Dan Schmidt: King Buck Deserves Another Look


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



by Daniel Schmidt, Deer & Deer Hunting editor

Inspecting the rack

Deer & Deer Hunting Editor Dan Schmidt (left) inspects the rack with Johnny King (right). (Photo by Kris Kandler, copyright F&W Media 2011)

If you haven’t read the entire story about the Johnny King Buck in this latest issue of Deer & Deer Hunting, I strongly suggest you do. This buck, killed nearly 5 years ago in Grant County, Wisconsin, is by all accounts the new World Record typical. That’s not so much the story here, however. The jaw-dropping aspect of this story is how one person’s inability — dare I say stubbornness — is preventing history from being recorded.

The Boone and Crockett Club is the world’s premier record-keeping organization. The same can be said for the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club, which (behind B&C and the Pope and Young Club) is the third largest record-keeping organization in North America. All three of these organizations rely on the selfless contributions of hundreds of volunteers to document North America’s greatest game animals. When dozens of these volunteers — individuals who know the scoring system inside and out — say that a wrong has been committed, someone needs to step up and right that wrong. Many of them have, including men like Ron Boucher — a man who incidentally served on the B&C panel that scored Milo Hanson’s buck as the new world record nearly 18 years ago. Ron has nothing to gain by standing up for the King Buck. In fact, he has almost everything to lose. But Ron decided that fighting the good fight was well worth it. After all, these records were originally implemented to honor the animals — not the hunters who killed them.

“This is hurting the Boone and Crockett Club,” he told me. “It is a tremendous black eye for B&C. The moment I looked at that rack, I said, ‘There’s no way that is an abnormal point.’ What’s right is right. Milo Hanson is a good, personal friend of mine. The last thing I wanted was to see is him lose his World Record standing, but this is not about him. It’s about the deer, and the King Buck is bigger, according to B&C rules.”

Boucher is not alone in these beliefs. Many other B&C scorers have, essentially, said the same thing, but most have cowered in fear over what B&C’s director of records will say or do to them if they come forward.

“It is time to do what is best for Boone and Crockett and let the truth be told,” Boucher said. “You have to remove all the favoritism and politics from this and let this deer get its due.”

The kicker to all of this? Not one of the B&C scorers that D&DH has talked with has called for the King Buck to be immediately anointed the new World Record. All they are asking for is that the Boone and Crockett Club allows this deer to be panel-scored by its own ranks. That’s not asking a lot. It is, however, telling a lot … that something is seriously amiss at the top of the club’s record-keeping program.

On its own website, B&C states: “The Club maintains the records of native North American Big Game as a vital conservation record in assessing the success of wildlife management programs.” The true irony here is that the King Buck was killed in what is considering “Ground Zero” for CWD management in North America — Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. How a buck could grow to 5-1/2 years in this environment and produce a world-record rack is nothing short of amazing.

In making my final statement, let’s get one thing straight: We all love the Boone and Crockett Club and what it stands for: wildlife guardianship, fair-chase hunting and high ethical standards. The volunteer scorers who we’ve cited in the feature article exemplify all of those traits.

Let’s all swallow some pride, put our feelings aside and determine truthfully where this deer ranks in the history books. Once and for all.


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More on King Buck

Videos: Deer & Deer Hunting One-on-One with Johnny King and Jay Fish

Photos: Deer & Deer Hunting Examines King Buck Antlers

More Photos of King Buck

King Buck In-Depth Q&A

See a Buckmasters Score Sheet of the Rack

Jack Reneau’s Point of View

Contact Boone & Crockett

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