Earlier this week it looked like Wayne Long of New York had a legitimate shot at the state record with his 220-inch non-typical whitetail. Now, as the story has developed, the only thing Long has to show for his trophy buck is a ticket and an accusation that he tried to defraud the Boone and Crockett record books.
Long, of Watertown, N.Y., killed the monster buck last weekend and reported his score earlier this week to Matt Cooper, a scorer for B&C and vice president of the New York State Big Buck Club. Originally Long reported he shot the deer on a tract of private land he had permission to hunt, but Cooper told the Watertown Daily Times that the story seemed unlikely.
After meeting Long at a local taxidermy shop to take measurements, Cooper said his suspicions began to grow. He took the monster buck's jaw measurements and placed it in the two-year-old age range, at which point Cooper said the inconsistency became apparent to him — no wild deer that age could produce a 220-inch rack.
According to the Times, Cooper concluded that Long shot his trophy buck on a deer farm, transported it to his hunting tract, and then made a false claim to B&C. Long did not return phone calls or emails sent to him during the week.
"I give hunters the benefit of the doubt every time... it's a very happy moment for them," Cooper told the Times. "I want to share and contribute to their special moment. It's very disappointing to see someone make an attempt to defraud the record book."
Cooper also had Long show him the area where he shot the deer, but he felt that too was unrealistic given the lack of blood present in the area and the distance Long claimed to have shot the buck from. Having come to the conclusion that the deer must have been farm raised, Cooper said he gave Long two options: either withdraw his deer from the records or Cooper would go public in his attempt to prove the deer was ineligible, according to the Times.
Stephen W. Litwhiler, a spokesman with the Department of Environmental Conservation that ticketed Long for filing a false claim and with third-degree operation of a motor vehicle without a license, told the Times he believes this is more than a simple case of miscommunication. According to Litwhiler, there is an ongoing investigation in the matter.