Login NowClose 

Deer contest could be real deal

Having a good idea is easy.

Implementing an idea can take a untold amount of work, dedication, and down right persistence to make an idea a reality.

Deer hunters across our state will be given a chance to say whether Racks For Stacks is a great idea or a flash in the pan.

Racks For Stacks (the name is cheap, but they didn't ask me) is a statewide deer contest that pays cash prizes for hunters who enter and register their deer in the contest.

In short, here's how it works:

n Hunters pay $20 to enter

n $10 of every entry fee goes to charity (Arkansas Children's Hospital, Hope Outdoors, and the AG&FC Foundation for Wildlife Restoration)

n The contest will run from the opening of archery season until Jan.31

n The largest deer in each of the 75 counties in Arkansas will earn a $1,500 cash prize

n The largest deer in each of the 26 deer zones will earn a $2,000 cash prize

n The largest deer in each of the state's four quadrants will earn a $5,000 cash prize

n The largest deer killed in the state will be named the Racks For Stacks big buck of the year and will be awarded a cash prize of $20,000.

n The largest deer collectively will have earned $28,500.

The largest deer killed with a compound bow or a muzzleloader will also win $5,000 each. The top deer killed by a female hunter will earn $10,000. Any high school or college student who kills the largest deer will wind $5,000. The biggest buck killed during the youth weekend hunt by a youth will win $5,000.

It's easy to say why interest might be high in this contest due to the fact that everyone that enters will have a legitimate chance to win if they tag a trophy buck.

To make things even more interesting, they plan on naming a "Freak of the Week" by awarding the largest deer killed each week $1,000.

If a young, female hunter kills the largest buck of the year on youth weekend with a bow or a muzzleloader, she could conceivably walk away with the grand prize of $48,500 (if my math is correct).

A prize like that is bound to get lots of hunter's attention and the crosshairs might just get a little jumpy when that kind of money is on the line.

Most people, like me, have more questions than answers when you first hear about a contest like Racks For Stacks.

How do you keep someone from cheating? How will they score each deer? How will they know where each deer is killed? And so on and so forth.

Those are all good questions, so you'll probably have to refer to their website (www.racks4stacks.com) once it's up and running.

They appear to want to be as transparent as possible, and that's very important when you're dealing with someone else's money.

Five guys from Northeast Arkansas (Jeramie Felton, Aaron Farley, Frank Kirkley, Jason Taylor and Brandon Thomas) are the guys who dreamed up this contest and are trying to make it a reality.

Their first step, and success, was getting the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission to lend their support.

Their next step was to find a well-known major sponsor, and they did that. The popular Buck Commander television show and cast are throwing their support to the contest. They've also gotten sponsors Ricochet Outdoors and Lazyman Outdoors to jump in and help with the contest. Lazyman produces box blinds and every second place winner in each county will win a Lazyman box blind.

The Rack For Stacks guys say they have lots and lots of interest from other high profile sponsors that they'll be announcing soon.

If this thing takes off, it could be huge. If it doesn't, it could go the way of the "Sham Wow."

I'm a skeptic by nature, but I like what this contest has to offer. There are countless hurdles to overcome, but with the right planning and right implementation, it can be done.

Social media is a huge component in the communication and the impending success of a contest like this. Hunters will have to take a photo of each entry and enter the deer electronically. Once those photos and info is captured, it can be shared with the rest of the world.

Imagine getting to see every big buck killed around the state. Hunters will eat that up and sponsors will too, if done properly.

For this contest to be a success, they're going to need about 30,000 deer hunters who are willing to spend $20 to enter the contest.

The charities won't be paid until all prize monies are covered by the entry fees so it will take about 15,000 entrants to pay the prize dollars.

That's a huge undertaking for a group of guys with little to no marketing budget.

You'll see an ad in the AG&FC 2018-19 hunter regulations guidebook, and it's going to take a lot of print and broadcast ads to educate hunters on what this contest is and the legitimacy of the organization.

I've talked to several hunting buddies about this contest and at first they are intrigued. Next, they are skeptical. Once I explained it to them, they were in.

There's a lesson there for the Racks For Stacks founders, and it's going to take educating the hunters in order to get their $20 entry fee.

The Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza was held last week on the Arkansas River. If a 6-pound bass is worth $50,000, surely a 190-inch whitetail is worth as much.

Time will tell if we get to find out.

Comments to: dmosesso@jonesborosun.com