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|
Shopping for Justice
After examining the rack, Laidlaw told Fish that he would talk to some other WBBC officials and attempt to set up an objective panel-scoring session at the upcoming Deer and Turkey Expo in April 2010. Naturally, Fish and King were elated the deer might be given an impartial hearing. If nothing else, they hoped to get it recognized in the state of Wisconsin.Their elation was short-lived. Just before the expo, Reneau allegedly caught wind of the possible panel-scoring session and contacted several WBBC measurers, allegedly telling them Fish was “shopping for a score” and instructing them not to score the King Buck under any circumstances. The end result: The deer was deemed too controversial to allow into the show, and the anticipated scoring session never occurred.
Because so many people asked to see the rack, Fish ended up sneaking it into the show, but kept it out of sight in a box at a friend’s booth. While the rack was there, several official measurers — including several members of the WBBC — got an opportunity to examine it. With the exception of one man, all agreed the rack should have been scored as a straight 6-by-6 typical.
In fact, a WBBC officer told Fish, “This really p…..es me off! This sort of thing never should have happened in Wisconsin or with B&C. This deer is typical all the way, no question.”
According to Laidlaw, proper protocol for scoring a deer of this magnitude was not followed, and that’s where things went astray. After it was officially scored by Ramsey as a typical 6-by-6, the next step should have been for the buck to be panel-scored by WBBC members. At that point, the final entry score would have been submitted to B&C. If that had happened, it’s likely that an impartial group of WBBC measurers would have scored the deer as a 6-by-6 typical. Then, even if Reneau had refused to accept a typical score, the WBBC would have been in a good position to protest the ruling.
However, because of the lingering question regarding the broken beam, proper protocol wasn’t followed. Instead, King was told to take the rack to Pennsylvania so that it could be examined by Reneau. Instead of allowing the WBBC to get involved and panel-score the rack and come to its own conclusion, Reneau made an arbitrary ruling declaring the G-3 tine to be abnormal. After that ruling was made, the WBBC felt like its hands were tied, and the club had to abide by the ruling.
Interestingly, Laidlaw later had the rack precisely measured by a laser-measuring device. Amazingly, all of the tines were found to be almost perfectly symmetrical from side to side as far as spacing is concerned, and both G-3 tines were found to be rising up off of the main beam at the same angle as most of the other typical tines.
In other words, if the G-3s were abnormal, all of the other typical tines on the rack would have to be scored as abnormal tines. In short, all of the upright tines on one of the world’s
greatest 6-by-6 typical bucks with an almost perfectly symmetrical rack (except for the length difference of the G-3s) would have to be scored as abnormal points.
A Master Measurer Weighs In
Several more months passed. Because so many people in Wisconsin believed the deer had not gotten a fair shake, another tentative panel-scoring session was set up for October 2010 in Marshfield, Wis. Several prominent WBBC measurers again were invited to take part.
Just before the session was to take place, however, one of the club officers called Reneau and asked permission to allow the club to panel-score the deer. Reneau adamantly refused, and for the second time in 2010, a scoring session was cancelled at the last minute.
Ron Boucher, a highly respected B&C measurer from Vermont, had been following the plight of the King Buck since he saw it at the Iowa Deer Classic in 2010. Highly experienced in scoring deer, Boucher had been one of the panel members who scored the world record Hanson Buck in the mid-1990s. Because he planned to be bow-hunting in Wisconsin in late October, he also planned to attend the panel-scoring session — strictly as an observer.
“When I arrived, I knew that Fish and many others who were anticipating the scoring were deeply let down that the panel session had been cancelled, so I volunteered to score the rack myself,” he said. “I felt like it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t trying to go against B&C, but there were so many mitigating circumstances involving the rack. Jay never asked me to score it, I simply volunteered. After all, this is a pretty special deer. To my knowledge, it’s the only straight 6-by-6 with no abnormal points ever to gross over 220 inches.”
Boucher knew he might be castigated by B&C for scoring the deer. After careful scrutiny, he said he believed both G-3s met the criteria to be scored as typical points, so he scored the rack as a typical 6-by-6. When he added up his numbers, he did a double-take. Incredibly, his figures tallied up a net typical score of 213 6/8 inches, beating Milo Hanson’s world-record score by 1/8 inch!
Boucher submitted his score to B&C along with a six-page letter explaining his reasons for what he had done and why he thought the deer should be scored as a typical 6-by-6, according to the rules of scoring outlined in the B&C scorer’s manual.
Reneau refused to accept the score.
Sadly, one of the world’s greatest whitetails has been denied a chance to be recognized as a potential world record by Boone and Crockett, and the hunter who took that buck by fair-chase means has been sorely disappointed time and again the past four years.
As a result, the King Buck has not been entered in B&C and probably never will be. Nor has it been recognized in any way by Wisconsin. Because of the way things were mishandled from the beginning, the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club has apparently been hamstrung to do anything to rectify the situation.
King often wonders, “Will this unfortunate situation ever change? Even if B&C reverses its one-man ruling and agrees to panel-score the rack at some future date, could my buck receive a fair and impartial scoring? Will the WBBC ever change its collective mind and agree to panel-score the rack for the sake of the Wisconsin record book?”
In short, antler aficionados everywhere will be left wondering: Will the King Buck ever get its due? My guess: Only if someone has the courage to stand up and do what is right.
Currently, it appears as though one of the greatest whitetails of all time has been unjustly condemned. What a tragedy — for the deer, the hunter who took it, the state of Wisconsin and the deer hunting world in general.
— Duncan Dobie is a whitetail hunting expert and professional outdoor writer from Georgia.
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