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September 10, 2008

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BuckTracker: Antlered Advertising

Well, it’s been fun watching the tremendous buck footage that Wisconsin outfitter Scott Kirkpatrick shared with us last week. And I appreciated the many comments (minus the mean-spirited ones, of course) that piece of film evoked. When Scott first showed me this video, he told me he wanted to air it somewhere “so that people could see the kind of deer we have here in Buffalo County.”

As some of you noted, this is a smart move for an outfitter who wants to keep his region front-n-center in the minds of potential clients. And, I’d stress, Kirkpatrick did it in exceedingly honest fashion; he never claimed this buck was living on one of his properties, nor did he infer that a client might have a better shot at this dream deer than anyone else hunting in the area. He simply wanted to showcase a monster buck as an illustration of his area’s potential.

Some outfitters may not be so above-board. When we scan a brochure, read an ad, or visit a website, we imagine ourselves harvesting a buck like the ones pictured. So exactly what is appropriate advertising for an outfitter? Should only deer harvested by clients hunting with XYZ Outfitters appear in the promotion? What about clip art, video footage or wildlife photography (all of which can be bought) be allowed? How ‘bout harvest photos submitted by friends, relatives and/or employees of the operation, who may or may not be hunting the properties owned/leased by the outfit?

I don’t begrudge any outfitter trying to instill excitement and hope in a potential client. That’s just smart business. But there is excitement and hope, and then there is absolute fantasy. I’d like to know when you think an outfitter has crossed the truth-in-advertising line…


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I think only deer harvested ON and pictures of live deer taken on the properties that the outfitter has access to should be a part of the brochure.

The outfitter should also state what the average deer scores that were taken from his/her properties as well as state the high and low end score too.

Putting a picture of Milo Hanson's buck on a brochure from xyz outfitters (whose ground they have access to rarely produces above a 150" deer) would be a bit misleading.

People just want honesty for their hard earned money.


I want Scott to know in no way shape or form did I think this was an advertisment. I appreciated this video for what it is, a great example of a great deer. If I had filmed it I would have shared it too. I live and hunt in Wisconsin and it is always good to know that an animal like this exists. I even had a passing thought that buck deserves to live on to reproduce.
Thank you Scott for sharing.


I can tell you from experience that the type of unethical advertising/promotion that you are referring to happens more than most people know. I shot a 190+" buck in Canada two years ago. The photos, of course, were circulated among friends and somehow made their way to other outfitters who currently have my photo up on their website. I've never hunted with these outfits and they aren't even located in the same province where I shot my buck. Rule of thumb...if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
I agree that Scott has done nothing unethical. This is exciting footage and I appreciate him sharing it with all of us.


I was born and raised in Buffalo County. I have hunted there my entire life and understandably, I have never seen a deer that is remotely close in calaber to this buck. By showing this video and not making any claims, I don't feel that there was any wrong doing. If certain claims were made, I may feel differently. On a side note, I would just like to say that if you have never hunted here, you probably wouldn't understand how the bucks are able to mature as well as they do. The terrain is brutal and the woods are thick! However, hunting is not the same as it was 10 years ago. Not that I have anything against outfitters, but they are buying up and leasing all of the land in Buffalo County making it very difficult for people to find a place to hunt. I believe there are now 8 different outfitters in Buffalo County. The deer from woods that are hunted by locals are pressured during gun season, and after the first day or two, these deer retreat to the land that is owned by these outfitters where they will remain for the most part due to the lack of pressure. Last year was the poorest year of deer hunting I have ever seen in my group, and other locals have said the same. I wish hunting would go back to the way it was 10 years ago when line fences didn't matter. Get a bunch of people together and go get some venison!


Well,I can tell you after hearing so many bleak stories about the deer loss here in Maine,this sure gets me and many I know PUMPED for that big buck! I sent the video to every hunting friend I know and I never heard one negative response!If more Mainers would plant food plots here,we could have deer such as this,even though hubby got a buck almost 150 in class as an 8 pointer:-)~~~

keith jonsgaard

That is a very nice deer and good luck in ther future on getting that monster,i wouldn't be able to shot that big guy i would be shaken way to much and thanks for showing the footage.


i agree with jake, as a former bc resident(work made moving away necessary) and a life long bc deer hunter, i have hunted family land all along and in recent years lost it to greed and now have a tough time finding a place to hunt thanks to outfitters exploiting the herd for profit. $2,000 buys a lot of beef at pick and save!!! way to much emphasis has been put on antlers and not enough on feeding the family. the biggest rack i have ever shot was an eight pointer that didn't even go past the ears, but man did it taste good!!!!

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