Stephen Tucker holds the new world record for a non-typical whitetail.
This past week at the ATA Show, an annual archery and bowhunting industry show, there were a few common themes. The first was multiple new product launches and a little chaos. There are a lot reasons for chaos, like the impressive amount of foot traffic and the new pending world record whitetail antlers roaming the show floor with a tight grip from the hunter, Stephen Tucker.
Even with impressive towering booths boasting big screens and hunting personalities, nothing drew in attention like Tucker's buck. The timing couldn't have been better after the buck was scored by a panel of Boone & Crockett judges on January 9, 2017.
Their official measurements surpassed the former 2003 record from Iowa by approximately 5 inches.
The image above shows Director Ed Carter congratulating Stephen with his pending Boone & Crockett non-typical world record whitetail buck.
With the big news announced, Tucker's buck had people swarming to see the piece of whitetail history in person. In the midst of thousands of pictures and hand shakes, I had a chance to sit down with the soft spoken Tennessee hunter.
I asked Tucker to describe the historic chase for the pending world record.
It started on a farm they've been farming for 40 years. He said, "Nothing like that [his record buck] has ever showed up on the farm before." The previous year, he believes the buck was a typical 10 point and isn't sure how the buck made such a substantial leap, but it did.
His first encounter with the buck started when he was cutting corn and saw the buck for about 15 seconds. He said, "I had tunnel vision and couldn't believe what I was seeing."
After the sighting, Tucker started setting trail cameras in an attempt to pattern the buck. The buck remained unpredictable during the majority of early season and Tucker wasn't ready to move in and unintentionally "stink the place up and bump him of the property."
With his scouting efforts, he was able to learn that the only time the buck frequented the area was when there was a north wind. "The north wind was always in favor for the buck; which made hunting him even more challenging," said Tucker.
The first hunting encounter he had with the buck, his muzzleloader dry fired. He said it was the biggest let down imaginable when his muzzleloader malfunctioned. After the hunt, he tried another cap, and the gun fired. Tucker said, "it might be God's blessing this muzzleloader didn't fire, because I was shaking so bad."
He went back out that afternoon and sure enough, the buck showed himself again. However, the buck was 160 yards and Tucker didn't feel comfortable taking the shot.
"The buck was too far out and I wasn't confident. I didn't want to wound him, cripple him, miss him and never see him again. He deserved more than that," said Tucker.
Two days later he went out hunting again, this time the does were acting strange. He decided not to hunt that afternoon and let the area calm back down.
The following day he headed to his blind where he was having encounters. Tucker got into his blind an hour and half before daylight to make sure he wasn't disturbing the area with entering the spot. 15 minutes before daylight he was hearing lots of commotion in the darkness of the timber and near the area of the scrape the buck was frequenting.
He still isn't sure if it was the buck, but later during the hunt, something historic began to unfold.
The deer he has been chasing showed himself 40 yards away broadside. His shooting sticks were set up but his gun was down. When the record buck began walking again, he grabbed his gun and began to take aim. He made a focused effort to remain calm, realizing this could be his last chance to tag the record whitetail.
Tucker squeezed the trigger, and the muzzleloader smoke rolled and remained stagnant in front of the blind, hindering any view he had of the buck to analyze his shot. After waiting about an hour and half he began to search for sign.
The search started and things weren't overly promising. Tucker was following a trail that split; it was there he decided, "We'll look up in the middle of the field and see if he's laying there, if not we will wait until tomorrow. It's then when I saw the buck laying dead in the thicket."
I asked what emotions he was feeling after recovering his coveted trophy. He replied, "I can't even describe it. It's an undesirable wave of emotion. I felt so blessed."
I also inquired what he planned to do with the record antlers. "I'm holding onto them," he said.
Since shooting the pending world record buck, it's made millions of impressions across the internet. It's been a ride for Tucker and it's likely just beginning. The buck will be the featured story for a spring edition of North American Whitetail Magazine and multiple other publications.
Seeing the deer in person, it was incredible the amount of non-typical points it had. The deer had 47 scorable points and easily over 100" in non-typical points. The G2's measured 12 and 13 inches respectively.
The deer has been deemed the name "The Tucker Buck" and it will be drawing in crowds for a long time.
Congratulations to Stephen Tucker on with his historic whitetail.