Most WBBC Members Mum on King Buck

Johnny King Buck

By Duncan Dobie, D&DH Contributor

In the weeks that have passed since Deer & Deer Hunting broke the inside story behind the potential world-record Johnny King Buck, many antler experts have checked in with an opinion on whether or not this deer deserves to be panel-scored.

Everyone, that is, except the largest record-keeping organization from the state where the buck was killed: The Wisconsin Buck & Bear Club.

It appears this will not change. Furthermore, it appears the WBBC is collectively hoping the King Buck will vanish into obscurity even though the disputed buck would easily take over the Badger State’s top spot as a typical if the buck’s original score sheet was submitted for entry into WBBC. As we reported earlier, the buck was initially gross-scored at more than 220 typical inches and netted more than 215 shortly after it was killed in 2006.

A few WBBC members had previously gone on record to state that they believe the buck is a typical 6-by-6 and, hence, stands a good chance at unseating Milo Hanson for the top spot among Boone and Crockett’s all-time record list for typicals. The club itself, however, has remained deafeningly silent.

Over the past two weeks, Deer & Deer Hunting has attempted to contact each of the 13 officers listed on the WBBC directory (four state officers and nine regional directors). We attempted contacting all of them to get their responses to a few simple questions.

Among the questions were:

1. Have you had the opportunity to view the King Buck in person?

2. What are your thoughts on this deer … do you believe it is a typical or nontypical?

After word got out that we were contacting the officers, a WBBC director allegedly contacted the rest of the group and instructed them not to speak with us. What follows are the comments from the directors/officers who did talk with us.

Eli Randall – Chairman, Chicago, Ill. :

“The deer was measured and B&C made its decision as to what it should score. As far as I’m concerned, the right call has been made. Most of the feed-back I’ve received goes against the deer becoming a world record. I think if you were to poll most of the scorers in Wisconsin, more than half would go with B&C’s ruling.

“B&C recently clarified its decision and it remains firm on its call. If anything were to change on it in the future, it would have to come from B&C. Our Club follows B&C guidelines and there would be no reason for us to take any kind of action on this deer unless it was directed by B&C. 

“It’s a great deer but the score it was assigned (180 1/8) is about right, so we don’t see this thing as a big controversy. The people who continue to fuel this debate and who are for the deer are the ones who have the most to gain (if the deer’s G-3s were to be declared typical instead of abnormal by a panel of scorers). It’s too bad because these people are ruining hunting. Today, if a guy kills a big deer, he’s all over the Web trying to make money off the deer. Everything’s about money.

“The King Buck has probably gotten a lot more publicity over this controversy than it would have it had been declared a world’s record to start with. The Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club has not made an official statement on this issue and maybe it should. It may in the near future.”

Two WBBC members disagree with Randall’s belief that the deer’s right antler includes an abnormal point. Both of them are the only WBBC members who have actually scored the rack themselves — Herman Feller and Marlin Laidlaw. Another director, Dan Mantz, deferred to Laidlaw’s expertise.

Herman Feller – Vice Chairman, Viroqua, Wis. :

“The article (in Deer & Deer Hunting) pretty much said it all and I’ve told everyone in the Club what I think. I wish things had been done differently from the start. I was at the Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo in 2007 when the deer came in and drew a lot of attention. That’s why I assisted Ron Boucher in scoring the deer when the WB&B Club panel fell apart in October 2010.

“Unfortunately it was just two guys, Ron and me. But we did it the way it should have been done. If there had been three WB&B Club measurers, instead of the two of us, scoring the deer it might have constituted a panel. (Note: Herman and Ron came up with a typical score of 213 6/8, 1/8 inch higher than Milo Hanson’s current world record. A ‘panel’ in Wisconsin can consist of three WB&B measurers.)

“The King Buck never got a fair panel. And for B&C to say you can’t panel a 180 is pure bull. A deer of this magnitude ought to be panel scored. I think the guy (Johnny King) got screwed. If things had been done right in 2007 after the deer was killed, it would have been a world’s record no question. But now after 5 years, the rack has no doubt had some shrinkage.

