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Trophy Bucks Typical Wisconsin

The Johnny King Buck: The Wisconsin ‘If’ Legend

by Jay Fish & Korey Schillinger   |  June 7th, 2011 17

On opening day of the Wisconsin firearms season last year, Johnny had taken his position as a stander during a family deer drive when this mammoth buck showed up before the drive even started. Johnny made a killing shot, but it took several hours and a lot of strength to recover this one-of-a-kind whitetail. Photos courtesy of Johnny King.

Deer hunting in Wisconsin is a rich tradition filled with much-anticipated family outings and wonderful memories passed on from one generation to the next. The opening of Wisconsin’s annual nine-day firearms season has generated incredible excitement and many a sleepless nighat for countless hunters young and old. Young first-time hunters can’t wait to get into the woods with their friends and families, and once grown, these same hunters become mentors who relish in carrying on the tradition with their own families.

With expectations running high and visions of large whitetail bucks racing through every deer hunter’s mind, opening day in Wisconsin is magical indeed. But how many avid hunters have actually had the opportunity to harvest a truly world-class buck? As Johnny King, of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, joined his family during the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 2006, that thought was the last thing on his mind. Certainly he harbored visions of downing a large-antlered trophy buck — every hunter has those — but never in his wildest dreams did he expect to come home with a buck that would be one of the largest typical whitetails ever taken!

Johnny was on property in Grant County, Wisconsin, that’s been in his family since the 1950s. Waking up at 3:30 a.m. on that memorable opening day, he gathered his gear and traveled to his mother’s house, where he joined his brother Jeff for the traditional opening-day family breakfast.

Over breakfast the two brothers talked about past hunts. Talk of getting out into the woods dominated their conversation. As Johnny went to the truck to make the drive to the family property, he found himself waiting for Jeff, who, as it turned out, couldn’t find his rosary. Each brother always carried a rosary when out hunting, and Jeff wasn’t going to leave home without his.

Because of the delay, the brothers arrived at the hunting property shortly after daylight. While driving in, they saw their Uncle Dale out in a field, and soon discovered that he’d already harvested his buck, just 15 minutes into the young season. They also noticed that he’d apparently lost a battle with his scope, as blood was dripping from a half-moon cut above his eye. But he certainly felt no pain as he scolded the two for being late, reminding them that they couldn’t shoot a deer if they weren’t in the woods. He declined any help with his buck and directed the pair to get into the woods instead.

After sitting until midmorning and not seeing any deer, both Johnny and Jeff joined the family at a nearby barn, where it was decided to do a traditional family drive through an area known as the “Pine Knob.” Unfortunately, no deer were seen on this drive, so again the family regrouped. The hunters next decided to drive a 100-acre parcel of land about a mile away. Having hunted this property for years, everyone was familiar with the lay of the land.

Johnny, Uncle Dale and a second uncle, Bob, were assigned to post — that is, take stands — while the other family members made the drive. Johnny walked down to a spot near a telephone pole that gave him a great view of a large draw, Uncle Bob positioned himself near a second telephone pole some distance away, and Uncle Dale put himself on a high point overlooking an escape funnel.

Johnny had only been settled in for a very short time when he saw a very large buck. He knew immediately that this was an extraordinary whitetail. At the time the buck was actually headed toward the drivers, and Johnny got only a quick glimpse. He lost sight of the buck as it disappeared into the draw, but he felt good about the situation, as the buck was headed in the general direction of Uncle Bob. A few moments later, he heard the unmistakable report of Uncle Bob’s .308, the loud blast echoing through the woods.

Johnny was now on full alert. Studying the woods in front of him, he spotted the giant whitetail running in some thick underbrush. There was no mistaking this buck for any other buck Johnny had ever seen: It was simply enormous. Johnny then spotted two does, and he watched as the giant buck came to a stop and directed his attention towards the two does. Seizing the opportunity, Johnny prepared to make a shot. Make it count! he thought as he took careful aim.

Steadying his Springfield Arms Model 840 bolt-action .30-30, Johnny lined up the front and rear sights and settled in on the buck’s shoulder. Knowing full well that he might never see a deer like this again in his lifetime, his heart raced as he again told himself to make the shot count.

  • Robert Birckhead

    Just a friendly comment on the pictures and an opinion.The G-2&3 on the right side grow as the ones on the left side, its very visible so all I can say is congratulations. I think you have the world record.But if they dont score it that way, I know for sure you have one AWESOME buck. And again congratulations from one hunter to another.

