There have been plenty of famous whitetail deer taken over the years, but perhaps none weirder than the famous Sammy Walker buck out of Louisiana. Also known as the "Louisiana Freak," this big buck is truly one of a kind in the deer hunting world. The antlers are more like a tangled spider's web of points going in every direction as if someone is having a bad hair day. There are no discernible main beams or any of the typical points you'd normally associate with a buck's antlers. The deer was so weird, the hunter who shot it, Sammy "Peanut" Walker, wasn't even sure if it was a deer or not when he first saw it!
Since the freak fell in 1958, this buck has astounded whitetail deer hunting enthusiasts the world over as being one of the wildest non-typical deer ever harvested. A scorer's nightmare come to life, it sports 48 points over one inch in length, 22 on one side and 26 on the other. But you won't find this deer in any record books; the Walker buck was too freaky even for record keepers like the Boone and Crockett Club. This is the story of how the freak was hunted, and why the animal has been rejected from all record books, essentially leaving it in a class all its own.
The Hunt for a Legend
The freakiest buck ever shot was an extremely late season harvest. It was January 2, 1958, when Sammy Walker decided to head out with his son and friends on an uncharacteristically frosty morning by Louisiana standards. According to North American Whitetail, it was 20 degrees and an ice storm had just passed through, prime conditions for deer to be up and on their feet. Walker was hunting near Bayou Blue, a small community in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes in the southern end of the state.
Like many southern hunters at the time, Walker used dogs during deer season. According to NAW he had four of them, two walker hounds and two redbones. Walker found a fresh track and the group quickly released their dogs and placed standers on nearby escape routes. It didn't take long for the dogs to get on the heels of deer, one which they turned in Walker's direction.
Suddenly, the freak appeared before him, and Walker dropped it with a single broadside shot from a 12-gauge Stevens shotgun loaded with buckshot. As quickly as it had begun, the hunt for the Louisiana Freak was over.
Walker hadn't had the chance to get a good look at the deer before he shot. He only knew it was a buck. Legend has it Walker was a little puzzled by what he saw as he approached his buck. It wasn't just the freakiness of the antlers that made the deer an odd sight. Stuck in the already-unusual antlers was a mess of vines, Spanish moss, sticks, leaves and other forest debris. NAW notes that some of the vines even trailed the deer's body on the ground. It wasn't until he got closer that he realized he'd just shot one of the freakiest non-typical whitetails ever seen by any hunter.
Why the Record Books Rejected the Sammy Walker Buck
Normally, a buck with this many points and this much mass would instantly be a candidate for a new state record, and possibly a place on the list of biggest bucks ever killed. The buck did make Walker quite the local celebrity for a while, because no one in the area had ever seen anything like it. However, you won't find this deer listed in Boone and Crockett's record book. That's because the animal is believed to be a stag or "cactus buck," a deer with either damaged or undeveloped testicles. These deer usually do not participate in the rut, and their antlers are often a jumbled mess dissimilar to anything else seen in nature. B&C has specific rules against entering deer of this nature, mostly because this type of condition leads to antler development that often continues year-round, completely uncontrolled by normal rises and drops in testosterone levels.
"Each situation has varying effects, but for the purpose of Boone and Crockett Records Program eligibility, antlered specimens that exhibit traits that suggest antler development variation cannot be compared to those antlers developed under typical conditions; therefore, they are not eligible for entry," Boone and Crockett's website reads.
Because of the velvet present on the Walker buck's antlers, many have long suspected the animal was one of these cactus bucks. There are also suspicions that the freak never shed his antlers, which means the mess of antler points may represent growth for multiple years. This is another feature B&C looks for when determining if a deer is eligible or not. The Walker buck also runs into a snag with B&C's policy on abnormal trophies. Simply put, B&C reserves the right to reject the antlers of an animal that has no normal points or "discernible main beams." There's no arguing with that on the Louisiana Freak. It's a jumble of antlers that looks like it came from another world.
While the Boone and Crockett Club did reject the Walker buck from the books, that didn't stop measurer Dave Boland from taking a crack at it anyway. He came up with an unofficial score of 291 3/8 inches, which would make the Walker buck one of the largest whitetails ever harvested by a hunter.
Even though this buck is not officially recognized by any record-keeping organization, it has still earned a place in hunting history as one of the most legendary whitetails of all time. It's fitting that today the freak is owned by Bass Pro Shops where it has a permanent place in their Springfield, Missouri store, which is attached to the Wonders of Wildlife Museum. Now hunters from all over the world can see and appreciate one of nature's marvels in person.
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