By Gordon Whittington
It’s hard to think of a buck ranking No. 3 in the Pope & Young record book as being “underrated.” But in the case of a great buck taken by bow on Oct. 3, 2000, the descriptor “overlooked” clearly applies.
The beast Randy Simonitch shot that day in northeastern Missouri’s Pike County should have received more fanfare than he did. After all, at the time Randy shot him — after a morning stalk in a standing bean field behind a neighbor’s house — only the Del Austin buck from Nebraska was a bigger bow kill. This new Missouri buck was set to become the all-time No. 2 whitetail by an archer.
But something funny happened on the way to the record book. As Randy’s buck was a little over halfway to the end of the end of the 60-day drying period for official P&Y entry, along came another bowhunter. His name was Mike Beatty, and the buck he shot on Nov. 8, 2000, in Ohio’s Greene County instantly sucked all the air out of the room. Overnight, the Beatty buck usurped the Simonitch buck as the hottest story in deer hunting.
None of that reduced the Missouri monster’s size by even a fraction of an inch. He still went into the P&Y record book at 269 7/8, which is an incredible score. It’s just that he was the new No. 2 for only about a month, between the time he was officially scored and when the Beatty buck was. And so, Randy’s trophy ended up receiving far less notice than he should have.
Despite this deer and the B&C world-record Missouri Monarch from the St. Louis area, that corner of the Show Me State never has really received the trophy acclaim of some other parts of the Midwest — including western Illinois, which lies just across the Mississippi River. But the genetics are obviously there. And so, no serious antler addict will be shocked when the next giant comes from that corner of the whitetail universe.