The Stories Behind the Biggest Whitetail Deer—EVER

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They may not be the prettiest specimens on the planet, but then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And we’re willing to bet you wouldn’t pass up any of these bucks because they were a tad asymmetrical. Some of these deer were taken by hunters who didn’t mind a lot of junk. One deer’s death remains a mystery, while another got “ran over by a damned old train.” Classic country songs aside, these are the stories of the biggest whitetail deer to make it into the Boone and Crockett records.

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Number 1 – Missouri Pick Up

Score: 333-7/8 Location: St. Louis County, Missouri Year: 1981

Its rack weighs more than 11 pounds, and it has more cheaters than a daytime soap opera. But that’s about where the drama ends for this guy. He was found dead inside a fence along a road in northern St. Louis County. A hunter who already had his buck notified the warden who got permission to retrieve it. They couldn’t find any bullet holes and didn’t have any ideas on the cause of death. It was only 5 ½ years old. The head was forgotten until the first of the year when the warden took it to the taxidermist who knew at first glance what he had. It was measured and dubbed the biggest and baddest whitetail of all time. It remains property of the state of Missouri on display for all its citizens to see.

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Number 2 – Ohio Pick Up

Score: 328-2/8 Location: Portage County, Ohio Year: 1940

Taken down by a train, this buck hung in the Kent Canadian Club in Kent, Ohio for years. