In round one of our annual tourney, the largemouth bass shut down hopes of a Cinderella sequel for the brook trout
The first round of Critter Madness 2016 has come to a close, with some very intense battles keeping us on the edge of our seat through the very last vote. So how did your favorite critter do? Let’s break it down.
True to their dominant form in the field, the reigning champion elk cruised past fourth-seed bighorn sheep with ease. Elk are poised to make a run deep into the tournament and likely have what it takes to go all the way. The second match-up in the Big Game Region went to the third-seed whitetails, as the second-seed mule deer fell to their eastern counterparts. While on paper this may seem like an upset, in reality the two are evenly matched.
Round two preview: Arguably the two most sought after big game animals in the country, elk and whitetails face off with an east vs. west storyline. It’s anyone’s game to win—or lose.
The feather-and-fowl section of your bracket brought out some exciting match-ups: The mallards didn’t have what it takes to fly past the pheasants. Though duck fans are surely disappointed, the mallards will be back next year—you can count on that. Meanwhile, the turkeys strutted their way past the sharptail grouse—no surprise there. Gobblers tend to heat up just in time for this tournament.
Round two preview: Gobblers and ringnecks face off. Experts believe this may be one of the most closely contested match-ups in round two. This rivalry plays out on CRP habitat, where both critters have a huge flock of fans.
Chinook salmon easily swam past yellowfin tuna and are eyeing a spot in the final four offshore. The match-up between the blue marlins and tarpons, though, came down the buzzer. With just a few hours left, this game was all tied up, but at the last minute, the marlins barely “nosed” past the tarpons to advance.
Round two preview: Chinook salmon meet the blue marlins, and this match-up could go either way. The marlins proved they have what it takes in a close battle, but will it be enough to swim past the top ranked chinook? It may come down to endurance for these fighters.
I’m renaming this region Upset City! These are the moments we love in March, when true underdogs prove that any critter can win on any given day. Just a year after making a historic run to the finals, the top-seed brook trout was taken down by fourth-seed largemouth bass. Experts at Bassmasters were confident in their pick, and it paid off. Elsewhere in Upset City, the third-seed rainbow trout easily swam past second-seed steelheads. The colorful competitor showed they are ready for the next round.
Round two preview: It’s a classic battle between the largemouths and the rainbows. This is the match-up that I’m looking forward to most. Could bass be a tournament one-and-done? Or do the rainbow trout have what it takes to slow their momentum? Only time will tell which fins will advance to the Final Four.
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