For 10 years, North American Whitetail TV has been bringing the stories of some of the most iconic bucks into your living room. From the Hole in the Horn buck to Del Austin's 1962 kill with a recurve bow, if it's a big buck with a great story, chances are NAW TV has featured it in the "Big Buck Profile" segment on the show.
We're crazy about big whitetails, and over the years we've had the opportunity to get some of these big racks in our hands to really tell the story. By documenting the bucks we're telling a small piece of history. In celebration of North American Whitetail TV's 10th anniversary, we've rounded up the best of the big bucks to ever grace the small screen.
Here they are:
Scoring 279 7/8 inches non-typical, Del Austin's 1962 kill with a recurve bow stands out not only for the method taken, but because the size of the rack and age of the buck. It's estimated this buck was nearly 9 1/2 years old when Austin's arrow took down the bruiser on a friend's farm. Interestingly, this friend had been hunting "Old Mossy Horns" for five years before Austin was lucky enough to take him. With super drop tines and tons of mass, the local legend became the biggest Pope and Young non-typical for 38 years before being bested by Michael Beatty's 2000 294-inch Ohio buck.
A classic of the whitetail world, the John Breen buck was killed near Bemidji, Minn., in 1918. Himself a meat hunter, when Breen saw this buck the trophy hunter in him came out. Breen became a local celebrity after killing the buck because of the large rack, even at a time when nobody really cared about rack size. With 31-inch main beams and one of the most perfect typical 5x5 racks ever seen, Breen's buck would've been the world record typical with a net score of 202 inches typical had it been scored at the time. Instead, the buck remained unscored until the 1950s when it was certified as the world record...until James Jordan's 1964 Illinois buck overtook him.
Arriving at his stand later than he anticipated on the morning of this hunt turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Brian Andrews. His No. 10 Pope and Young non-typical was taken at just 10 yards with a perfect broadside shot. With 30-inch mainbeams and 26 scoreable points, the Andrews buck scores 253 1/8 inches and is the Iowa state record for non-typicals — a real buck of a lifetime for Andrews.
Hole in the Horn
If ever there was a mascot for North American Whitetail, the Hole in the Horn buck is it. Scoring 328 2/8 inches, this buck was killed by a train in northeast of Ohio in 1940. With 45 scorable points, a 33-inch outside spread, and nearly 200 inches of abnormal rack, the Hole in the Horn buck is one of the largest racks ever. The source of the hole was a mystery until 1995 when NAW received a call from a man who was on the scene when this buck was discovered. Turns out the hole was not caused by a bullet, like many had thought, but instead it was the result of being hit by the train and tangling with the chain link fence in a way that put the hole into the horn. Regardless, this buck is still one of the most iconic bucks ever.
Though not typically thought of as a whitetail haven, Canada's westernmost province has produced some extremely big deer over the years. Just look at Harold Smith's buck taken in southeastern British Columbia near Ta Ta Creek in 1951. Scoring 279 3/8 inches with 32 scorable points, an inside spread of 26 inches, an outside spread of 31 7/8 inches, a mainbeam mass of over 7 inches in some areas, and four tines up to 13- and 14-inches long, this buck has it all. In a sleeper area for whitetails, there is great potential for a buck like this.
For freaky, showstopping whitetails, look no further than Troy Wilson's 2001 Kentucky cactus buck. Hunting with a muzzleloader, this buck would have scored over 300 inches non-typical under the Boone & Crockett scoring system, with 44 scorable points, but velvet bucks are not eligible for the record book. With antlers growing everywhere, the mass had grown in such a way that it was nearly blinding the buck's right eye. By far, this is one of the coolest looking bucks — and definitely one of our favorites.
The title of the world's No. 1 hunter-taken buck belongs to Tony Lovstuen, who was 15 years old when he killed the buck in 2003 during the Iowa youth season. Lovstuen and his dad were hunting from a ground blind when the bruiser walked out, and after an ill-placed shot and a good night's sleep, they tracked the buck the next day and celebrated their success. With 38 scorable points and an inside spread of 22 4/8 inches, the No. 3 B&C buck was downed with a score of 307 5/8 inches.
Sometimes you don't even have to go looking for a monster whitetail to find one, which is exactly what happened to Jerry Bryant in 2001. Limited by his disabilities, Bryant was actually crossbow hunting that day trying to fill his turkey tag. After missing an opportunity on a gobbler, a doe came in through the clearing about 15 yards from Bryant's treestand and urinated.
Moments later this bruiser buck came through, following the same path as the doe and stopped 15 yards away. Since Bryant had his archery tag with him he took the shot and put a crossbow bolt right through the deer's heart. With 37 scorable points, unbelievable mass and unique points shooting off in all directions, the buck scored 304 3/8 inches (net) non-typical, making it the No. 5 buck ever.
