These monster bucks managed to evade hunters for years.
As every hunter knows, big bucks are tough to kill. The older and wiser they get, the tougher they are to find. There have been many instances of deer hunters finally outsmarting these kinds of bucks, but just as many get away cleanly.
For today’s #WhitetailWednesday, here are five world-record whitetails who managed to evade hunters their entire lives. Some met their demise by other means and others simply vanished without a trace.
The Missouri Monarch
The No. 1 non-typical whitetail in Boone & Crockett’s record books managed steer clear of hunters throughout its life. Instead, it was found dead by the side of a roadway near the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area outside of St. Louis, Missouri, in 1981.
That means this monster buck was probably hanging out on public land! Yet, astonishingly, there’s no record of anyone knowing about this deer prior to its discovery. Considering the buck lived in a public hunting area near a major population center, it makes the story all the more mind-blowing. The Missouri Department of Conservation did a thorough examination of the deer’s body and determined it died of natural causes.
At the time of its discovery, the Missouri Monarch was a total shock to the whitetail world. Scoring 333 7/8, it didn’t just break a world record that had stood since 1892. It completely annihilated it by 47 inches and changed people’s perceptions on what kind of antlers whitetails were capable of growing.
There was undoubtedly more than one St. Louis-area whitetail hunter who was kicking themselves after the find ,wondering why they didn’t spend more time in the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area!
The Hole-in-the-Horn Buck
The deer hunting world was still reeling from the idea of a whitetail buck growing more than 300 inches of antler. Then the Hole-in-the-Horn buck, perhaps the most famous buck of all time, was scored in 1983.
But the buck had actually been found dead more than 40 years earlier in 1940 near Windham, Ohio. Exact details of the discovery are somewhat sketchy, but we do know he was was lying along a railroad right-of-way.
Some stories say an engineer spotted him from the train. Others say workers found him while working on the tracks. Another intriguing aspect is the hole in one of the drop tines that gives the buck his name. There are a number of stories to explain this, but it seems the most commonly accepted explanation is that the buck became tangled in a fence that bored a hole through the antler as the deer struggled to free itself.
Whatever the case may be, the buck eventually ended up in the Kent Canadian Club and hung there in relative obscurity until Dick Idol heard the story and tracked the mounted head down in 1983.
This monster was later scored at 328 2/8 inches, making him the No. 2 all-time, non-typical whitetail. It could’ve been the world record for years had it been found and measured sooner. Some have speculated the Hole-in-the-Horn should be the world record, but the buck may have lost some significant inches after drying and shrinking in a smoky bar for 40 years. The world will never know for sure.
The Minnesota Monarch
Not to be confused with the Missouri Monarch, this is a buck that was actually known to some people while it was alive. Yet the buck’s remains were never actually found. Instead, this buck is known from a few photographs and three sets of the largest sheds ever recovered from a whitetail deer.
The largest of the sets, from 1990, scores an eye-popping 310 inches without factoring in an inside spread, which can only be guessed upon. The right side alone scores over 180 inches all by itself! The buck likely would’ve been close to, if not a world-record non-typical for a deer shot by a hunter that year.
The same landowner allegedly found all these sheds, and said the buck appeared at the feed he left out for the deer every February. Interestingly, the man who found the sheds has retained his anonymity all these years and eventually sold the sheds off to a collector, so there are few details on theses findings.
In 1991, the Monarch vanished and no one is quite sure what happened to him. There are rumors he was shot by a female hunter that fall. But some believe that buck, which scored 228 4/8 inches, was too different-looking to be the Monarch.
Granted, the buck would have been an estimated 10 years old at that point, so his antlers would be going downhill. But without direct evidence to the contrary, we’d like to think the Monarch lived out his days and simply vanished into the wilderness, never to be seen or found again.
This buck is known by only a single set of sheds, which were brought to the public limelight by Oklahoma outfitter Tim Condict. He was scouring the central part of the U.S. for new hunting leases when he was led to a rancher in Nebraska who found them back in the late 1950s.
The person who gave Condict the tip wasn’t kidding. The absolutely monstrous typical is conservatively estimated to net 218 inches. That is five inches bigger than Milo Hanson’s currently reigning world record. Unfortunately non-typical points knock the score down some. It initially grossed over 220.
The rancher supposedly told Condict there were three whitetails of a similar size running the fall before he found the sheds. Other than the fact no one ever shot The General, we don’t really know much else about this buck.
This is the kind of story that really makes a hunter’s imagination run wild, isn’t it?
The Knife-Handle Buck
There are actually very few details about this monster buck, which supposedly wandered around Iowa during the 1970s.
The most common story says a farmer picked up the sheds. One day, a turtle trapper stopped to ask permission to use his land when he spotted the monstrous 8X8 set. Unbelievably, the farmer gave the trapper one of the sides and a bunch of other antlers he had laying around.
However, the farmer was saving the other side of this monster buck for a friend who made antlers into knife handles. Can you believe someone wanted to cut up a side of this world-class, 16-point set of antlers!
And, apparently it really was partially cut up, destroying a piece of whitetail history. A chunk of the main beam was discovered years later after it was thought to be destroyed. We can’t know for certain what this buck would’ve actually scored, but a taxidermist later re-created the whole left side. People subsequently made estimates that it may have scored as high as 230, which would smash all typical whitetail records.
Unfortunately, all we know about this legend is the sheds. As far as we know, he simply vanished into Iowa hunting legend without ever meeting up with a hunter.
As you can see, world-record-sized bucks don’t come easy. It’s a lot harder for a big buck to go unknown these days, especially with the heavy use of trail cameras. However, a few of these bucks are incredibly obscure deer that make you wonder how many other mega-sized bucks have gone completely unknown for all these years?