It's a hoax. And I'm not one bit suprised. Disgusted? Sure. But not surprised.
A few days ago, I saw a photo of a giant non-typical whitetail floating around social media. The buck was claimed to have been taken in North Carolina and would be the state's new archery non-typical record.
The moment I saw that photo, I had my doubts. Why? Because doubt is part of an editor's job description.
While that may be a sad commentary on the state of today's hunting affairs, it's also very much the truth. Here's the backstory on the state record lie.
According to a report in North Carolina Sportsman, hunter Nick Davis brought the buck to Joey Thompson, an official scorer for the N.C. Bowhunters Association last week. He claimed to have killed the deer with a bow.
Thompson taped the deer at 208 net non-typical, which would have eclipsed the state record by more than 30 inches.
When word got out about the deer, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Committee got wind of it and decided to do some investigating. Turns out, the buck wasn't killed with a bow. And it wasn't killed in North Carolina.
Davis confessed that he had killed a small North Carolina buck with a rifle, bought the giant non-typical antlers from someone in Pennsylvania and then screwed the PA rack to the skull of the NC buck that he had killed. He then tried to pass the buck off as a legit North Carolina bowkill to Thompson.
I feel for the guys at North Carolina Sportsman. The outdoor media world is a competitive place. Folks don't get in this business to get rich. They do it because they love the outdoors and want to share the type of stories that only hunting and fishing can create.
Stories about giant bucks generate plenty of traffic. Traffic generates ad revenue. Be the first to report on a state record buck and you can bet that you'll pack your server with plenty of site visitors. It's easy to forget that we must scrutinize every story that comes across our screen. That's my job as an editor. And it's not easy.
It's easy to point fingers at the guy who scored the buck. It's easy to say North Carolina Sportsman should have done more homework.
But the blame here doesn't lie with those who were simply trying to do a job.
It lies solely with the hunter who tried to dupe us all.
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