Editors Blog

‘Biggest Buck Ever Killed’ Won’t Be Reviewed

Johnny King Buck from Wisconsin

Although it was not officially on display, the rack from the Johnny King Buck was on hand at a Wisconsin deer expo this past weekend. Although official scorers would not look at the rack, it generated a buzz among show-goers. Here, 13-year-old Cam Anfang of Sullivan, Wis., admires what some say is the largest typical ever killed in North America. (photo by Daniel E. Schmidt)


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:

VIDEO: Johnny King talks about the day he killed his buck.

ARTICLE: Read the in-depth exclusive about the controversy.

Q&A: Questions and Answers About the King Buck.

PHOTOS: See close-up photos of the rack and the disputed points.

SCORING BREAKDOWN: A closer look inside the numbers.











15 thoughts on “‘Biggest Buck Ever Killed’ Won’t Be Reviewed

  1. jbnut

    Daniel & Davey would roll over in their graves if they knew how their names were being draged through the “mud” over a political game like this. What would it hurt to panel score the buck, remember it’s the buck that is supposed to be honored, let the panel make the decision not 1 person who’s afraid to have his feelings hurt. SCORE THE BUCK! LET THE SCORE FALL WHERE IT MAY. If B&C refuses take it to Buckmasters or SCI to be scored.

  2. kumprey

    B&C- losing face fast. The way the world works when things are done right is this…
    if you may be wrong, admit it and correct the situation. If you think you are right, prove it. Re-score it with a panel, and show that you were correct. This will put the issue to rest. Otherwise it will continue to affect your image and support. It is sad the overwhelming feeling is one guy screwed up, and the organization has been back-peddling ever since, not giving the deer, the hunter, and the every day hunter their due. Realizing you don’t want to re-score every angry hunter who doesn’t like their score… but this is an unusual exception that was botched from the start. Do the right thing, B&C, or your image will never be the same. If you do not, shame on you. Shame on you.

  3. Sailfish

    This quote (amongst what others have said on here) really stand out and say it all:

    ““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.””

    BC now believes they are bigger than the game………so to speak

  4. DBoothe59

    Why is it so hard for B&C to admit they might have errored and at least score the buck? “Pride goeth before the fall” and this might signal a large fall for the B&C group! What makes it right for a small group, who from within their own ranks privately admit it should be scored, to just walk away from such a prize!
    If an average hunter cannot get his day in court, then why the fantasy of ever reaching a goal of taking a B&C buck of this magnitude and have it summarily dismissed by a bunch of stuck up individuals, who didn’t like the way it looked or who took it! This certainly diminishes the status of this group in my eyes! I believe this might qualify as discrimination!?

  5. freak nasty 145

    Is this club an “elitist” club or what? I thought this was about the deer. Not about protecting good ol boys club.

  6. bones721

    I think the deer needs to be scored by someone else than B&C. Give the deer and the hunter there just do. So what if it nocks the other deer out. sounds like it is time for a new face

  7. Laturkeyhtr

    Absolutely, it should be scored! Unless of course there is some reason other than one of the original scorers that for what ever reason refused to score it. Get rid of him! Then do what is right and panel score the buck so there is a fair consensus and agreement about the King buck.

  8. erjunkie1990

    I think this buck should be scored. It’s a shame that B&C wouldn’t want to honor such an awesome buck. Maybe B&C need to take a step back and remember what their organization stands for. I may never harvest an animal that would qualify for B&C but if I did, not sure I would want to.

  9. Centralwisconsinland

    It should be scored some sort of vendetta against Wisconsin deer and hunters

  10. Rodknocker

    I’ve never really cared for the way B&C conducted business anyway but this has “put the nail in the coffin” for me. If anything it looks like some palmation on that beam and not common base. These guys need to get their heads out of their rears and give this deer the credit it deserves. I’d have him scored with SCI and forget the B&C club. that’s just my tow cents.

  11. Buckrub

    Of course it should be scored !! B&C has taken a wrongful, elitist stance towards this magnificent buck. It should be about the animal, not a bunch of self-righteous fools !!!!

  12. WBowhunt

    Just to Add, I believe that B&C use to have a great stewardship for the Land and Conservation. They sought first to protect and enhance habitat and improve such for wildlife. They sought to protect and enhance Hunter Ethiics, But after seeing how this was handled ( With little Ethics ), I can not help but question how the organization is now run and that is the reason behind my previous post.

  13. Silver49

    This fiasco is what happens when super inflated egos, vanity, politics and an entrenched bureaucracy refuses to see reason and fundamental fairness. To me, it is simple and ethical to have a panel of unbiased B&C scorers to determine if the King Buck is typical or not. How can the B&C make a unilateral determination without having first officially scored the rack? This appears to be “bass-ackwards”, and should be an embarrassment to, and cause a loss of respect to the B&C. My view of the B&C has taken a dip as regards how this matter has been handled. Also, if these several B&C scorers believe off the record that this rack is “typical”, they should grow a pair and say-so on the record, or does the First Amendment not apply to the B&C membership?

  14. WBowhunt

    Although I will most likely never harvest a buck that would qaulify for B&C. I would never and will never, support B&C in any way. I also intend to watch for companies that support them and I will think twice before I purchase their products.

Comments are closed.