Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

June 21, 2008

Miller bags West Virginia's biggest-antlered buck

COWEN (AP) — Dan Miller said he “wouldn’t walk 50 yards” to admire the antlers of a trophy buck.

“Horns don’t mean anything to me,” he said. “I hunt deer for the meat. All I look for is that the horns are big enough to be legal.”

So who ended up killing the biggest-antlered buck taken in West Virginia last season? You guessed it. And he can’t quite figure out why so many people made such a big fuss about it.

Forget the human-interest angle: Yes, Miller is 68 and walks with the aid of a cane. Yes, he has a bad back, diabetes, emphysema, an injured shoulder, and creaky hips and knees that probably should be replaced. People came to marvel at the antlers, not at the hunter who collected them.

“I can’t for the life of me figure out why so many people have come out here to look at that rack, but I’ll bet we’ve had at least 2,000 since November,” he said.

Really large trophy deer aren’t exactly commonplace in Webster County. Existing records are far from complete, but state wildlife officials believe Miller’s buck might be the largest ever taken there.

One thing is sure: When he left his home last Nov. 21, Miller had no idea that he might encounter a trophy.

“We were doing what we always do around the Thanksgiving holiday,” he recalled. “Some of my family members and I were going out to get our winter supply of deer meat.”

And, as usual, Miller and his hunting party sought to maximize their success by driving the deer. Four or five of the seven hunters would form a line and push through a likely area, and two or three would take up positions that would allow them to shoot any deer the drivers flushed.

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