By Gordon Whittington
Whitetail history is filled with landmark events, but perhaps none more noteworthy than the one occurring on the morning of Nov. 23, 1993.
That day a decade ago, western Saskatchewan rifle hunter Milo Hanson downed a tremendous 14-pointer that would go on to be certified as a world record in the typical category of the Boone and Crockett record book. The monster received a final panel score of 213 5/8 net points, obliterating the old record of 206 1/8. The record had been held by the James Jordan buck, which had been shot in western Wisconsin all the way back in 1914.
Not only did Milo’s trophy handily beat one that had been the world’s biggest typical for more than three-quarters of a century, he’s still the buck to beat in the typical category. That fact surprises many whitetail experts who openly doubted that the Canadian deer would hold onto his No. 1 ranking this long. (story continues below)
Among those skeptics was Larry Huffman, former owner of the Legendary Whitetails collection. That display, now owned by Bass Pro Shops, includes the Jordan buck and three other typicals ranking among B&C’s all-time Top 10.
“I said at the time Milo shot his buck that his record would be broken within five years,” Larry recalls. “With all the big sheds that were being found, and with so many more big bucks out there, as a result of better deer management, I just figured it would have happened before now. Obviously, I was wrong.”
For what it’s worth, Milo claims he wasn’t exactly confident his buck would still be hanging in there at No. 1 after all these years, either.
“Yeah, I guess I’m probably a little surprised that (the record) hasn’t been broken,” he says. “Every year it seems we hear about another big one, but so far none of them has officially scored enough to beat mine.”
Enough huge typical sheds have been found to suggest that the Hanson buck is beatable. In fact, a deer of similar size is featured on Page 52 of the Dec. 2003 issue of North American Whitetail. That buck, from the Midwest, was thought to still be alive as that issue went to press. We’ll feature him in another story if he’s actually taken by a hunter.)
While Milo felled his record with a .308 bullet, he claims he wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the next No. 1 typical was done in by an arrow.
“It definitely could be a bow-hunter who breaks my record,” he says. “There are more people hunting with a bow now. It seems that when I go to a hunting show and talk with people, more of them hunt with a bow than with a gun.”
As full-time farmers who stay busy with crop harvest every fall, Milo and his wife, Olive, don’t have time to bowhunt. However, they remain avid gun hunters.
When asked about his pick for the most likely place to yield the next No. 1 typical whitetail, Milo names his home province, as well as Iowa. Indeed, a look at the B&C records shows both have a history of producing contenders; in addition to Milo’s record, Saskatchewan has given up at least two other typicals netting over 200, while Iowa has produced one.
Could there be any more “Hanson” bucks roaming the area where the world record fell a decade ago? There’s a chance the same bloodline is still out there.
“A few years after I shot the record, our friend Walter Meager got some video of a buck that looked a lot like him,” Milo notes. “Olive and I saw the same buck one day, too. He was a 5×5 instead of a 6×6, but he had long tines and looked just like the big one. He was obviously a young deer, but we never saw him again, and I don’t think anyone shot him. We keep up with what gets shot around here, and nobody got him.”
Although Milo beat the odds to shoot a second B&C typical in 1994 — that deer qualified for the record book despite netting more than 40 inches less than his 1993 giant — the hunter says he thinks his chances of breaking his own mark are too low to calculate. “I’d be more likely to win the lottery,” he says with a laugh.
Most other hunters would say he already did.