Many of us deer hunters romanticize the scenarios in which world-class deer should be killed. Often, this means hunting one specific buck for weeks, months, even seasons on end with many close calls. The hunter might place trail cameras to monitor the deer’s movements or tend to food plots in hopes of narrowing the buck’s home range.
In the end, the hunter kills the buck after “outsmarting” the deer on its home turf.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming a little dream. I’m not saying it never goes down like that, because sometimes it does. However, in the case of world-class bucks, the opposite seems to be reality: Hunter goes hunting; things don’t go quite as planned; and, seemingly by pure luck, the hunter comes home with a world-record buck.
It happened with the Jordan Buck. On Nov. 20, 1914, James Jordan and Egus Davis rented a horse and wagon for the day so they could hunt deer just south of Danbury, Wis. Both hunters would have been happy to fill their tags with does. In fact, Davis did just that at first light. While Davis tended to his deer, Jordan kept hunting along a railroad right-of-way. Before long, an oncoming train spooked a huge 10-pointer past Jordan. He placed the iron sights of his .25-20 Win. on the running buck’s neck and started firing. By the time he was out of shells, he had hit it once. With only one cartridge remaining in his pocket, Jordan trailed the buck to a riverbank and finished it off.
It also happened with the Hanson Buck. On the second day of Saskatchewan’s gun season in 1993, Milo and three friends spotted a monster buck entering a patch of willows. Three mini deer drives and perhaps more than a dozen shots later, the world-record buck was on the ground for good.
And then it happened with the Johnny King Buck.
King, who was toting an iron-sighted Savage .30-30 Win. that had been in his family for 70 years, spent a few unproductive hours on stand on opening day of Wisconsin’s 2006 deer season. At that point, he left the woods to meet his family and friends for an annual deer drive of a small woodlot. King and his uncle had turns to be “standers.” They took their positions along a power line. As they were waiting for the drive to begin, both saw a flash of white in front of them. They both got shots at the running deer, but missed. The buck never left the woodlot, however, and King eventually made a killing shot. Upon retrieving the deer, he soon learned that one of his shots had struck the buck at the base of one of its thick antlers.
How could three 200-plus-inch typicals fly so far under the radar and eventually be killed so unceremoniously? You can say it happened by fate, happenstance or 100 percent dumb luck.
That doesn’t concern me. I’ll call them all world-class reality hunts and then marvel in the beauty of these incredible whitetails.
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