Like one of New England's multi-masted ships of yore, this multi-tined megabuck from New Hampshire boasts a rack of
A deer drive in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, with four companions produced the long-tined monster. Pictured from left to right are Eric Ranfos, VJ Ranfos, Vic Ranfos, John Klucky and Ron Lavoie.
John Klucky wasn't just carrying a shotgun when he walked into the woods of Merrimack County, New Hampshire, on Nov. 25 last year. He carried with him many years of deer hunting experience and knowledge. The 45-year-old had been hunting since he was a small boy. At 8 he chased small game with a .22 at the family hunting camp in Vermont. By the 1970s he was deer hunting with his dad, and in 1979 he took his first deer, a doe. A few years later he shot a spike. After that, he was hooked on whitetail hunting for life.
Since then John has hunted a number of states in the U.S., including his home state of New Hampshire, as well as several Canadian provinces. John hunts with bow, muzzleloader, rifle and shotgun. He will never forget some words of wisdom spoken by his dad many years ago -- words that were destined to influence his encounter with the great buck he would shoot in 2006.
"You gotta get out of bed to go deer hunting," his dad had told him.
By that, of course, his dad meant that John had to have the desire to drag himself out of bed no matter what, and to keep at it each season, if he truly wanted to become a good hunter. And John did become a good hunter. In fact, he built a business around his love for hunting -- John Klucky's Outdoor Adventures. John produces videos about deer, bear and moose hunting.
AN EXTRAORDINARY DAY IN THE WOODS
On the morning of Nov. 25, John was supposed to be filming another hunter, but the hunter cancelled. Heeding his father's words, John got himself out of bed anyway and joined his "crew," a group of friends, for a deer drive. Given the tough, thick, nasty cover that most big bucks seek out once gun season begins, this method of hunting is very common throughout New England. John was to meet friends Eric Ranfos, VJ Ranfos, Vic Ranfos and Ron Lavoie.
On his way out, John grabbed his shotgun. This was something that he seldom did, as he generally prefers to hunt with a muzzleloader. The group met for coffee and donuts before first light and then headed out to the woods. Upon reaching the area, they walked for nearly an hour to their favorite spot. It was a long way from the nearest road and thought to be a real haven for big bucks.
Eric organized the first "push." He and John did a slow drive through thick cover, but no deer were sighted. They then moved to a different area, and on the second drive Eric and VJ were the drivers while John, Ron and Vic took stands and waited. Eric pointed John toward a large boulder that would give him a good vantage point, and John crawled up on top and sat waiting patiently as VJ and Eric headed around to the other side of the tract to begin the drive.
It was one of those cool, crisp, clear and quiet mornings that hunters love. Sitting on the huge boulder with his shotgun on his lap, John waited -- but not for long. Within 10 minutes he heard deer coming. John's heart began to pound as he noticed two deer straight ahead of him. Although he could not see them clearly, he sensed that they were a buck and doe. The deer headed in Vic's direction, but no shots were fired.
A BUCK FOR THE AGES
As he sat wondering where the deer had gone, John heard more footsteps. It sounded like they were coming back! The early morning sun blinded him as he tried to look toward the sound. Listening intently and squinting, John noticed the sound getting closer. Then a doe suddenly appeared at about 35 yards. As she was going out of sight, John was shocked to see a monster buck standing about 40 yards away, looking right at him! Because of the sun's glare, John could not see the buck's rack clearly, but he could make out two large main beams and he knew the deer was a shooter.
Drawing a good bead on the buck's vitals, he quickly aimed and fired. He followed up with a second shot. Then, shocked and shaken, John headed over to the spot where the buck had been standing. He found considerable blood at first, but the blood trail quickly began to peter out. John was happy and fearful at the same time. Ronnie came over first, and John told him he had shot a huge buck. Then Eric showed up, and he posted the other hunters around the area in case the deer got up.
