You always wonder what possible record bucks may be walking around out there. Here are five giants that fell to something other than a hunter but still got found.
We often hear about some incredible deer when they get harvested by a hunter. The news of a new record buck spreads like crazy. The Milo Hansen buck, the James Jordan buck, and now the new Stephen Tucker world record buck have and will consume hunters’ minds and stories for decades.
But have you ever wondered what were some of the biggest bucks that have been found dead instead of being killed by a hunter? The list is full of no scrubs as you can imagine. Some that are very iconic in themselves, and you will probably recognize from magazines or your trips to Bass Pro or Cabela’s.
Feast your eyes and dreams on these incredible whitetails.
1. Hole in the Horn Buck
Found dead by some railroad workers supposedly, the deer we are about to touch on is a king of kings.
Probably the most recognizable deer ever, this monster buck has a very unique feature. On his right antler, on a drop tine, there is a crisp clear hole that goes all the way through the tine. Giving the legendary buck the name “Hole in Horn Buck.” Unsure if it was actually a bullet hole, it adds some flare to the story so most recognize it as that.
The Boone & Crockett record book lists the “Hole in the Horn” buck at the No. 2 non-typical of all time, but most in the outdoor world view it as the biggest buck ever because of its gigantic and massive rack. Incredible width, huge mass, and tines going everywhere.
At a whopping 328 2/8 inches, the buck truly is “the” buck of a lifetime more than any other whitetail ever discussed.
With a controversial conversation surrounding how it was found and the scoring of the deer, the buck and its rack have left people in awe since 1940 when it was found dead in Kent, Ohio. It hung in the Kent Canadian Club for 40 years before being taken into an official scorer in 1983.
2. Missouri Monarch
Another very famous deer, and the highest scoring free range buck of all time, finds its way onto the list next. Yes, the two largest bucks ever did not fall to the bullet or arrow of a hunter.
This buck is known as the Missouri Monarch. A mature Missouri buck that showcased some serious head gear that totaled up to a staggering 333 7/8 inches, making it the largest scored whitetail ever. The B&C world record was found by a hunter in St. Louis County, Missouri, back in 1981.
It was determined that the buck died of natural causes and demolished the score of the previous record. Which was 286 inches from a buck in Texas. That record had been standing since 1892.
The buck had an inside spread of 25 1/8 inches, and it doesn’t seem to likely that a deer will top its score anytime soon.
3. Illinois Roadkill Buck
If you have ever driven in the rural areas of the Midwest, Illinois included, you know just how many deer bound in front of you across the roads at night. This deer didn’t quite make it across, and it just so happened to be one of the largest-framed whitetails anyone has ever seen.
Illinois conservation officer Jim Twitchell was directed to pick up a road-killed deer in Randolph County, Illinois back in November of 1965. According to Legendary Whitetails, Jim and the others who saw the deer found themselves unable to believe the size of either the body or the rack. They were enormous!
As you can see, the rack is one of a kind and ridiculously big, but what was almost more impressive was the fact that the buck weighed over 400 pounds. Forever coined the Illinois Roadkill Buck, another giant fell victim of a vehicle’s grill as they so often do.
With a 31 inch spread, many who see this deer will claim it is the biggest deer they have ever seen. Legendary Whitetails has it on display and they state that this deer garners more attention than any other buck on the premise because it almost looks too big to believe. That is including the Missouri Monarch and the Hole in the Horn Buck.
Because of the way one of the tines comes off it’s G2, it is considered an abnormal point and ultimately hurts the final score of this deer’s incredible rack. Viewed as an 8 pointer because of the “abnormal” point, the Illinois Roadkill Buck gross scores at an absurd 202 6/8, but officially nets scores at 176 5/8. Let that sink in for a minute.
What a deer.
4. Heartbreaker Buck
Adam Jordison of Iowa loved two things. Deer hunting and then shed hunting. One spring in Iowa he drove home from college to do some shed hunting and found an incredible pair of some non-typical sheds of the same deer but different years.
The next three years he put forth effort to locate and kill this buck but never got an opportunity. After not being able to hardly hunt any during the 2008 season, Adam set out to scout his property a day before he hunted the next week. While scouting, he couldn’t believe what he saw.
Adam walked up on the buck of a lifetime he was after. Noticing he had something special, Adam contacted his local IDNR agent and asked what he should do. It was clear that the buck had been dead awhile, and it was later determined the buck had died of Blue Tongue, a common whitetail disease.
That next March, Adam dragged the rack and skull to the Iowa deer classic, and the buck was scored at 272 3/8 inches and was estimated to be 6 1/2 years old. A true blue mature Iowa giant, and a score that would only fall behind the Missouri Monarch and Hole in Horn Buck. Some great legendary whitetail company.
After the story began spreading, it was found that there had been three different hunters chasing this once-in-a-lifetime majestic whitetail and none of them were aware of the others. The buck and news that broke hearts—the Heartbreaker Buck.
5. Kansas Mystery 99 Buck
This buck is somewhat of a mystery as we couldn’t find any information of it beside a picture and the score, and the fact that it is in the record bucks.
What is a big buck list without Kansas in it, anyway? This monster whitetail is said to have been picked up in Kansas in 1999, hence the name “99 Buck.” But that name has a double significance, as this giant whitetail scored a whopping 199 2/8 typical inches.
The story behind it is a mystery at the moment, but it was found not killed and that is what this list is all about.
All in all…
The legend and stories of big bucks fascinate us deer hunters. To me, there is something even more special about a large buck who defied the odds and outsmarted hunters its whole life. These bucks all grew to be world-class deer and avoided the tip of an arrow or the smack of a bullet until their last breath.
They eventually met their fate, though, and we are just glad someone stumbled across them. It really makes you wonder what bucks are out there and what bucks have lain dead in the forest floor never to be found.
One thing is certain, these five bucks have a spot in history and will be talked about for years and years to come.