Hunters across the state complained of poor deer sightings during the 2012-13 season. Even the keeper of the Magnolia Records had a down season.

"I'll be honest: I haven't seen as many deer as I've seen in previous years," U.S. Forest Service biologist Rick Dillard said.

The reasons for the lack of deer sightings is a hotly debated topic, and Dillard chuckled that he couldn't put a finger on the anwer.

"We tend to try to find reasons and excuses, and every year I hear that it was too hot, there were too many acorns, it was too wet," he said. "Maybe the darned deer are getting smarter."

He said another reason might be state efforts to winnow down the deer population in many areas of the state - and that could be one of the reasons that, despite reports of low overall sightings - there continue to be massive bucks hitting the ground.

"Maybe the population is going down, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing," Dillard said "Maybe the population is starting to fall down enough that the deer that are surviving are doing great."

Dillard said the 2012-13 hunting season will go down in the books because of the sheer number of trophy bucks killed.

"There's been more big deer killed this season than I can remember," he said "It's phenomenal the number of 160-inch deer, 170-inch deer, 180-inch deer I've seen pictures of.

"And some people just aren't reporting them."

By mid-January, details of 20 of the season's biggest bucks had been posted on MS-Sportsman.com. Here is a rundown of the hunts during which these bucks fell.

Giles Island buck measures 242 inches

Unique point makes for extra special buck

Claiborne County yields opening-week trophy buck

Panther Swamp NWR gives up trophy deer

Yazoo County hunter's first bow buck is 150-class monster

Eight-year-old takes down Tate County legend

Poor MSU Gator Bowl performance leads hunter to 200-inch trophy buck

Copiah County trophy buck downed

Panola County gives up 160-inch buck

Hunter gets her 'Oh My Gosh Buck'

Elite Series angler, son team up to tag huge Mississippi Delta main-frame 8-point

Boy's coyote hunt produces Benton County non-typical 'monster'

Hunter gets 'Bull Shark,' all 164 4/8 inches of him

Monster 8-point taken by youth hunter

Calhoun County hunt ends with Top-3 archery buck

Yazoo County 11-point falls on Christmas Eve

Eight-year-old scores big with a 14-point

Teen's first muzzleloader shot produces monster Yazoo County deer

Marshall County bean field produces 160-inch buck