August 16, 2022
By Haynes Shelton
Take one look at the incredible trophy buck Nicole Miller harvested in Guernsey County, Ohio, on Oct. 24, 2021, and you’ll agree it’s shockingly big. That was obvious to me as soon as I saw photographs of the tremendous 6x7 typical, with great mass, super main beams and long tines.
However, I didn’t realize just how big the buck’s rack is until I read the scoresheet. The outstanding frame boasts a gross score of 204 3/8 inches. Asymmetry of the right and left antlers accounts for side-to-side deductions totaling 5 5/8 inches. Add in the 3 7/8-inch abnormal point on the rack’s left antler, and the final net score comes to exactly 191 inches.
Now, there aren’t many typicals taken anywhere in the United States that score over 190 inches in any given year. In fact, several states have never produced one that scores as high. However, anything is possible in mega-buck powerhouse Ohio, and a handful of hunters have taken whitetails that surpass this score — but not many. Especially rare are ones taken with a vertical bow.
In fact, a quick search of Buckeye Big Buck Club’s online records shows only two bow bucks are entered that are larger. The biggest is William Kontras’ 201 1/8, taken in 1986 in Clark County. The No. 2 buck on the list is Tim Reed’s Muskingum County bowkill from 2004, which scores 198 3/8. Nicole’s deer presumably will squeeze into the state’s all-time No. 3 slot, edging out JT Kreager’s 190 2/8, a Delaware County kill from 2010.
BBBC records indicate that the state’s top 15 archery typicals all were taken by men, suggesting that Nicole’s trophy will in fact be accepted as the largest tagged by a female by vertical bow in Ohio — ever.
That’s a serious feat. However, it doesn’t begin to put into perspective how huge and rare this whitetail truly is. I’ll admit I wasn’t well versed on lady-whitetailer records, partly because most trophy organizations, including P&Y, don’t keep gendered hunter data. Typically, a hunter’s name is the only personal information included in these entries, which sometimes makes it difficult to narrow down bucks harvested by men vs. women.
Regardless, before running the full story in our September magazine, I spoke with P&Y officials regarding the overall ranking of Nicole’s buck in their book. Thrilling news was reported back that Nicole’s entry score, which has been accepted by the club, surpasses that of the current top women’s typical whitetail — Paula Wiggers’ 188 6/8 Kansas buck.
As of this writing, this makes Nicole’s deer a potential Women’s World Record typical whitetail by vertical bow. Why can’t we say now with certainty that this Ohio deer will claim the throne?
Well, we won’t know for sure until P&Y convenes for the club’s 33rd Biennial Convention on April 12-15, 2023, in Reno, Nevada.
As explained to me by P&Y officials, it’s likely Nicole’s buck will remain one of the world’s top-scoring typicals taken during the current awards period (which lasts basically through the duration of the 2022 hunting season). If so, Nicole will receive an invite from P&Y to submit the rack for panel measuring to verify the 191 net score.
Of course, there’s always a chance that a measurer’s panel determines a rack’s final score is lower than the entry. However, if the entry score is proven correct, and if no bigger typical is entered by a female hunter before the awards period ends, the record will stand.
Regardless of the number that’s ultimately assigned to this tremendous whitetail’s rack, it’s one of the most impressive typicals taken in a state with a long history of showstoppers, or anywhere in North America for that matter. Even better, it’s a moment worth celebrating, brought to us all by a serious and skilled lady bowhunter worthy of our respect.
For Nicole, the most special part of the hunt for the buck she named “Woody” doesn’t come from the inches of antler on the buck’s rack.
“Standings aside, the significance of this deer will never be topped for me. Woody was a true warrior that somehow survived to become a legend. My father and I experienced a ride that most hunters can only dream of,” says Nicole. “What an exciting privilege it was hunting Woody. For me, the true privilege was getting to share the journey with Dad.”
For the full story on Nicole’s hunt for this potential world record buck pick up the September issue of North American Whitetail magazine on newsstands now!