February 13, 2017
By Colin Moore
Boone & Crockett had it right in the first place. Though some doubt was generated last week when it was announced that Stephen Tucker's potential hunter-killed world record non-typical buck would be re-measured in the presence of an official from B&C, the score still wound up at 312 0/8 inches, or more than four inches larger than the current world record non-typical taken by a hunter.
The rack and the score was reviewed in Nashville on Monday, as B&C Club Director of Big Game Records, Justin Spring, looked on. Stephen Tucker of Gallatin, Tennessee, shot the 47-point buck in Sumner County during the state's muzzleloader season. The same night, the buck was green-scored at a little more than 313 inches by Captain Dale Grandstaff of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, a B&C scorer and commander of the district in which the buck was shot. After a 60-day drying period, the buck was re-measured and scored at 312 3/8.
The previous largest non-typical rack came from a buck shot by Tony Lovstuen of Albia, Iowa, in 2003. It scored 307 5/8 inches. Two other non-typical bucks are larger than the Tucker Buck, but neither was downed by a hunter.
The biggest non-typical in the B&C records book is 333 7/8 inches and came from a buck found dead outside St. Louis, Missouri in 1981. Ohio's "Hole in the Horn" buck was found dead in a railroad right-of-way in 1940 and tallied 328 2/8.
The Tucker Buck is only the sixth non-typical ever taken that scored more than 300 inches. This new buck will take its rightful place at third on the all-time list. There are 5,604 non-typical racks currently in the B&C records book; Tucker's is bigger than all but two of them.
"When we added everything up, it [the Tucker Buck score] still came up only 3/8 inches less than the score in January," said Spring. "There were a few changes â€“ some additions, some substractions â€“ but there were none that made a dramatic difference. It's a very impressive rack."
Spring acknowledged that it wasn't unusual for him to review a score, especially when it involves something as important in the hunting community as a potential new world record. However, he says that usually the trophy itself is taken to B&C headquarters in Missoula, Montana, to be scored. In this case, it was easier for him to travel to Nashville.
"Really all I was down there for was to consult with any questions or rulings they (Grandstaff's team of scorers) might have had as they made their determinations," said Spring. "It was a bit complicated, but those guys did a good job. Mainly it was just making sure that all the material on the antlers was measured just once. That wasn't as easy as maybe it sounds, but the scorers were very thorough.
"Having it scored twice was proper, although there really wasn't too much that would be deemed controversial about it," Spring continued. "It will have an official entry score of 312 0/8."
The Tucker Buck's score and placement in the records book is pending until the B&C's 30th Big Game Awards in Springfield, Missouri, in 2019. There, two panels of judges will examine the rack once again and formally announce its final score.
Tucker, 27, was present at Monday's review. Spring noted that he seemed nervous the whole time, which is understandable considering the magnitude of his accomplishment and what being acknowledged as the hunter who harvested the biggest whitetail non-typical on record portends for his future.
"He's [Tucker] a nice young man â€“ very down to earth who just wanted to make sure everything was done right and there were no questions left unanswered," noted Spring. "What he did was very impressive, but I would have to say the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has to have a lot of credit too. Whatever they're doing with deer management, it seems to be working."