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Old Rivals I – Whitetail Deer By Larry Zach

By Larry Zach

Old Rivals I – Whitetail Deer by Larry Zach

The original inspiration for Old Rivals - Whitetail was a huge non-typical buck I saw in my headlights as I left a bowhunting only area in central Illinois in 1993. By the time the buck was finally taken in 1997 he was one of the most spectacular and well-known wild bucks ever hunted.

The buck is usually referred to as the Mascoutin non-typical since part of his range included the Mascoutin State Park near Clinton Lake in Illinois. He was often seen and videotaped in the late summer when he fed in protein rich, soybean fields.

My friend, Ron Willmore, was a biologist in the area for a local power company and was responsible for managing the deer herd on company land. While conducting a deer census by spotlight in the fall of 1994, he discovered the big non-typical in the midst of a violent battle with another mature buck, this one a large, typical ten-point. The battle lasted for several long minutes as both bucks ignored the spotlight and fought until they were both exhausted.

After watching the tape of the epic battle I decided to put both deer in the painting and call it Old Rivals. Once I had the title I decided to include other classic rivalries in the design including John Deere/Farmall, Pepsi/Coke, Pioneer/Dekalb and others.

Nine of the big non-typical’s shed antlers have been found, the first being one side of his 1991 rack when he was a 2 ˝ year old buck. Both sides were picked up in ’92, ’93 (the rack I saw him with), ’94, and ’95 (the rack I painted him with.) His 1995 rack carried 26 points, had an estimated 33 ˝” outside spread and scored over 235 P&Y, gross. He was finally taken by a lucky bow hunter in 1996 when he was 7 ˝ years old. His ’96 rack was smaller, grossing 230 5/8, netting 214 4/8 with 27 scorable points and a 33-inch outside spread.

Like it’s predecessor, Old Rivals I, the second print in the Old Rivals series, Old Rivals II, is also based on a large non-typical whitetail buck. I not only saw this massive buck alive but also was fortunate enough to get him on videotape one evening. Another mature buck also inhabited the same area. The rival buck carried a wide 14-point rack including double brow tines.

These two bucks comprise the whitetail rivalry in Old Rivals II. Other rivalries include mid-fifties Ford and Chevy pickups, ISU/U of I mascots, Texaco/Sinclair, Firestone/Goodyear, Farm Bureau/NFO, and many others.

The big non-typical buck spent the fall of 1994 in a cedar thicket sanctuary. Excessive hunting pressure had caused him to go nocturnal. At night he could often be found feeding in a nearby alfalfa field with a number of other whitetails. Most hunters in the area took other deer or eventually gave up on the wise old buck, but one dedicated hunter persisted. Every evening during the last two weeks of Iowa’s late muzzleloader season, Jeff Tussey waited patiently for the old buck to come out to feed. The second to the last day of the season, Jeff was watching several deer feeding about 75 yards away when the big non-typical came out of the thicket. Jeff harvested the buck of a lifetime with a perfectly placed shot. The rival, typical buck, unfortunately, was apparently taken by a poacher. The headless carcass of a large buck was found in the area and the wide-racked buck was never seen again. I was able to use a set of the typical’s shed antlers from the previous year as reference material for the painting.

A highly detailed pencil study called the Tussey Non-typical was released as a matching number companion print to the paper lithograph limited edition prints of Old Rivals II.

Old Rivals I – Whitetail Deer by Larry Zach is for sale as a signed and numbered limited edition print with a 15-1/4 x 23 image size priced at $___ unframed.

Canvas - Old Rivals I – Whitetail Deer by Larry Zach is also available for sale as a signed and numbered limited edition giclee canvas with a 30 x 20 image size priced at $___ unframed.

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