Paul Cook, who owns Hillbilly Taxidermy in Chapmanville, said this has been his best year ever for buck-mount requests.
"I've probably taken 100 bow kills already," he said. "In a normal year I usually get about 20 gun kills. This year I've gotten between 50 and 55."
Not all the bucks are from the bow-only counties. Cook said he's also seen trophy-class racks from Jackson and Braxton counties, areas not exactly renowned for big-buck production.
"I'm even getting some monster eight-pointers," he added. "One I've got from Boone County will probably score 145 or thereabouts."
One thing that appears to set this year's deer apart from previous years' is their antler mass.
"Even the smaller racks seem to have great mass," Cook said. "With all the acorns we had last year, the deer had plenty to eat and were able to grow some heavy racks."
Deaton echoed Cook's observations about mass.
"On some racks, I bet you'll get 30 inches [in additional measurement] just because the antlers are so heavy," Deaton said.
When he was visiting game-checking stations to collect check tags, Deaton said he saw sure-fire evidence that this year was a banner year for trophies.
"A lot of stations display pictures of hunters who take big bucks," he explained. "This year, when you see the quality of the deer, you ask, 'Are you sure we aren't in Ohio?'"