The Illinois Roadkill Buck
Killed in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1965 by a truck, this buck is as large as it seems. And it has a little bit of everything you'd want out of a big whitetail. With a world-class inside spread of 29 inches, 31- and 29-inch mainbeams and extremely long tines, the only thing this buck doesn't have is a high net score. Though still making the B&C record book with a typical score of 176 5/8 inches as a basic eight-pointer, the deer still has 12-points on its rack. If scored as a typical 10-pointer, it's likely this buck would rank as one of the largest typical whitetails of all time.
Be sure to catch the special 10th anniversary episode of North American Whitetail TV on Oct. 8 at 8PM EP on The Sportsman Channel. Find The Sportsman Channel in your area now.
1. Missouri Department of Conservation
This monster was found in St. Louis County, Mo., in 1981, and scored 333 7/8 B&C. And no, that's not a typo. Before the days of trail cameras and the popularization of deer management practices, there were good ol' boys, flannel shirts and Granddaddy's war rifle. In those days, a hunter actually found this deer after it had died and reported it to the local game warden. After confirming no foul play was involved, the buck was finally scored and easily holds the number one spot in the B&C world record book. The state of Missouri still displays the deer, proud to sit atop this list of eye-popping trophies.
2. Portage County, Ohio
This buck, which holds the No. 2 spot all time, was hit by a train in Ohio in 1940 and hung in a local sportsman's club for years. The buck was finally scored by fabled outdoor writer and antler collector Dick Idol after he acquired the rack, and it scored 328 2/8 B&C. Not too shabby. It was recovered in Portage County, Ohio, and now lives with other trophies at Bass Pro Shops.
3. Tony Lovstuen
Call it a case of beginner's luck or simply being at the right place at the right time, but either way, 15-year-old Tony Lovstuen isn't complaining. Lovstuen headed out with his dad for a youth season hunt in Monroe County, Iowa, in 2003 and downed the No. 3 non-typical whitetail of all time. Not bad. The buck had an official score of 307 5/8 B&C. Lovstuen and his dad were hunting from a ground blind when the bruiser walked out, and after an ill-placed shot and a good night's sleep, they tracked the buck the next day and celebrated their success.
4. Timothy Beck
Ever since deer management efforts have been ramped up, Indiana has produced a strong number of trophy deer. Timothy Beck's 2012 trophy is a case in point — the No. 4 all time non-typical scored 305 7/8 B&C. Beck shot the buck with his slug gun in peak rut season. And while it may still be considered a sleeper state by some, Indiana ranks 7th in B&C non-typical entries over the last decade.
5. Jerry Bryant
While states like Indiana may be considered sleeper states, Illinois is definitely the heavyweight favorite in the ring, and for good reason. A good example is Jerry Bryant's 304 3/8 B&C trophy, which was killed in Fulton County, Ill., in 2001. The massive buck holds the No. 5 spot for non-typicals and was taken with a crossbow. Bryant, who had a prior injury from a work accident, shot the buck as it trailed a doe in front of his treestand.
6. Tony Fulton
Tony Fulton's No. 6 all time non-typical is a sight to behold, with 45 scoreable points and a total score of 295 6/8 B&C. Fulton killed the monster buck in Winston County, Miss., in 1995. After his wife told him to get his butt in a treestand and out of the house, Fulton headed to a small family property and a stand that hadn't produced a deer sighting all season. Fulton was happy to see a doe walk out, but shocked when the No. 6 non-typical of all time gave chase. A fairly poor shot meant a difficult tracking job, but Fulton finally located the buck and claimed his spot on this list.
7. Scott Dexter
In a state like Illinois, it's no surprise when a trophy is bagged, but that doesn't make it any less special. Scott Dexter found that out firsthand in 2004 when he killed the No. 7 non-typical of all time, scoring 295 3/8 B&C. Dexter was hunting with a muzzleloader on the last day of that season and until then had never seen the buck. After a slow archery season, Dexter was elated when the No. 7 non-typical of all time walked out in front of him, and he didn't miss his opportunity. The buck was killed in McDonough County.
8. Jonathan Schmucker
Jonathan Schmucker and his fellow community of Amish farmers knew about this buck but tried their best to keep it a secret from outsiders. Trying to ensure that one of the locals killed it, Schmucker was finally able to pattern the buck in 2006 and would watch it pass through the fields from his barn roof. Finally, during Ohio's archery opening season, he used his climbing treestand to get in a prime location. Schmucker fired his crossbow and dropped the buck, which scored 295 3/8 B&C and was killed in Adams County, Ohio. The buck holds the No. 8 all time spot for non-typical whitetails.
9. Michael Beatty
As any bowhunter can attest, it's a difficult thing to leave a wounded buck overnight before tracking. That's the decision Michael Beatty faced in 2000 when he downed the No. 9 trophy on our list, a 294 B&C buck killed in Greene County, Ohio. With drizzling rain coming down, Beatty decided to pick up the trail in the morning, and it paid off big for him. He suffered through a sleepless night, but found the buck just 30 yards from where he stopped tracking the day before.
