KING BUCK TABLE OF CONTENTS
|A World-Record Cover-Up?||Videos||Photos: D&DH Examines Antlers|
|More Photos||King Buck In-Depth Q&A||BTR Score Sheet of the Rack|
|Reneau’s View||Schmidt: King Buck Deserves Another Look||Contact B&C|
An Emotional Roller Coaster
King said he was urged to contact the B&C headquarters in Montana and make arrangements to have the rack examined and possibly panel-scored. King said he called the club office and learned that the Pope and Young Club (keeper of archery records in North America) would soon be conducting its 25th Biennium National Convention and Awards Banquet in April 2007, near Lancaster, Pa. King said he was told by a B&C official that he could take the rack to Pennsylvania to have it examined and obtain a ruling about the break in the main beam.
So, thinking he might have a possible world-record whitetail that would need to be panel-scored if the break issue could be resolved, King jumped into his truck and drove 1,200 miles to Pennsylvania with his dad and a close friend. Expectations were high.
King said when he reached the Cabela’s store in Hamburg, Pa., where the actual scoring was being done by officials of P&Y and B&C, he was ushered into a room where Jack Reneau, executive secretary of B&C, and Glenn and Kevin Hisey of P&Y were scoring various big-game heads for the archery record book. Ashley was also there. King said Reneau asked him and Ashley to leave the room so he could examine the rack. Some time later, King and Ashley were ushered back into the room.
King said Reneau then informed him that because the break in the main beam was a clean break, the antlers could be accepted into the record book. However, he also dropped a bombshell. He told King he had determined the right G-3 was an “abnormal point” because it came more from the inside base of the G-2 instead of the top of the main beam. According to scoring procedure, that also put the left G-3 in the abnormal category. That meant the rack would have to be scored as a mainframe 5-by-5 with two abnormal points (both G-3s) instead of as a typical 6-by-6 with no abnormal points.
It also meant that instead of netting in the 215-plus range, the typical score of King’s buck would drop into the low 180s.
King said Reneau then informed him there was no need to panel-score the rack because B&C doesn’t panel-score typical racks with scores in the low 180s. King was also told that if he wanted to get the rack entered in B&C, he would have to take it back to Ramsey in Wisconsin and have him officially score it with the G-3s being listed as abnormal points.
Somewhat bewildered and confused, King headed home. Basically the fate of his potential world-record buck had apparently been decided by the opinion of one B&C official instead of a panel of judges. As instructed, King took the rack to Ramsey who, on March 7, 2007, in accordance with Reneau’s implicit instructions, scored the rack and deducted the two “abnormal” G-3s, giving the deer a net typical score of 180.
King Moves On
Despite the tremendous letdown, King signed the appropriate papers and submitted the 180 1/8-inch score to B&C. In late March 2007, he took his antlers to the Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo in Madison. There, he was overwhelmed with the reception that his trophy received.
“Everyone who saw it, including a number of experienced measurers, said it was the biggest (typical) rack they had ever seen,” King said. “They kept asking me what it scored, and I would answer ‘180 1/8.’ They all said ‘No way! This deer is clearly a 200-plus-inch 6-by-6 typical!’”
Because of the overwhelming response he received at the expo, and after more whitetail experts (including several experienced official B&C and P&Y measurers) had looked at his rack and agreed the right G-3 was, in their collective opinion, not abnormal, King decided to cancel his B&C entry.
“I simply felt like it was much bigger than the 180 inches that Jack Reneau had assigned it,” King said.
While attending the show in Madison, King struck up a friendship with local antler collector Jay Fish of Edgar, Wis. Fish, like numerous other whitetail experts, also questioned the ruling. After careful examination of the rack, he believed the right G-3 was a typical point, and thought the rack should have remained a 6-by-6 typical as it had originally been scored.
“I’m gonna buy that deer some day if you ever decide to sell it,” Fish told King.
After the expo, King took the rack to well-known antler artist Tom Sexton in Iowa to have the broken beam repaired.
Buckmasters Declares it a Record
In the meantime, King contacted Mike Handley, executive director of Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records of Montgomery, Ala. After reviewing photos of the deer, Handley promptly flew to Wisconsin and scored the rack on King’s kitchen table. Just as Handley had suspected, the rack was the largest typical he had ever seen. His composite score (gross) came in at 219 5/8 inches.
