Over 50 years ago near Seattle, Wash., Glenn St. Charles founded the Pope and Young Club to "advocate and encourage responsible bowhunting by promoting quality, fair chase hunting, and sound conservation practices." Since then the Pope and Young Club has grown into one of the largest bowhunting groups in the country, especially for bowhunters.
We decided to dive into those record books to find the 10 most impressive whitetails ever taken with a bow. We've highlighted the 10 highest scoring non-typical bucks entered into the Pope and Young records, but it's important to remember that antler score isn't everything.
Glen St. Charles offered the following reminder many years ago, but it still holds true today.
"I'd just like to remind everybody that it's about the hunting, not just the killing. In other words, it's about the total experience, the sport itself and the challenge involved. Bowhunting, done right, is a justifiable and honorable pursuit."
Enjoy the photos and stories of these remarkable whitetails and dream big, because someday it might be you behind one of these once-in-a-lifetime racks.
6. Dale R. Larson
Many Kansas hunters have grown accustomed to seeing heavy horned, big-bodied bucks. But every once in awhile a whitetail comes along that even impresses the locals, and for Dale R. Larson, this was certainly the case with his 1998 bow kill. With a score of 263 1/8 inches, Larson's monster buck comes in as the No. 6 non-typical in the Pope & Young record books.
Killed on Nov. 7 in Pottawatomie County, Kan., this giant whitetail sported 31 points, an impressive 24 2/8-inch spread and a long, spiraling drop tine. Needless to say, this was a jaw-dropper of a buck, no matter what state it came from.
4. David H. Jones
On Nov. 5, 2003, David H. Jones killed one of the most massive whitetails ever taken in Illinois. That evening after slamming rattling antlers together, the giant appeared across a pasture and began heading his way. The buck eventually came within 20 yards before Jones let his arrow fly. His mark was true, and later that night he recovered his 267 1/8 inch Illinois monster. With 38 points and incredible mass, this was truly a buck of a lifetime.
2. Del Austin
'Old Mossy Horns, ' as Del Austin's 1962 bow killed buck came to be known, ended up being the second highest scoring non-typical whitetail ever killed by bow with a score of 279 7/8 inches. This Hall County, Neb., buck sported an incredibly unique rack littered with drop tines, a 21-inch spread, and 39 scorable points.
Interestingly, another hunter had been after Austin's buck for five years. But when Del was invited to hunt his friend's area, he was the one with the luck needed to bag this legendary old buck.
5. Kyle Simmons
It was around 3 p.m. on mid-October 2008 afternoon when Kyle Simmons
completed a light rattling sequence and let out a few short grunts. Just minutes later a large bodied deer appeared, and quickly began moving his way.
Unbeknownst to him, this was no ordinary deer. This Jackson County, Iowa, whitetail was an absolute giant. A well-placed arrow put this deer on the ground soon after that calling sequence. When the tape measuring was finished, it was determined the buck would be one of the largest bow killed bucks in Iowa history. At 264 6/8 inches, it's a remarkable deer for any hunter. Even more impressive was the fact that it was Simmons' first ever deer killed with a bow.
1. Micheal Beatty
It was Nov. 8, 2000, and Michael Beatty was cursing his bad luck
as the high and wide Ohio eight pointer walked out of his life. It was a misty day in the mid 50s as Beatty thought about how he missed his opportunity at the 'buck of a lifetime. ' However, after a few more turns on his can call he saw the buck reappear, working a licking branch. As the buck continued his approach, he realized this was a different buck. Still a big buck, but a different one. Little did he know this buck was different than just about any other buck killed by a bow in history.
A shot presented itself and the buck took off before Beatty realized exactly how big the deer really was. After recovering the buck the next morning, Beatty realized it was truly the 'buck of a lifetime." At 294 inches, the Beatty Buck stands as the largest bow killed non-typical whitetail. Fourteen years later and this buck's still just as impressive.
3. Randy Simonitch
It was October 3, 2000, when Randy Simonitch recieved a phone call
from his neighbor explaining there was a giant buck in her backyard and that he should come try and shoot it. And that's exactly what Randy did.
On this warm Missouri day in Pike County, Simonitch stalked across a wide open soybean field at midday to within 25 yards of the mammoth whitetail. With a grunt to get the buck to stand, Simonitch then released his arrow. The rest is history. Randy's buck scored 269 7/8 inches, with a 20 3/8-inch spread and 33 points.
10. Robert K. Taylor
The old saying might seem cliché, but it has to be said here. They claim 'everything is bigger in Texas, ' and Robert Taylor's 2012 buck
is evidence that there's some truth to it.
At 254 4/8 inches, Taylor's buck comes in at No. 9 in the all time Pope & Young non-typical whitetail ranks, and it does so in style. With multiple drop tines and 129 6/8 inches of abnormal points, this is a heck of a whitetail to behold. Robert Taylor explained his feelings on this buck by saying, 'I guess it was just my time. I've waited all my life to kill a deer like this. To be able to pull it off with a bow and arrow made it even more special. '
8. Ronald Ewert Jr.
If someone told me that a 255 6/8-inches buck was only the third largest bow killed non-typical whitetail in Kansas, I wouldn't believe them for a second. But it's true. If someone told me this buck was killed from the ground by a hunter who simply walked up to the buck while it was bedded 40 yards away, I still wouldn't believe them. But it's all true.
Ewert's 2004 bow killed buck truly defies belief, but that's how it goes with world-class whitetails. Taken on October 15 in Leavenworth County, Kan., this buck was the largest Ewert had ever seen in his life.
7. Kenneth B. Fowler
Taken in Reno County, Kan., Kenneth B. Fowler's No. 7 non-typical Pope & Young whitetail is truly a unique buck. With sensational brow tines and a tight, tall frame, this buck definitely stands out in a crowd. Fowler killed this giant Oct. 22, 1988, and it's held it's own near the top of the Kansas record books ever since. Coming in at 257 inches, it'll be a hard one to beat for many years to come.
9. A.J. Downs
Over his years of chasing whitetails, A.J. Downs of Conroe, Texas, has taken a number of big bucks with his bow. But none of the other mounts in his trophy room can match the size, or the meaning, of the freak whitetail that fell to his arrow shortly after daylight on opening day of the 2012 archery season.
Downs had a good feeling about his setup the morning of the hunt although the weather was looking grim. But that wasn't enough to keep Downs out of his ground blind, especially when he knew this monster buck was in the area. He didn't have to wait long before the largest free-ranging whitetail he'd ever seen appeared within watermelon seed-spitting distance. After briefly filming the buck for a few moments, Downs reached for his bow and put an arrow perfectly through both lungs. After running just 60 yards the buck was down. Scoring 256 4/8 inches, Downs tremendous Texas buck was enough to place him at #9 on this list.
The Boone & Crockett Club, whose scoring system the Pope and Young Club uses, now lists this buck as the highest-scoring panel-verified archery whitetail in Texas history. B&C verified the score at 256 4/8 at its 2013 panel-judging in Reno, Nevada. Meanwhile, Pope and Young currently recognizes Robert Taylor's 2012 buck from Texas (entry score 254 4/8; see previous photo) as the state's No. 1 buck by bow. Pope and Young has not yet panel-scored the latter deer. Whether or not the two record books ultimately reconcile their rankings remains to be seen. We might have to wait until the Taylor buck is panel-scored by one or both club to get an answer on that.
Mark Kenyon runs Wired To Hunt, one of the top deer hunting resources online, featuring daily deer hunting news, stories and strategies for the whitetail addict.