Standing behind a curtain prior to Thursday morning’s opening bell at the 2019 Archery Trade Association trade show, Virginia resident Luke Brewster looked like a young man with a lot on his mind.
Moments away from stepping out onto the show floor at the Kentucky Exposition Center to unveil his new pending world record non-typical whitetail deer, that was completely understandable.
As Brewster, NAW editor Gordon Whittington, and NAW associate editor Haynes Shelton stepped out to announce to the world the 60-day entry score for the Brewster Buck, I asked Luke if he was feeling just a little overwhelmed by his new-found status as the apparent king of the deer hunter’s world.
“Oh, most definitely,” smiled Brewster, a Marine Corps veteran. “I’ve taken it slow, one step at a time [since the deer was shot in November 2018], just trying not to overwhelm myself too much [by all of this]. It’s been quite hectic so far.”
The hectic pace that Brewster referred to has ratcheted up a few notches in recent days however, specifically since last Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 when his buck was officially scored after the 60-day drying period had concluded. After the numbers were tallied, they jumpstarted a journey towards the Louisville ATA Show where the official announcement took place in the Outdoor Sportsman Group booth.
But before Thursday’s festivities could begin, the scoring process last Saturday in Illinois included a small group of people privy to the numbers being tallied up for the greatest whitetail ever harvested by a hunter. In that group was Brewster, his dad, his three Illinois hunting buddies, and a small group of official measurers, including Tim Walmsley.
“It was pretty nerve wracking,” said Brewster of the scoring process. “I started [worrying] almost the whole time, but it went pretty well.
After the three-hour-plus scoring session was complete and the numbers were tallied and double-checked, it was time for Brewster to learn the numerical fate of the gigantic rack’s score.
What followed was simply beyond anything that anyone had been expecting.
“They went upstairs,” said Brewster. “Two different scorers had added them up and one [added it up wrong], so they went upstairs and consulted with each other and figured it out. They came back downstairs and broke the news to me.”
While Brewster had reason to believe his buck – which he and his Illinois hunting buddies had nicknamed Mufasa – would be a potential world record threat, the 60-day entry score propelled him into uncharted territory.
Because after the 60-day measurements were obtained by official measurers a few days ago, the Brewster buck has an entry gross score of 330 0/8 inches and a net score of 320 5/8 inches. Those figures position the buck for world record status as both the top non-typical bow kill of all-time and the top hunter harvested whitetail of all time.
“I was blown away [by the numbers],” said Brewster. “I didn’t think it was what it is, but I’m not a professional scorer or anything like that.”
Once that 60-day entry score had been obtained, the numbers were buttoned up tight and the journey to Louisville and Thursday’s official announcement in the OSG booth began. Brewster made a quick return trip home to Virginia to see his wife and newborn daughter, then headed for the ATA Show.
Arriving incognito the day before the show opened, Brewster met up with Whittington, Shelton, and Adam Crumrin (the gentleman who alerted NAW staff to the Brewster Buck back in November 2018).
The first order of business was – as Whittington jokingly put it – to find a brown paper sack large enough to hide the antlers until Thursday’s unveiling.
“It’s difficult to find a container for a rack that size,” smiled the longtime NAW editor. “We literally got to the point where we pondered a 96-gallon trash can with a lid on it because it was the only thing that we were sure was big enough.
“But then we decided that someone might [mistakenly open it up] and throw some trash in on top of it, and that would not be good, so we decided to go another route,” he added with a chuckle. “But we did find a large size container and it worked out.”
All of which led to Thursday’s morning’s announcement, one that set off a tidal wave of social media shares and comments as news of the Brewster Buck’s score was shared throughout the deer hunting community.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said Brewster moments before he spent the day smiling, patiently answering questions, and posing for photographs with show attendees who stopped by to see the pending new world record.
In the end, Brewster was the humble man in the right place at the right time to arrow a whitetail that – pending Boone and Crockett Club and/or Pope and Young Club panel scoring later this year – is the largest buck that has ever been taken by a hunter, the largest non-typical bow kill of all-time, and the third highest scoring whitetail of all-time.
For just a moment, he quietly mused on this amazing journey that began in an Illinois treestand in November 2018, a journey that has propelled him and his stunning buck to the throne of whitetail hunting history.
“It’s wild. I never thought I’d be in here with these guys, in this place, it’s all really something else.”
On Thursday, under the bright lights of Day One at the 2019 ATA Show, hardly anyone in Louisville disagreed.