Stephen Tucker is one step closer to having his name and gnarly 47-point buck enshrined in the record books as the world record.
Tucker, 26, of Gallatin, Tenn., shot the buck last November while hunting on the opening morning of Tennessee’s muzzleloader season. He missed his first shot at the giant due to a misfire. Then he saw it again that afternoon but it was too far for him to take, in his view, an ethical shot.
Two days later, the monster buck came within 40 yards and Tucker connected. The giant has 47 points and gross scored 313 2/8 inches on the first unofficial measurement. Net score at the time was 308 3/8, which put it a hair above the nontypical world record Tony Lovstuen buck that scored 307 5/8. Lovstuen killed his giant in Albia, Iowa, in 2003.
Then came the hard part for Tucker after killing his buck and getting the unofficial score: waiting for the mandatory 60-day drying period before it could be officially panel-scored for the Boone & Crockett Club record books.
That two month wait ended Monday and Tucker’s buck was finally put under the rigorous measuring criteria by certified B&C scorers. The final score? An astounding 312 3/8 inches, which means the whitetail world has a new nontypical king.
All that remains now is official certification by the Boone & Crockett Club at the organization’s 2019 conference. There, two more B&C judges will score the buck again. Barring any changes, Tucker’s buck is the new king and nudges ahead of the Luvstuen Buck that has held the top spot for 13 years.
“I just tried not to think about whether it was the world record or not during the drying out period,” Tucker told The Tennessean in this interview. “The last week was probably the worst part of the whole time. I didn’t want to get myself real worked up about it because I didn’t want to be let down if it wasn’t the record. I just kept telling myself, ‘It’s going to be what it’s going to be.'”
Tennessean outdoors editor Mike Organ reported that the scoring took four hours to complete and Tucker was allowed to watch the proceedings. His buck also is the new Tennessee record.
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Tucker’s buck easily shattered the 17-year-old Tennessee record, held by Dave Wachtel. It scored 256 gross and 244 3/8 net.
Last autumn, Tucker told The Tennessean in Nashville that he considered taking a shot the second time he saw the buck on the first day after his misfire but just couldn’t do it. Gallatin is a suburb north of Nashville.
“I was just hoping I would see him again after I passed up the shot the second time I saw him,” said Tucker, who estimated he was about 150 yards away at the second sighting. “My thinking was the second time I saw him was as far away as he was and as big as he was, I wanted to make sure that I killed him. I didn’t want to cripple him. I said to myself, ‘If I cripple him, nobody will get to kill him.’ The last thing I wanted to do was be the guy who crippled a deer like that.”
Dale Grandstaff, a district captain with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and official B&C scorer, said he scored the buck last autumn for Tucker because he knew everyone would be curious about the green score. Plus, it’s not every day that a hunter or scorer lays hands on such a giant. The green score gives a baseline for the official post-drying period score, too, which hunters will be curious about.
“It may be an inch less than what I have it at,” Grandstaff told The Tennessean. “It may be an inch or two or three more. It just depends on how we as a group decide it needs to be scored. Right now it’s a green score because I just wanted to give (Tucker) an idea because I knew he would get a thousand phone calls once word gets out and they’re all going to say, ‘What did it score?'”
The buck was aged at 3 1/2 years old and weighed about 150 pounds. Tucker was hunting on private land.