A shadow is looming over a potentially record-breaking whitetail from Ohio this past hunting season. The whitetail dubbed the Alexander buck—because it was killed by 28-year-old Christopher "CJ" Alexander—has been confiscated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the circumstances that led to its harvesting are under active investigation.
Alexander shot the monster buck Nov. 9 during the archery hunting season in Clinton County, Ohio. He claimed to have been on a 30-acre parcel owned by his sister. The exact details of where the Alexander buck was taken are now under scrutiny.
The swirl of poaching rumors and accusations began not long after photos of the buck were posted online. Details of exactly when and where the buck was killed were questioned. People pointed out that Alexander claimed to have recovered the buck in the midmorning, but all the posed photos were taken in the dark. (In a story for Outdoor Life, Alexander said he and a friend had waited for the friend's girlfriend to get off work before taking pictures, because she had a quality camera.)
The Ohio DNR announced December 26 that it had launched an official investigation after information was provided that claimed Alexander had harvested the buck on private property not owned by his sister, and that he had failed to obtain the lawfully required written permission before hunting on that property. (It's unclear who provided these tips.) The question of when the buck was harvested was not addressed in the press release, which made no mention of allegations of after-hours hunting.
The antlers, cape, and hunting equipment associated with the hunt were confiscated by authorities.
The Alexander buck was given a green score of 206 and seven-eighths inches by Ohio's Buckeye Big Buck Club—completed prior to the required 60-day drying period—which would make the buck the biggest whitetail taken in the state and the overall third ever in North America.
If Alexander is found guilty of poaching, he could have a hefty fine to pay. According to Section 1531.201 of the Ohio Revised Code, anyone found guilty of illegally taking a deer over 125 inches gross score shall be ordered to pay a special restitution fee in addition to any restitution value established under the division's rules. Under this code, Alexander would face a fine of more than $30,000.
Deer hunting is serious business in Ohio. Although the state is made up of mostly private property, it offers hunters access to a wide variety of private hunting lands through the Cooperative Private Land Access Program. This program is a mutually beneficial partnership between the Ohio DNR and private landowners to provide hunting opportunities on private lands that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public.
READ MORE: The Worst Poaching Cases of 2023
Enjoy the outdoors?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.