In a move that could forever change how white-tailed deer antlers will be scored in the future, the prestigious Northeast Big Buck Club today announced that the Johnny King Buck from Wisconsin is the new No.1 typical-antlered buck of all time.
By Daniel E. Schmidt
The King Buck was panel-scored by the club April 13 and assessed a final typical score of 221-6/8 inches, easily beating the former No. 1 deer — the Milo Hanson Buck of Saskatchewan, which was killed in the early 1990s.
By club rule, the panel consisted of one official Boone and Crockett scorer, one member of the Northeast Big Buck Club, and the official scorer who first scored the record in question. These men, respectively, are NEBB founder and president Jeff Brown; his father, Everett Brown, and Ron Boucher of Vermont. Boucher is one of North America’s most seasoned antler scorers, having served as a member of the B&C Club’s measurers for more than 30 years.
Although the Northeast club’s 11,000 whitetail entries are mostly from the Northeast — Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Pennsylvania — it also includes deer from throughout North America that are considered in the top tier of their class. In fact, every state with big deer is represented in the club, with more than 1,000 bucks coming from areas as far west as Montana.
The high score of 221-6/8 represents the King Buck’s gross typical score. The Northeast Big Buck club does not recognize net scores for its records. The Hanson Buck’s gross score of 220-5/8 inches has stood as a club record for nearly two decades.
Brown, president and founder of the Northeast Big Buck Club, said the King Buck is definitely, in his mind, a 6-by-6 typical.
“No doubt about it,” Brown said. “We spent three hours yesterday with this deer. We analyzed every rulebook we have and determined that it meets every single requirement for that of a typical.
“Our goal is not to dispute Boone and Crockett. Our goal is to be consistent with the rules of a gross-scoring club, in which there is no over-emphasis on symmetry. Symmetry is purely related to net scores.”
Brown emphasized that his club did not seek out the King Buck. The club, he said, scored it at the request of the trophy’s owner, Jay Fish. Because Brown said knew the rack might potentially contend for top of the list status, he enlisted the NEBBC rules, which required a panel-score. He said he is not concerned about any backlash from B&C or NEBBC.
“Our members get more excited about deer from the Northeast,” Brown said. “But we do not exclude anyone. We are all about celebrating the animal; regardless of where it came from.”
In the three-hour panel-scoring session, Brown said the measurers used several precedents for assistance in scoring the rack. One of them, he said, was the Klucky Buck, a giant nontypical killed in New Hampshire that scores in excess of 199 inches.
“There is an uncanny similarity between that deer and the King Buck,” Brown said. “Very similar. It has kind of the same thing going on … two close points that are matched on the other side.
“We strive for consistency,” Brown added. “We do not want to be arbitrary about anything.
“It was a pretty intense scoring session.”
Dropping down to number three on the club’s all-time typical list will be the Raymond Gean Buck from Quebec (189-6/8). The club’s number one nontypical is the Mike Letowraneau Buck from Kansas, which was killed in 1999 and scored 230-5/8 inches.
Although the panel’s decision automatically makes the King Buck the new No. 1 for the Northeast Big Buck Club, it will officially be recognized during the club’s annual banquet in July. The banquet will be held in Chicopee, Mass., with more than 500 club members expecting to be in attendance.
“This is indicative of what every big-buck hunter cares about,” said one scorer. “Nets are for fish; no one cares about deductions. I don’t know who ever came up with that idea, but it’s pretty silly when you sit down and think about it. The Northeast Big Buck Club finds reasons to embrace and celebrate big deer. That’s why they have thousands of members, and all of the hundreds of measurers are volunteers.”
News of the King Buck becoming the top deer in the Northeast club could land a double-knockout punch to both B&C and the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club. The deer languished in controversy for years until B&C finally acknowledged the situation in 2012. And, just last week, members of the Wisconsin club refused to take a look at the deer while most of them were in Madison, the state’s capital, for the Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo — one of the nation’s largest gatherings of trophy whitetail hunters and antler enthusiasts.
Brown said he does not fear retribution from B&C for his club’s actions in scoring the King Buck.
“I am fully aware of the controversy surrounding this deer,” Brown said. “We respect B&C and always have, but we do not answer to them. This is not an indictment of B&C.
“We believe the B&C system is still the best and most representative of all the systems out there, but our gross-scoring system is one we believe the general public appreciates. The Big Buck Club believes the deer deserves credit for everything it has grown.”
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