10. Buckhorn Museum & Saloon
In Wild West fashion, Albert Fredrich, owner of the Buckhorn Saloon, used to give hunters drinks in exchange for the giant antlers they'd bring in. God bless Texas. That was way back in 1892, so by the middle of the 20th century the saloon had amassed quite the collection of rare antlers. In 1955 someone followed a lead to the saloon, where two sets of giant antlers were x-rayed and scored. As it turned out, the bigger set was a pair of sheds, but the smaller set was legit and scored 284 3/8 B&C — good enough for the No. 10 spot on our biggest non-typical whitetails list. We can't say much for the taxidermy job on this one, but the rack itself is a dandy.
11. Wesley O'Brien
Maybe it's the luck of the Irish, but whatever it is, Wesley O'Brien won't complain. As a native Texan on a Nebraska whitetail hunt in 2009, O'Brien spotted what was obviously a massive buck about 250 yards away. He put on his best stalk, got within 100 yards, and let fly with his .270. The buck ran about 30 yards and then dropped, and when it was all over, O'Brien said he'd take luck over skill any day of the week. We'll have to agree with him on this one. The buck, which now holds the No. 11 spot all time for non-typical whitetails, scored 284 B&C and was killed in Richardson County, Neb.
12. Larry Raveling
There are some stories that truly are stranger than fiction. That's certainly the case for Larry Raveling, who was on an old fashioned Iowa deer drive in 1972 when he saw a giant deer with a cloth entangled in its antlers. The legend of Old Rag Horn was born, and it lived on with a bit of infamy after Raveling shot and missed over its back that same day. A year later Old Rag Horn had been shot in the leg but lived, which is when Raveling caught up with the deer again. This time he didn't miss, killing the No. 12 non-typical of all time — which scored 282 B&C — in Clay County, Iowa.
13. James McMurray
Thanks to a strong effort by the state of Louisiana to promote deer management, areas like Big Lake started producing trophy deer in the 1990s. That was good news for public land hunter James McMurray, who killed the No. 13 non-typical of all time in Tensas Parish, La., in 1994. The buck scored 281 6/8 B&C and also captured the Louisiana state record.
14. Joseph Waters
Patience is a virtue, we're told, but it's not always easy advice to follow. Joe Waters knew all about it, especially after a slow deer season in 1987. He'd almost given up on killing a buck, and had even thought about tagging out on a doe and calling it a day. But his dad's encouragement to stay patient stuck with him and he held off. A few hours later, the No. 14 non-typical whitetail of all time was dead at his feet. The buck scored 280 4/8 B&C and was killed in Shawnee County, Kan., in 1987.
15. Neil Morin
Alberta farmer Neil Morin had been studying the giant buck around his property for some time, and he'd gotten it into his head he'd be the one to kill it. He was driving home one afternoon when he spotted the buck, and he quickly went back to get his rifle. Morin was able to stalk the buck to about 30 yards, at which point he shot his .300 Win. Mag. and took down the No. 15 non-typical on our list. The buck scored 279 6/8 B&C and was killed in Whitemud Creek, Alberta, in 1991.
16. Harold Smith
Harold Smith's No. 16 non-typical of all time scored an official 279 3/8 B&C and was killed in Ta Ta Creek, British Columbia, in 1951. With a massive 33-inch outside spread, the deer looks like some kind of mule deer/whitetail hybrid. Its origins may be a mystery, but the status of this record is not — it is firmly placed in the No. 16 spot.
17. Doug Klinger
Doug Klinger killed this 277 5/8 B&C trophy in 1976 in Hardisty, Alberta. In case you haven't noticed, our Canadian friends from the North have a propensity for producing some of the biggest whitetails around, including the No. 1 typical of all time, killed by Milo Hansen in Biggar, Saskatchewan.
18. Del Austin
Del Austin is something of a modern day archery hero in Nebraska because of his No. 18 all time non-typical trophy, which scored 277 3/8 B&C and was killed in 1962. The buck was killed in Hall County, Neb., and was nicknamed 'Old Mossy Horns. ' Austin's friend had been hunting the infamous deer for five years, but it was Austin that finally dropped it. In the hunting world that's just the way it goes.
19. Kyle Simmons
Kyle Simmons rarely asked for time off, but when he did, chances are it was related to deer season. Simmons kept regular trail cameras on the trail of a monster buck he'd been chasing in Jackson County, Iowa, and finally connected in 2008. He killed the No. 19 non-typical of all time, scoring 275 5/8 B&C, on October 16 out of a climbing treestand.
20. Helgie Eymundson
In November 2006, Helgie Eymundson and his wife both took shots at the No. 20 biggest non-typical of all time, but neither were able to connect. Blame it on the cold if you want, but Eymundson couldn't rest until he'd tracked down the monster buck. His persistence paid off, and in 2007 he killed the No. 20 buck on our list, scoring 274 B&C and killed in Cross Lake, Alberta.