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Story Last modified at 10:06 p.m. on Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eagle River hunters' loss is Anchorage partner's gain
Boondock Sporting Goods Big Buck winner nets rifle worth $2,000

Alaska Star


Anchorage's Bret Brown poses with the Sitka blacktail deer he shot in November on Kodiak Island. The deer scored 104 1/2 points on the Boone and Crockett scale to take first place in the 2010 Boondock Sporting Goods Big Buck contest.

Air traffic controller Bret Brown is used to making split-second decisions. So when Brown's hunting partners passed up a shot at a huge Sitka blacktail deer, Brown knew not to hesitate.

"It wasn't my shot, I was the third shooter that day," Brown said of the November hunt near Uyak Bay on Kodiak Island.

Brown's fellow hunters Dirk Starck and Al Stream – both air traffic controllers from Eagle River – were ahead of Brown in the shooting order, but neither had a clean shot. So they gave the go-ahead to Brown.

"Dirk said, 'It's yours,'" Brown recalled.

Brown's first shot hit the deer in the leg, and a second shot finished the buck off. When the animal was eventually scored, its antlers racked up 104 1/2 points on the Boone and Crockett scale, good enough to take first place in the 2010 Boondock Sporting Goods annual Big Buck Contest.

Starck didn't end up empty handed in the contest, which Boondock owner Don Hanks said awarded nearly $15,000 in prizes this year. The Eagle River hunter's name was drawn from a hat for the "lucky deer" award, earning him a new pair of Danner Pronghorn boots. In addition, another member of the five-person hunting party, Eagle River's Ron Haberman, shot a deer that scored good enough to claim the third-place prize of a new Cannon gun safe.

"That's a really good trip," Brown said.

The hunters knew they were in big buck country when they arrived at the abandoned Parks cannery on Uyak Bay, which serves as a hunting retreat run by Spirit of Alaska Wilderness Adventures. Brown said he traveled with the group to the area two years ago, and had had good success, and the area they were hunting on the day of Brown's kill was known as an animal-friendly area.

"Sometimes it's called 'deer central,' and sometimes it's called 'bear central,'" Brown said.

This year it was the former, as the group returned from Kodiak with seven Sitka blacktails in tow.

Don Hanks said this year was a good one for both the size and number of deer entered in his contest, which began nearly two decades ago as a friendly wager between hunters.

"There was no bad winter kill this year," he said.

Seven deer scored at least 100 points, he said, making them eligible for inclusion in the Safari Club International's official record book.

Many of the hunters came from the Anchorage area, though Hanks said he's seen an increase in the number of Natives from the Kodiak area turning in antlers. Of the top 20 entries, five came from Akhiok village on Kodiak's southern tip, as did youth winner Teeana Amodo, whose winning deer scored 93 4/8 points.

Hanks said he thinks the contest has helped bring urban and rural hunters together.

"That's a really important thing," he said.

Contact Matt Tunseth at or 694-272, Ext. 215

Boondock Sporting Goods

2010 Big Buck Contest

Top 20 – 1. Bret Brown, Anchorage, 104 3/8 (Ruger SR-556, $2,080); 2. Dan Mott, Valdez, 102 2/8 (Remington Custon KS rifle, $1,998); 3. Ron Haberman, Eagle River, 101 4/8 (Cannon fire safe, $1,543); 4. Steve Bethune, Craig, 101 2/8 (Burris image-stabilizing binoculars, $1,188); 5. Chad Shafer, Eagle River, 101 0/8 (Leupold binoculars, $1,124); 6. Gary Rozelle, Jr., Akhiok, 100 6/8 (Browning BL-22 rifle, $699); 7. Curtis Brown, North Pole, 100 0/8 ($500 savings bond); 8. Joel Lynch, Palmer, 99 5/8 ($400 in custom ammo); 9. Dale Rich, Tulsa, Okla., 99 5/8 (U.D.A.P bear shock fence and spray, $319); 10. Rolin Amodo, Akhiok, 97 2/8 (Pentax marine binoculars, $299); 11. Trey Shafer, Chugiak, 96 5/8 (Winchester .22 rifle, $269); 12. Chris Klosterman, King Salmon, 96 2/8 (Seigel rifle case, $266); 13. Ryan Amodo, Akhiok, 95 4/8 (Helly Hansen Impertech clothing, $246); 14. Andy Korzeniewski, Palmer, 95 1/8 (Federal ammo, $225); 15. Jarrod Bell, Anchorge, 94 6/8 (Browning Dry-lite clothing, $221); 16. Cody Freeborn, Anchorage, 93 6/8 (Extreme Dimension deer call, $219); 17. Brittany Gregoril, Akhiok, 93 2/8 (Storm Cloth jacket and pants, $208); 18. Kyle Kolberg, Palmer, 93 1/8 (Winchester ammo, $200); 19. John Gilliland, Anchorage, 92 6/8 (Redfield rifle scope, $189); 20. Gary Rozelle, Akhiok, 92 1/8 (Benchmade knife, $150).

Special prizes

Youth – 1. Teeana Amodo, Akhiok, 93 4/8 (Pentax camera, $389); 2. Nathaniel Wilson, Palmer, 88 3/8 (Pentax binoculars, $299).

Biggest fork horn – Nick Messina, 90 1/8 (Pentax range finder, $498)

Average deer – John Wilson, Palmer, 87 4/8 (Mad Dog pack frame and backpack, $268)

Lucky deer – Dirk Starck, Eagle River, 74 4/8 (Danner boots, $258)

Mystery deer – Jeff Erickson, Eagle River ($200 gift certificate at Mike's Quality Meat)

Boondock's Choice – Don Deitz, Anchorage, 16 0/8 (Coleman stove, lantern and bag, $133).

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, January 19, 2011.