“I became a measurer and started doing this stuff because I wanted to be an advocate of hunting. I wanted to make a difference. But now, beyond the Johnny King buck, there’s far too much political stuff going on with measuring deer; far too much bull. There’s far too much controversy on how you score certain deer and way too much inconsistency in scoring. I don’t get it. I’d like to see some consistency in the system. 

“I’m frustrated about the whole thing. I’m a firm believer in trying to do what’s right and what happened to the King buck is not what’s right. Bottom line: The deer and the hunter are the ones who really got screwed. Hopefully out of all of this controversy, the system will change for the better! That’s what I’d like to see.”

Marlin Laidlaw, Director – Marshfield, Wis.:

“I haven’t changed my mind since the story was written. But I have spent a lot time studying the original rack. Jay Fish was nice enough to let me have it for a while. I told Jay that I was going to take some minute measurements and photos of the rack to further determine if the tine (right G-3) was indeed typical or abnormal. I told him whatever the outcome was – either typical or abnormal— that would be that. Jay said that he would abide by whatever I came up with.

“While I had the rack in my possession, I took a series of new photos and measurements that only serve to support my opinion. The G-3 is a typical tine. From all the evidence I’ve been able to gather, it would be much more difficult to call it an abnormal tine.

“When I was analyzing the rack I asked myself, ‘Can I prove that this animal meets the requirement for a typical?’ All of my answers have been, ‘Yes!’ Nowhere in the B&C measurer’s manual can I find anything to indicate this tine is an abnormal point.

“I’ve found that decisions on tines like this are frequently made based on visuals. The right G-3 is shorter than its match on the left side and it’s also slightly smaller in diameter. Visually, it certainly looks different, but looks don’t make it an abnormal point.  That’s why I still maintain my original view that none of the points are abnormal.”

Dan Mantz – Director, Slinger, Wis.: 

“I haven’t seen the deer in person, but I have heard some of the stories about it. As far as the way it should be scored goes — I’m not an official B&C scorer and I don’t have the credentials to give an opinion one way or the other — but it appears to me that it should be scored as a 12-point main frame typical. It’s a touchy situation and my opinion doesn’t mean a thing so I prefer to stay neutral in the debate.

“I respect Marlin Laidlaw because of his long experience with the club and I would go along with anything he says. Whatever Marlin says is the way it should be. I wouldn’t have a problem at all with seeing the WB&B Club panel score it, but I understand that no one wants to go against B&C.” 

Andy Stemagel, Treasurer – Appleton, Wis.:

“It is what it is. B&C made a judgement and a ruling and our club is abiding by it. That’s all I can say. I’m a state measurer I’m not in a position to give an opinion. Right now it’s a dead horse. If B&C decides to panel it some day, that’ll be fine, but right now the club is following B&C’s directive."

Skip Peterson – Director, Arena, Wis.:

“I know about the King buck and would rather not comment on it.”

Brian Ihlenfeldt, Secretary – Kewaunee, Wis.:

“I have no comment. The determination has been made.”
The following six directors did not respond or return our phone calls: John Crook of Spring Green, John Jubeck of Milwaukee, Tom Senft of East Troy, Ken Zimmerman of Spooner, Randy St. Ores of Hudson, and Craig Cousins of St. Luck.

20 thoughts on “Most WBBC Members Mum on King Buck

  1. Jeremiah

    After 3 years bowhunting and 4 yeas rifle hunting I was fortunate enought to have taken my very first deer (with a bow) ever this past fall. It was the single greatest day of my life. I managed to down a huge 13 point buck that according to my taxidermist scored 185, much more than I expected. I never had him weighed but estimate that he went between 250 and 300 pounds, closer to 300 pounds. At the urging of a few friends I decided to have it officially scored by Boone & Crocket. However, I was let down so to speak when he came back at 167 and 3/8. But it wasnt the score that disapointed me, it was the manner in which I was told. The B&C scorer came across as somewhat arogant. He almsot made it sound as if my buck was a good buck, but not that good and the term "management buck" was even thrown out there. I don’t dispute the score one bit, but I can tell you I will never have B&C score another animal for me again nor will I give them another dime. I don’t need Boone and Crocket to tell me how special my harvest is. If you ask me, I shot the biggest deer ever and thats really matters the most.

