It appears as if a potential world-record whitetail will never get its “day in court.”
After months of speculation and controversy, efforts to get the Johnny King Buck panel-scored have hit a stone wall. The rack of the King Buck was on hand this past weekend at the Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo in Madison. It was not on display. It was brought to the event by individuals who want the deer to be given a fair scoring by a panel of certified Boone and Crockett Club members. I attended the event and watched in disbelief as the rack sat, purposefully ignored, atop a folding table in the back corner of a room full of racks being scored for entry into the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club.
I also talked with several certified scorers and, to a man, each one said they thought the rack was a typical 12-pointer and should be scored as such. It has been several years since a certified scorer last unofficially measured the rack. It has been estimated this 12-pointer would net anywhere from 215 to 219 B&C inches. If it did, it would shatter the B&C mark for typicals and dethrone the Milo Hanson Buck from the No. 1 spot.
The controversy surrounding this deer centers on its right G-2 and G-3 points. According to B&C, the points share a common base. The club, however, made this ruling without ever having officially scored the rack.
If scored as a typical with deductions, the King Buck would likely net in the 180s.
Last summer, Deer & Deer Hunting broke Duncan Dobie’s story on this controversy. The former editor of North American Whitetail, Dobie had been following the story closely since Johnny King of Mt. Horeb, Wis., killed the buck on Nov. 18, 2006. The details surrounding the controversy are complex, but they mostly boil down to an apparent dislike for the way the deer looks and to the fact that King, an average hunter with no desire for the limelight, sold the rack to an antler collector after becoming fed up with the bureaucracy involved in getting his deer a fair shake with antler organizations.
I talked with several official antler scorers while in Madison this weekend. None of them wanted to speak on record, yet all of them told me they thought the deer should be scored as a typical 12-pointer.
“There’s really no chance (B&C) will change their mind,” one scorer told me. “They’ve dug in their heels, and don’t want to admit they went about this the wrong way. It’s frustrating, because, if anything, this deer should be scored by the Wisconsin organization. If it was, it would unseat the Jordan Buck as the state’s all-time largest typical ever.”
The Jordan Buck was the World Record typical for many years. The Hanson Buck unseated it in 1995.
I also talked with several Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club members, and they said they wished their organization would stand up for what is right … and score the buck. One member told me he was puzzled why this hasn’t already happened, because WBBC is in no way affiliated with B&C. When asked why there was then a problem with scoring the King Buck, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Some of these guys are B&C-certified scorers and others aspire to become B&C scorers some day. They don’t want to jeopardize that by not towing the so-called company line.”
“I talked with most of the guys, and the vast majority of the Wisconsin Buck and Bear scorers think it is a typical 12-pointer,” another scorer said. “Not one of them said they thought it was a nontypical. However, we can’t do anything because B&C made their decision on it, and we just have to let it go away. It’s not right. It’s not fair. And it definitely is making me rethink how I view both organizations. This should be about giving a deer its due. It should not be about placating some guy’s ego. Some of these guys are acting like a bunch of little girls. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “We don’t care if it is the biggest buck ever killed. We have to save face and rally around our guys.”
Said another scorer, “This all very saddening. If you want my opinion, there are a lot of cowards in this building (where the rack was on hand). Someone needs to man-up and do the right thing.”
— What do you think? Should the King Buck be panel-scored, or should it go down as the buck that was almost the new world record? Let us know by entering your thoughts by clicking the REPLY button at the bottom of this page.
More coverage on the King Buck: