"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.