  2. carL

    Controversies like this, regardless of the outcome, highlight the negative aspects of scoring bucks and these scoring organizations, and the financial loss and gain that factor into the outcomes. Ignore the idealistic talk and the technical details, and follow the money.

  3. Klaus Lebrecht

    I have stayed in the shadows through most of the months of controversy surrounding the Johnny King Buck and its score and have listened carefully to both sides of the issue. To be very frank, I am rather flabbergasted at what has turned into an opinion debate of what many different people think rather than a debate specificaly about the facts. By that I mean what does the B & C scoring manual specifically say regarding "out of sequence points"? What criteria does it use to instruct the measurers on how to identify those points accurately? Before I went further with my investigation, I purchased the third B & C edition scoring manual to read first hand its’ regulations and not have them lost in translation from any other source. I would highly recommend others to do the same to really get to the heart of the matter. Before I move ahead it needs to be clarified that the issue is not a common base call or is it the fact that the deer’s right main beam had been fractured by one of the bullets that hit it a few inches up from the base. It is specifically a question if the G3 on the right side is an "out of sequence" point? If so, it would then be determined to be a nontypical point. This having been said, it brings me back to the B & C scoring manual and I would like to add it is very clear and well written. First point of criteria to consider by a scoring offical, is often whitetails will grow an uneven amount of points , (examples 4×5 or a 5×6). If the points are not relatively evenly spaced from one another on the main beam and there isn’t a matching opposing tine on the other side, a tine then could be judged as an "out of sequence" point thus entering its point value as a deduction to the final score rather than adding in its point value. In the case of the Johny King Buck, the G3 in question has a mate on the opposing side in exactly the same location. Thus, under this ruling the criteria presented could not be applied to the King Buck. This being true, you then have a clean 6×6 main frame rather than a 5×6, also ruling out the claim of it being a "out of sequence" point. There has been much discussion about the fact that the G3 in question favors the inside edge of the main beam rather than the center. In other words, it does not grow dead center of the beam. If this criteria was applied to all whitetails scored, literally thousands of antlers would have issues regarding point placement on the main beam. For those that do not know me, I humbly say that I have been very blessed to have held in my hands hundreds of the world’s greatest whitetails for the purpose of molding them for reproductions. This makes me no expert or gives me any kind of scoring credentials, but it has allowed me over the years to have been privy to examining many state and world record heads personally. I can say confidently, that I have witnessed dozen of heads that have a more questionable appearance and point placement than the Johnny King Buck. The most recent is the Stephen Jansen #1 typical from Alberta. I totally agree with the score it was given, but if the same scrunity that is now being applied to the King Buck were applied to the Jansen Buck, you would have a different outcome in its score. I could list many such heads. In conclusion, I would like to say that I personally endorse and support the B & C scoring system as I do all other systems of scoring antlered trophies. All systems have strengths and weaknesses as none are perfect or cover every possible scenerio. You have to add in the (HUMAN FACTOR) and voila! you have the current debate. In the case of the Johnny King Buck, I clearly think that the B & C manual as written is ultimately the tool to be used to decide the fate of the King Buck. Anything else becomes a matter of opinion to which there are many. I really feel confident that the conclusion most would reach after considering the facts and rules presented in this manual, the King Buck would emerge as the new World Record Typical.

  4. 11 Point Mark

    It is not an abnornmal point case closed. Wisconsin holds the World Record as it should anyway, because we all know the truth about how the Hanson Buck was taken. It is what it is; clone it, put it in a display at Cabellas and let the boyz in Wis get along to shoot another. Understand this buck was taken in nearly ground 0 of the CWD area, it is a double trophy.

