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The Truth Behind the 430-Pound Deer: Where and When Was It Shot, and is It Really That Big?

Wilderness Whitetails

The urban myth surrounding the 430-pound deer can finally be lifted.

If you've been on Facebook in the last few years, I bet this image has come across your Newsfeed at one time or another.

The original post dates back several years, states the buck weighed 430 pounds, and was shot in Hartford, Michigan.

430 pound buck shot in Hartford, MI yesterday.

Posted by Kathi Hawkins on Friday, November 29, 2013

The picture first surfaced the internet in 2009, with various descriptions stating it weighed anywhere between 400-500 pounds. The location of where it was shot has often changed, but the most popular description of the picture is that it's a 430-pound deer shot Hartford, Michigan.

Needless to say, this extremely big buck became one of deer hunting's biggest urban legends.

The Truth Behind the Supposed 430-Pound Buck Shot in Michigan

According to, a website that looks to factually settle internet rumors, the facts surrounding this story have been unearthed.

The deer was actually shot on a Wisconsin high fence game farm called Wilderness Whitetails in September 2009. There is no official weight listed for the deer, but it certainly looks heavy. All the same, a 430-pound buck is huge, so even a good bit short of that qualifies as a very big deer.

As it turns out, Wilderness Whitetails specializes in abnormally-large whitetail deer and antlers, as proven by the game farm's trophy gallery and this montage from their YouTube channel published years ago.

The owner of the game farm had this to say to Field and Stream magazine at the time:

Yes, it is a legitimate buck. I mean, we are a high-fence operation, I want to be clear about that, but this is a real buck. It was taken last September and weighed 420 pounds live-weight. The heaviest deer that's ever been shot on our place. Our client hunted this deer for 11 days. We'd had very warm weather and this buck just would leave his bed in a cedar swamp during the day. But it finally cooled off, and the hunter caught the buck making its way from the swamp to a food plot. He was so pumped, he just went nuts. He was kissing the deer.

Now everyone can finally know the actual truth surrounding this buck that has gone viral on various occasions throughout the social media spectrum.

It may not have come from a natural, fenceless, free range type of deer hunting, but it sure is giant.

Does it at least make you want to grab your hunting gear and head out in the field?



The Truth Behind the 430-Pound Deer: Where and When Was It Shot, and is It Really That Big?