(The rack’s official Buckmasters gross score came in at 198 2/8, because the Buckmasters scoring system does not include a rack’s inside spread measurement.)
King’s buck was soon declared a new world record by Buckmasters Trophy Records. The BTR full-credit scoring system uses the same measurements as B&C, except no inside spread measurement is included in the final score (which in King’s case was 21 3/8 inches) and no deductions are taken for side-to-side differences. The BTR perfect category is equivalent to the B&C typical category.
King’s buck was co-winner of Buckmasters’ prestigious Golden Laurel Citation for 2007. Handley, having scored hundreds of whitetail racks through the years, said there was never any question in his mind that both G-3s were typical points. According to his score sheet, there were 8 1/8 inches in side-to-side differences. Thus, on the B&C scale, his measurements would have given the rack a net typical score of 211 4/8 inches, slightly lower than Ramsey’s original score and not quite a world record, but definitely a Wisconsin state record. (The Jordan Buck still holds the state’s top spot at 206 and ranks No. 2 all time behind the Hanson Buck).
The Debate Rages On
Marlin Laidlaw is a past board member of the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club. Although he is not an official B&C scorer, Laidlaw has scored thousands of racks during his 27-year career with the WBBC. He first saw the King Buck on display at the Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo in 2007, and he said he immediately knew it was a giant buck. But at that time, Laidlaw was only vaguely aware of any controversy.
In 2009, Laidlaw said he received a call from a friend, Korey Schillinger, a local police chief, who asked him to look at a deer head. It turned out to be the King Buck.
As Laidlaw examined the rack, he listened to the story about the unfortunate ruling in which the right G-3 had been declared abnormal. However, it appeared to him that the rack could be scored as a typical. Schillinger told him the rack had never been scored for the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club.
Several more months passed. Laidlaw was haunted by what had happened, including the fact the rack had never been scored by the WBBC. His conscience would not let him forget about the King Buck. He called Fish, the new owner, and asked him if he could score it strictly for personal knowledge. Laidlaw said he made it plain to Fish that he would not be scoring the rack as a function of the WBBC or in any other official capacity.
Fish responded, “I’ve been accused of ‘shopping’ the score by B&C, even though I have never allowed one single official B&C measurer to score it. The only way I would ever allow it to be officially scored is if it goes to a panel. Since no one from the Buck and Bear Club has scored it yet, and since you’re not an official B&C scorer, I will make an exception and allow you to score it for your own purposes.”
Laidlaw measured the deer under the stated conditions and came up with a net typical score of 215 1/8 inches.
“I found it easy to call this rack a typical 215-plus-inch rack and difficult to call it a 180-inch typical or a nontypical,” Laidlaw said. “I learned early on in my scoring career that if it’s a close call, give it to the animal. The rules are fairly clear, but judgment does enter in to any measurement. The facts, as they relate to this deer, are:
“All points come off the top of the main beams.
“All points have a matching point on the other beam.
“What draws attention to the rack is that the right G-3 is shorter than its matching point on the left side. But the rules clearly state that differences in point length are accounted for in the ‘difference’ column.
“Then there is the question about ‘common base points.’ This occurs when two points share the same base, which increases the circumference between them. If this occurs, one point could be construed as ‘abnormal.’ This is a judgment call and, many times, results in confusion for hunters and scorers alike. Once you answer the question, ‘Do the points come off the top of the main beam and are they matched?’ it seems that any other determination that would change them to something other than ‘typical’ points is double jeopardy in my view.
“Under the common-base rule, to be able to count the tines as ‘typical’ they must have a figure 8 or peanut appearance if you removed both at the main beam. If they do, then you must draw the base line not at the beam but at the low point between the points — in this case between the G-2 and G-3. This is done so as not to give double credit because of the larger circumference as well as the extra point length.
“With the King Buck, I found the G-2s and G-3s do pass the figure 8 test, but I believe that although the points are growing close together, they are so evenly spaced that ‘common base’ might not necessarily be the call. I found this rack to be almost perfect with the exception of the length difference between the right and left G-3s.
“I have had numerous conversations with measurers who have a long history as B&C measurers, and they are of the belief that this deer is clearly a typical 200-plus-inch deer.”
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