  5. Doug Trapp

    If the B&C is so sure than just panel score the deer already and make everyone happy. Remember, with out members you have no club. Eli Randell-Chairman Chicago, Ill. You feel that today, if a guy kills a big deer, hes all over the web trying to make money off the deer and everything is about the money. I don’t see anything wrong with making money off a deer. We spend far more harvesting them than we will ever get in meat. Your clubs are about the money too by charging us member fees to don’t go there.

  6. Jason H

    These Wisconsin scorers are acting like the Democrats who ran to Illinois earlier this year because they didn’t like the way their Governor was going to take away union benefits. I see the Wisconsin Buck Club president is from Illinois? Is this a coincidence? Are the scorers all hiding in his basement, afraid to talk to D&DH?

  7. Barry

    Why can’t this deer be given it’s due? Is one B&C scorer so afraid that a panel will find his "judgement" to be wrong? Who does this guy think he is…God?

  8. Jeff Baker

    As a past Pope &Young measurer I can say that I believe as well that they are a lot of politics in both the B&C and P&Y club. If you will notice almost always a point in that location is ruled abnormal because it doesn’t fall into a perfect category. Deer are not all the same or all perfect and should be scored as such.

  9. bphilb

    Interesting story. I keep seeing you say the DD&H broke the story of the King Buck. I believe North American Witetail published teh first story on the King buck 4 years ago. At that time they started questioning the score and whether this was a potential new workd record.
    Somebody step up and panel score this sucker and settle this matter.

  10. Theodosios Pantelakis

    I have been keeping up with all the news about the King Buck & believe the people who have taken a share of their own opinion has given the sport an ugly name. They have personal opinions why the buck should not reign as the new typical world record & without a doubt have given Mr King & the deer the the worst judgment in human dignity. It is truly a shame to be connected to such an outrageous misfortune. The buck & Mr. King should be reinstated as the new World Record Typical Buck. The King Buck.

  11. Pete

    I think that there should be another panel put togetter to score this deer, or another scoring panel put togetter to score all future
    scoring, I think this Deer may be the turning point for B&C because no one will take any of their future decision to heart, how do you upset a club you start a new one.

  12. Jason Clark

    WOW, is this really were we are with big bucks. I think the nation as hunters is hurting itself and our future in hunting. The rules have been in place for a long time now on scoring all hunted animals. Some now we are concerned with upseting B&C? Seems funny to me, how exactly do you upset a club, you don’t, you upset the one who made the orignal decision. Funny, I thought that is why when in question on scoring the panel was to decide. That way it was a club decision, not one man’s. Regardless of this deer and the outcome, who would want to join a club if all it is going to do is cost you money and grief. Many great deer hunters do not show case there deer at all, wonder if it’s because of club decisions like this one? Which is sad, those deer and many like it will never be known about. I know of a 200" buck in Iowa that the farmer has no plans or desire to show B&C or any clue, he is just a deer hunter who will always know the truth about his deer.

  13. Roger Ashley

    This is messed up how they are pawining off the decision was made by b&c. I dont understand why they are acting like they have soooo much to loose by giving thus buck a fair scoring. It s just wrong that they choose to be like that.

  14. Sterling Proffitt

    Sadly, there appears to be a majority of the officers of the WBBC who follow the B&C’s biased decision on the King Buck like lemmings off a cliff. The comment from WBBC’s treasurer that the B&C’s decision, "It is what it is", also, and sadly, is true about politics. A B&C panel scoring this buck is all that is needed fairly and reasonably to settle this dispute, but I guess some egos are too fragile to potentially be shown that they were and are wrong. Some folk need to stop and smell what they are shoveling.

  15. Carl J. Pieper

    This really sounds bad for the hunter and the rack. Money has destroyed most good things and many people.

  16. james clarke

    the buck has been proven by many to b a record typical. thats why its a shame when someone kills a big deer people are either trying to get rich off of it or the game wardens are trying to prove it was taken illegally whatever the outcome it is truly a giant. its a shame it isnt going to b the new record

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