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December 24, 2003


Fifty-one of New Jersey’s most outstanding white-tailed deer from the 2002-03 hunting season will be on display at the Garden State Deer Classic to be held during the Garden State Outdoor Sportsmen’s Show, January 8-11 in Raritan Center, Edison. The Deer Classic is jointly sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the United Bowhunters of New Jersey.

The Deer Classic is an annual event showcasing hunter entries in New Jersey’s Outstanding White-tailed Deer Program, which was initiated in 1964. It includes categories for typical and non-typical antlered deer taken with bow, shotgun and muzzleloading rifle in addition to the 200-pound buck and 135-pound doe field-dressed weight categories. All antlered deer are scored using the Boone & Crockett Club system that gives credit to antler length, spread, number of points and symmetry. Age, health, genetics and nutrition are the major factors contributing to deer reaching trophy status.

Returning to display his state record Typical Muzzleloader deer is Marty French of Hunterdon County. French's buck scored 159 0/8 and was taken in 2001, surpassing the previous record by 7/8 of an inch. Another special feature at this year's Classic is a half-mount piebald deer from Monmouth County. Piebald coloration can include large portions of white fur along with the typical brown color.

In addition to the outstanding deer display, hunters can experience seminars by several deer hunting experts on Saturday and Sunday during the outdoor show. Division of Fish and Wildlife deer biologists will also be on hand each day to answer questions, provide information and score antlers for anyone who brings their antlers to the display area.

The Garden State Outdoor Sportsmen’s Show will be held on Thursday and Friday, January 8 and 9 from 1 – 9 p.m.; on Saturday, January 10 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and on Sunday, January 11 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A special awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, January 11 for the top three 2002-2003 entries in each category.

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