Brian Damery’s 12-pointer
Scorable Points: 12
Kill Date: Nov. 20, 1993
BLUE MOUND—Every whitetail deer hunting season brings wild rumors of monster bucks and trophy deer.
Sometimes, as in the case of Blue Mound resident Brian Damery, the rumors don’t do justice to the truth.
Hunting on a private farm in the southwest part of Macon County on Saturday, Nov. 20, 1993, Damery stalked and killed a typical 12-point buck that set the local and national hunting community abuzz. The buzz would have been even greater had not Milo Hanson shot his 213 1/8-point Boone and Crockett world record in western Saskatchewan days later that same year.
Even so, the Damery buck still amazes.
“A lot of times when they get that big, (the antlers) don’t hold their symmetry. This one did,” said Ron Willmore, an Illinois Power Co. biologist. “It’s literally a one-in-a-million deer.”
Willmore was not exaggerating. Though not a world-record, Damery’s buck has the highest grossing typical frame of any deer ever at 231 1/8 inches. The deer was officially scored at 200 2/8 inches, had 32 4/8- and 32-inch main beams and an inside spread of 28 3/8 inches. The deer field-dressed at 210 pounds and was estimated at 5.5 years old. The right antler alone grossed 104 1/8 inches typical, while the left was 98 5/8
The only drawback were some abnormal points, five of which are typical deductions. The biggest blow to the rack’s score, though, are double brow tines. The extra brow on the right side is 6 4/8 inches. Had that tine never grown or been broken off, the net score would have been 206 6/8. The extra brow tine on the left is 7 4/8 inches, without which the rack would have netted 214 2/8.
Damery was 28 when he shot the big buck and working in the fertilizer business in Blue Mound. Primarily a bowhunter, Damery also hunted with a shotgun during firearm season.
And the buck he wound up with in 1993 was no secret to Damery or to other hunters in the area. Damery had been aware of the big deer since at least early 1993 when a neighbor showed him an antler from the big buck. Damery showed the shed to friends who scored the right antler at 85 inches gross. Couple that with another 85-inch antler and a conservative 20-inch inside spread and Damery quickly calculated the buck could gross 190 or better.
Based on that, he got permission to hunt the ground where the shed had been found. But he never saw the buck while scouting. Then he failed to see the buck in the early going of bow season. Work then called and Damery had to limit his hunts until the firearm season arrived on Nov. 19, 1993. On the first day in the stand, he saw the buck—despite one eye being swollen shut due to an unfortunate encounter with poison ivy vines.
His first glimpse of the massive 12-pointer came around 1 p.m. when the deer stood up from its bed in a grassy waterway about 600 yards from Damery’s stand. Damery then watched the buck and a few other deer with him for nearly two hours. He also kept tabs on another nearby hunter who had not seemed to notice the buck. Damery finally got down at 3 p.m. to creep closer, but when the wind changed he opted to back out and to return the next day.
That proved to be a wise decision. After returning to his stand Saturday morning, he spotted the group of deer about 10 minutes after dawn. The deer were again in a hayfield, working toward the grassy waterway where they had bedded one day earlier.
Once he saw where they were headed, Damery decided to take matters into his own hands.
“He crawled 200 yards on his belly to get to it,” Willmore said.
Damery crawled along some willows and a hedgerow until he finally head antlers ripping through willows near him. But when Damery looked up hoping to see his monster, he instead saw an 8-pointer that had been lingering near the big buck. Damery quickly scrambled into a patch of weeds between him and the big buck, which was following a doe nearby. Eventually he saw the big buck broadside at 50-75 yards.
Damery sat up and fired his Remington 870 12-gauge pump shotgun. But the buck bolted at him. Damery said he short-stroked the pump action and jammed the empty shell back into the chamber. Then he stood to clear the empty shell, allowing the big buck to run within 20 yards. Damery took another shot at 50 yards, missed, and then shot again at 80 yards and hit the buck. Afterwards he learned his first shot had also been true.
From there went out calls, including one to local scorer Willmore.
“They called me and said a guy had scored it and they gave me a total. I asked, ‘Is that gross or net?’ ” Willmore recalled. “He said it was a net typical of 202. That’s when I dropped the phone. It’s a gorgeous rack and the points are not all jumbled up. They’re stacked on the main beam just like they are supposed to be.”
For Damery, the buck was his second trophy in four years of hunting. He also killed a Pope & Young class 10-pointer in 1992.
“I wasn’t even going to have it mounted and my father and brother-in-law told me, ‘You better, because you’ll probably never have another deer that big,’ ” Damery recalled.
Obviously, brother-in-law was wrong.
Here’s a story taken from the Aug. 4, 1994 Decatur Herald & Review
Video, magazines feature Blue Mound hunter
BY JEFF LAMPE
Mindy Damery still laughs when she recalls the day a Federal Express delivery man came to her house outside Blue Mound and asked, “Is this package for THE Brian Damery?” She laughs because to her “THE Brian Damery” is the same man she married a few years back. The same man who tried to bring his old brown chair into a living room of matched white furniture after they were married.
But in the world of whitetail deer hunting, Brian Damery is much more than a husband or a fertilizer plant manager. Having killed one of the world’s largest whitetail bucks, the Blue Mound native has become a celebrity.
In the past month, Brian Damery and his monster Macon County buck have graced the cover of North American Whitetail magazine, Illinois Game & Fish magazine and the latest edition of the Bass Pro Shops catalog.
What’s more, Brian is featured on Bill Jordan’s new Monster Bucks II video and is scheduled to appear on Jordan’s Realtree Outdoors show that is broadcast on TNN.
“I went out and bought probably 50 bucks worth of magazines for friends and family. And I’ll probably have a couple framed,” Brian said. “But there wasn’t too much fuss, I knew it was coming.”
The torrent of media attention would have been unleashed sooner if not for Milo Hanson of Saskatchewan, Canada, who killed what is expected to be the new Boone and Crockett world record.
By comparison, the Damery Deer is expected to rank ninth on the all-time Boone and Crockett ranks after being panel-scored in 1995 -assuming no new record racks are harvested in the interim.
Ironically, both Brian and Hanson will appear at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo., Aug. 25-28 for the store’s Hunting Classic sale.
“I’ll have my deer down there and old Milo will have his down there and I’m kind of anxious to get them side by side,” Brian said.
But life with a world-record class buck is not all fun and games.
“It gets to be kind of hassle just worrying about the darn thing,” Brian said.
There is also the matter of paying to insure the deer. Then too there are the rumors.
Mindy recalled how that same FedEx deliveryman told her he’d heard the deer was going to be sold to a museum for $250,000.
“If I would have been offered the amounts some people allege I would not be here now,” Brian said, matter-of-factly. “I’d be in Aruba or something. And we wouldn’t live in the house we live in now.”
While Brian isn’t saying what he’s been offered for the mount, local sources put the going price for the Damery Deer at about $40,000.
Still Brian offers no insight into what amount would prompt him to sell, or even whether he’s received any viable offers of late.
But he does have definite plans for the upcoming deer hunting seasons.
“I’m going to go out and get his brother this year,” he said.