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Win big in Big Buck Challenge

With the deer season soon under way, don't forget to sign up for the 2015 Minnesota Big Buck Challenge sponsored by Mills Fleet Farm. The annual challenge has five weight divisions, youth buck and doe divisions and a new "Last Chance" division, a...

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With the deer season soon under way, don't forget to sign up for the 2015 Minnesota Big Buck Challenge sponsored by Mills Fleet Farm.

The annual challenge has five weight divisions, youth buck and doe divisions and a new "Last Chance" division, according to a press release from the Big Buck Challenge staff.

Chauncey Hanson, operator of the popular Big Buck Challenge, now in its fourth season, with weigh stations throughout Minnesota during the Nov. 7-15 rifle season, said, "The contest is growing, and so many people were so close to winning the 65 great prizes and 50 Youth Division prizes that it seemed the right time to add the Last Chance drawing."

Every hunter entering the contest, which costs $20, and weighing a deer, will be eligible to win the Polaris ATV, a Huldra rifle and other Last Chance prizes.

The Mills Fleet Farm youth division is free for those 10 to 15. All youngsters need to do is bring their deer to a weigh station. There is no entry fee and no pre-registration. "Shoot and bring it in," Hanson said. The top 25 does and top 25 bucks by weight win $50 Mills Fleet Farm gift cards.

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Youths are also eligible (as are all hunters) to purchase a ticket and enter the main contest.

The top weight division is the Central Boiler bucks 200 pounds and over. First prize is a Central Boiler stove valued at $7,990. Second is a Huldra 5.56 x 45 Mark IV rifle and third is a Vortex Viper HS 4-16x44 scope. The top three bucks will all be mounted free of charge by Spring Creek Taxidermy. A total of 20 prizes will be awarded to the heaviest The Hunter's Specialties division for bucks below 200 pounds will reward the winner with a Polaris ATV valued at $6,000. Second through 10th win rifles, scopes, stands and more, as do the 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th places by weight.

The Vortex Optics division for bucks below 180 pounds starts with a Huldra Mark IV 5.45 x 39 rifle valued at more than $1,000 to the winner, and rewards the top five places, plus 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th. The same places are paid in the Hornady American Whitetail division for bucks below 160 pounds. The under 160 pound division winner will receive a Korstog 5.56 x 45 rifle valued at $1,449.

The MUDDY biggest doe division recognizes the top 10 does by weight with prizes. The hunter with the first-place doe receives a MUDDY box blind valued at $3,000.

The heaviest buck harvested last year was by Brainerd-Lakes hunter Dan Kanera. He shot his trophy in northern Minnesota. It weighed 237.49 pounds. The largest buck weighed was by a 16-year old Aitkin student who failed to purchase a ticket. His buck weighed 251.96 pounds on the Big Buck scales at the Baxter Fleet Farm store.

Last year friends and family showed up for the celebratory weighing process, and many Fleet Farm customers and "passers-by" stopped, watched and cheered the successful hunters.

Big Buck Challenge tickets must be purchased between now and midnight prior to the first day of the Minnesota rifle season. Entrants follow along from deer stands or at work as deer are weighed and results posted at usbigbuck.com (along with photos). Tickets are available at all Minnesota Mills Fleet Farm stores (except Mankato) or at usbigbuck.com.

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