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Antler Spotlight: Unexpected Ways To Measure Record Racks

The author walks through how comparing whitetail antler measurements to every day objects to gauge a rack's size is quite a way to reexamine the scale of a set of antlers.

Antler Spotlight: Unexpected Ways To Measure Record Racks

Did you ever realize a Pope and Young caliber buck has more than 10 feet of antler on his head? Photo courtesy of Tony Campbell/Shutterstock

There are watershed moments in our lives when old information presents itself in a new light; these moments force us to reexamine everything we once believed to be true. The scales fall from our eyes, and we see the world from a completely different perspective. I was standing at the sink one morning last week when I was blindsided by such a moment.

For reasons that I cannot explain other than I spend entirely too much time thinking about whitetail deer, it occurred to me that 200 inches, the   gure widely accepted as the benchmark of all truly giant whitetails, works out to be better than 16 feet.

I stood there slack-jawed. If 200 inches of antler is over 16 feet, that means that if you measured every inch of a trophy whitetail’s rack, added it all up and then straightened it all out, your tape would stretch the length of a bass boat.

That epiphany captured my imagination. I spent the next few days wandering around with a tape measure in one hand and a calculator in the other, measuring every random object that caught my eye. I started in the house and then walked outside and around the neighborhood, where I came up with all kinds of crazy comparisons. Here are just a few:

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The Brian Stephens' buck from Ohio, with a behemoth main beam stretching over 35 inches.

Brian Stephens’ 2009 Ohio buck, the largest ever taken by muzzleloader in a state known for producing big deer, has a main beam that measures over 35 inches. The beam of that behemoth would stretch nearly from the floor to the knob of your front door.

I may well be biased, but one of the most impressive racks in the whitetail world hails from my home state of Oklahoma. Phil Scribner killed a buck in 2016 that scores well over 200 inches, and that’s on just a 6-point frame! Granted, the buck has tons of kickers; but to score over 200 inches as a mainframe 6-point a rack must also carry an unbelievable amount of mass. The Scribner buck does. It sports 46 inches of mass. That’s the length of a kitchen table big enough to seat four!

Every bowhunter dreams of arrowing a Pope and Young buck, right? In order to qualify for the Pope and Young record books, a typical whitetail rack has to cross the 125-inch threshold. That means a Pope and Young buck has more than 10 feet of antler atop his head. For reference, the basketball goal in my driveway is shorter than that.

There may not be a more famous whitetail deer in the world than the Milo Hanson buck. Taken in November of 1993, the World Record whitetail in the typical category net scores an astounding 213 5/8 inches. That’s pushing 18 feet. If you were to measure and then straighten out the Milo Hanson buck’s rack, it would reach halfway up the telephone pole that stands at the corner of my block.

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The author has recently began comparing whitetail antler measurements to objects as another way to gauge a rack’s size. For example, Milo Hanson’s World Record typical rack net scores 213 5/8 inches, which is just under 18 feet. Straightened out, the rack’s measurements could stretch over halfway up a telephone pole. Photo courtesy of Gordon Whittington

The biggest free range whitetail deer rack in history belongs to the Missouri Department of Conservation. Picked up as a dead head in 1981, the rack nets a staggering 333 7/8 inches. Next time you step out into the backyard, take a long look at the distance between your corn hole boards. Regulation says there ought to be 27 feet between them. The Missouri Monarch has nearly a full foot more length in its rack than the distance between those corn hole boards.




All those comparisons are academic, though. I’ve never actually laid my eyes, much less my hands, on any one of those whitetail racks. So I turned my attention to a whitetail rack a little closer to home.

My best buck to date, when given every benefit of the doubt, grosses nearly 163 inches. I remember thinking as I sat in the leaves next to him that I would never kill a bigger buck. So far, I’ve been right. That buck sports about 13 1/2 feet of antler. Straightened out, that ends up being just a couple of inches shorter than the overall length of my hunting rig: a 1997 Jeep Wrangler.

Of course, even converting those inches to feet and seeing that information painted in a new light can’t truly capture or convey the majesty of the whitetail buck’s rack. Trust me on that; I’ve done the math.

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