Sure enough, as they started to follow the sparse blood trail, the buck did get up. Fortunately, it went by VJ, who was able to get off another good shot. The buck traveled a short distance and went down in some heavy brush. As excited as everyone in the group was, the hunters waited a while before going over -- just to be on the safe side. As John approached the downed buck, the others spread out around him just in case. But the monster was down for good. John grabbed the huge rack and held it up for Eric to see, and the two hunters could not believe its size. John recalls thinking, "Oh my gosh -- I shot a 160!"
Of course, the buck scored much higher than 160. Eric started counting points and reached 15. Incredibly, these were all typical points. John was totally overwhelmed as the reality of the situation began to sink in. As the other hunters came running over, the celebration began.
All three shots had connected; the first two fired by John had been lethal, as was the final shot fired by VJ. John quickly realized that his trophy was noticeably guant and worn down from rutting activity. The carcass did not show an ounce of fat anywhere. Although the buck field dressed at 170 pounds, it took the excited group over an hour to get the deer out of the woods.
A RARE "YANKEE CLIPPER"
John had taken some nice bucks in the past, including a double-drop-tine buck with his bow in New Hampshire and a huge 240-pound monster in Canada. But this buck had a typical rack larger than anything he had ever seen. And that seemed to be the case with everyone in the group.
Roscoe Blaisdell, president of the New Hampshire Antler & Skull Trophy Club and also a B&C scorer, green-scored the giant at an amazing 200 gross inches typical. Later, Roscoe officially scored the rack after the required 60 days. Because of the rare characteristics of the rack, a question was raised in regard to how to score the massive 7x8 typical frame.
Although Roscoe determined the G-4 on the left side to be a typical point, there was a possibility that B&C officials might determine that point to be "out of sequence," in which case it would be ruled abnormal. This would result in a dramatic reduction of the final net score. However, after careful considerat
ion, B&C officials in Missoula, Montana, agreed with Roscoe's initial interpretation. The point was typical!
A ONE-OF-A-KIND TYPICAL
Few typical racks from the Northeast have reached the 200-gross-inch B&C plateau, and the Klucky buck missed this mark by the slimmest of margins. The final gross B&C typical score before deductions was 199 5/8. After 12 3/8 inches in side-to-side deductions, the final net score was 187 2/8.
The Klucky buck is impressive in every way. With its sweeping main beams more than 25 inches in length, you cannot help but be impressed by the "wall of tines" that arise from the heavy beams. Furthermore, 15-point typical racks are extremely rare. In fact, this is the only 15-point typical in the Northeast Big Buck Club records.
And according to Jack Reneau at B&C, there are very few 15-point (or better) typical whitetails listed in the all-time record book, making this a rare trophy indeed. When you consider the astounding odds of shooting a B&C typical in the first place and then compound those numbers with the odds of shooting a buck with a 7x8 typical frame, it's an understatement to say that this is one amazing whitetail!
So it's easy to see why John Klucky's phenomenal trophy is worthy of being given the "best typical ever" crown in New Hampshire! It replaces the former New Hampshire state-record typical, taken by Frank Thurston in 1997. Frank's buck was killed in Coos County and scored 183 3/8 typical B&C points.
New Hampshire hunters connected on many quality whitetails in 2006. In fact, last season was one of the best in the Granite State in quite some time, in terms of both deer harvest numbers and trophy quality. John says that this has been an amazing experience for him, and that he has enjoyed every bit of the attention that he and his great trophy have received!
(Editor's Note: John's company recently released its first DVD, "Black Bears of the Northeast." The 60-minute DVD includes one exciting whitetail hunt. For information, you can visit www.kluckysoutdooradventures.com. For information about the Northeast Big Buck Club, or to purchase a copy of the Club's brand-new hard-cover 2007 record book, Northeast Trophy Whitetails V, visit <a href="http:// www.bigbuckclub.com e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (508) 752-8762.)