Is The World Record Typical Whitetail In Hiding?

By

The new World Record typical whitetail is dead.

I don't know what it scores. I don't know where it was killed. Truth be told, I don't know for a fact that one was even shot. But I'd bet that it was.

Alright, I'll explain.

I make part of my living tracking down and writing about big bucks. Yes, it's fun. And, yes, it's a giant pain in the arse a lot of the time. There are usually two types of hunters who kill giant bucks: Those that want you to talk about them and those that will cut out your tongue if you do.

In the past two weeks, I've talked with three guys whose bucks I discovered in super-secret fashion (aka Facebook) and getting them to talk about those bucks was about as effective as me sweet-talking, well, anyone.

In 2011, our Rack Report features set a somewhat arbitrary, somewhat flexible minimum of 170 inches. We had more than we could post -- and we may need to up the limit again in 2012 just to try and fit them all in.

Which got me thinking. We have hunters who are reluctant to talk about 170-inch bucks. We have more truly big bucks to write about than we can handle in a year. What are the odds that Milo Hanson's typical world record is truly still the largest typical whitetail taken by a hunter? I say not likely.

Milo killed his buck in 1993. That's nearly 20 years ago. How much has changed in the hunting world in two decades? Well, a whole lot.

Technology is far ahead of where it was. Hunters have more high-quality gear available than ever before. Deer management has greatly improved. New areas that were largely untapped have been discovered. We shoot farther and more accurately. We hunt smarter. We travel more.

And we are killing giant bucks at an unprecedented pace. Consider the ones that we know about: The Albia buck that scores 307 5/8 taken in Iowa; the Beatty Buck, a 294-inch Ohio whopper; and the most recent challenger is the Johnny King buck, a Wisconsin giant that's stirred up all kinds of controversy over how it should be scored.

The King buck was killed in 2006. That's right, nearly seven years ago. And it was just last year that the buck was made public and the buzz began.

In tracking down some of our bucks for the Rack Report, I can definitely see how a world-class buck could fly under the radar. It may be intentional on the part of a hunter who simply doesn't want that kind of focus falling on the areas that he hunts. Hey, if guys that kill 170-inch deer are worried about revealing the counties they hunt, what's a guy who kills a 200-inch deer going to say? It could also be that the hunter who killed the buck just doesn't know what he has. A 215-inch typical is certainly an incredible buck. We know that because we study them intently. But what about the guy who hunts just to fill the freezer? Would he understand that the 12-pointer he just killed with the 170-inch frame could top 215 inches and be the next World Record because it has incredible mass throughout?

A 300-inch non-typical is a different story. Those bucks are freaky-looking and will instantly grab anyone's attention. But huge-framed typicals can be deceptive. Don't believe me? Take Mel Johnson's buck, James Jordan's buck and Larry Gibson's buck  and line them up in a row, then tell me which one is bigger. Which one tops 200 inches? (Here's a hint -- they all do).

So what do you think? Has the new world record typical already been tagged? Will we ever know if it was?