By Gordon Whittington
New England isn’t exactly a magnet for trophy buck chasers. It’s not that this conglomeration of smaller states lacks deer, or that it lacks good hunters. It’s just that the land-holdings tend to be small, the agricultural production spotty and the age structure and sex ratio of the deer herd somewhat skewed out of favor for hunting mature bucks. Put it all together, and world-class deer are a pretty rare commodity here.
But every so often, lightning strikes. And it did on Dec. 5, 2002 — on public land, no less. That day, as Kajetan “Whitey” Sovinski prepared to go to the deer woods with his shotgun, he joked to his wife that he’d kill the biggest buck in the woods for her. Little did they know that Whitey was about to do just that.
Hunting public land near Quabbin Reservoir in Franklin County, the veteran hunter shot what turned out to be one of the world’s biggest typical bucks of the year, and the deer that remains in his category for New England. The hunter scored on this giant in an area he’d scouted but never hunted.
Whitey’s amazing whitetail has a gross score of 204 1/8 and a net of 193 3/8. The rack has an inside spread of 25 4/8 inches, and the main beams are 27 7/8 and 29 0/8. The G-2 tines measuring 13 7/8 and 13 2/8, while the bases have circumferences of 5 3/8 and 5 5/8. That’s a whole lot of antler, which you might expect to find on a buck that eclipsed the previous state record by nearly 18 inches.
At least one buck netting that high is shot somewhere in North America every year. Sometimes there are several such deer. But most of these goliaths are farm-fed giants from private land in the Midwest or Canada, not twig-munching bucks dodging heavy hunting pressure on public land in New England. And besides, not many deer of this class from anywhere are main-frame 5x5s. The Sovinski buck is all those remarkable things. So the fact he isn’t immediately mentioned in the same breath with some other world-class bucks proves how underrated he is.