical buck for the region, which weighs about 220-230 pounds, according to Bob.

            Dimmit County, where the ranch is located, is the second leading producer of big antlered deer as judged by the Boone & Crockett criteria for evaluating antlers, Bob noted.

            Hunting on the ranch is “entertaining,” said Bob. “It’s not out of the question to see 50 bucks a day.”

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