  • James Dalbesio III

    Kudos to Gordon Whittington for his objective 2nd look at the Johnny King buck. Beautiful big bucks should be far removed from politics, but sadly this doesn't seem to be the case. What's right is right and the King Buck should be afforded the respect it deserves and be panel scored. Sounds like there are some not-so-ethical fingers in the pie. The mandatory 60 day drying period has long since come & gone. Time to do what's right & afford the King Buck it's rightful place in whitetail history!!

  • Scott Vavra

    It is too bad that this amazing deer is not getting its due, because of a judgement call from one idiot at B&C!! All of the drama could be put to rest, all this power tripper from B&C has to due is allow the deer to be panel scored-put an end to all the political crap-give the animal its due credit-WHAT A DEER!!

  • Shane Romig

    Sorry guy's ,

    I disagree. The points in question look weak and abnormal. Plus a broken main beam that's been repaired. And a lack of following procedures for B&C.(shopping for a score) THIS BUCK SHOULD NOT BE A WORLD RECORD.

    • zach

      Actually milo's buck has a repaired main beam as well.

    • Sticky

      Geez, that's unbeeilvbale. Kudos and such.

    • zftrugnx

      R3Ka9X gnjllvzzzeam

  • Barry Smithberger

    Sounds to me like the deer belongs to brad if he made the kill shot.

    • applepickers

      Nice remark from Barry,These guys were hunting together,Your remark sounds like a loser.

  • Chris

    great deer. But, how does anyone shoot a deer in the antler? Thats just POOR POOR shooting. People that shoot like this are the ones that end up hurting other hunters in the woods, or u hear about someone shooting in to the brush because it they seen something move in it. If a person can not shoot any better than that, they do not need to be in the woods. Yes, it may have been a "deer drive" but you still NO MATTER WHAT take an unethical shot.

  • Shane

    What's up with the score sheet in the article. The caption says it has a non-typical score of 214 3/8?? However the score sheet shows a final net typical score of 213 6/8 which is 1/8 inch bigger than the Hanson buck?? Also why not let potentially the largest buck of all time be panel scored? That deer did not get the respect it deserved. As far as score shopping that claim appears to be fabricated by B&C as the only other B&C scoring was done at the request of a B&C scorer not the owner of the deer. Buckmasters got it right and made the King buck the new World Record!! Good job Buckmasters!

  • Brian Fritz

    This story just confirms to me why I will never enter 1 single animal into B/C!

    B/C and P/Y have always been the bench mark for judging/scoring racks and when I look at a bucks rack those are the basis of which I make my observations but……….

    I myself won't ever let B/C put their political tape measure on any animal I take!

    Congrats to Johnny!! One heck of a buck!!

    They may keep your buck out of the B/C record book but they can never take him out of your memories and Congrats are also in order for Buck Masters!!

    It has to be an awesome feeling knowing that the deer hanging on your wall is the true World Record!!

    Again Congrats!!

  • http://internetexplorer kevin von hasenstein

    No matter what, thats a self proclaimed world record! a world record in my mind and a world record in the minds of (im sure most of the B/C panel) unfortunatly politics strike again. enjoy a wonderful animal……be proud! And remember seconds before the deer died, its antlers were not shot, so it was a world record then….something to think about!

  • dean

    saskatchewan rules

  • josh

    am i the only one that didn't like the story? when you put a good shot on a deer and know it, the LAST thing you do is jump up and run after it like a dog chasing a car. you sit and give it time to die, which if you make a good shot he shouldn't go far. Based on the fact that it took well over 45 minutes and multiple shots to kill the deer…i would have to say the first shot probably wasn't in the kill zone, unless that is just one BA deer. Secondly it sounded like the guy was shooting in all sorts of directions during a run in which he didn't know where the other guys were and the other guys didn't know where he was once he left the stand. That is just plain dangerous. on top of that once he saw the deer go down the first time he ran toward it and it got back up…an injured deer of that size would have no problem mauling the crap out of an ammo-less hunter. nonetheless that is one fantastic animal and congrats on putting him down that guy had a tree for a rack.

  • MDhuntr

    The story of this deer is one that rings true throughout the hunting world every year. Does the numerous shots , the arrogant yelling when others are apparently just throwing lead at deer as they wish, private property or not make for a great story or better yet, a memorable hunt?? This King gentlemen, is by far the weekend warrior. I would be excited to say the least taking this deer but I require the whole hunt to be satisfied whether a 220' or a 130". Maybe we should restrict some of these accounts of our harvests because King's account, though I'm sure is true, is less than to be desired!!!!

  • Mark Lewis

    Springfield Arms Model 840 bolt-action .30-30 gets the job done.

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