Catching up to 'Split Ear'

Bob Lavergne's crew had seen the buck the day before and knew it carried some significant bone, but none had considered it was the buck of local legend known as "split ear."

Deer often wander into town to yard during the long winter months in Indian Lake, and folks here had seen the deer return year after year.

In fact, a local taxidermist had recovered a matching set of sheds from the buck and mounted them on another cape - the impressive non-typical rack scored close to 190.

But Lavergne was hunting in a stretch of property by the Cedar River, miles from town. No one in the crew expected the big non-typical to make an appearance.

That, however, was about to change.

It was the morning of Saturday, Nov. 6, and Lavergne decided to split from the crew who were making drives and still hunt his way along the side of a ridge where the crew had seen the deer the day before.

Minutes later he caught movement along the ridge and pulled his 30-06 to his shoulder.

"I wasn't really concentrating on the rack, I knew it had good antler, but I was more worried about making an accurate shot," Lavergne said.

When he pulled the trigger, the deer "dropped from the scope," he said.

Upon approaching the deer, Lavergne said he was amazed at the sheer mass and tines - 21 in all. Then, he noticed the identifiable split in the deer's ear, and knew he had shot the big non-typical so many had pursued in the past.

Sightings around town put the deer at more than 10 years old - an extreme age for a whitetail in the Adirondacks. The buck weighed just 178 pounds, making the rack, which stands a full 20-inches off the deer's skull, look out of character with the body.

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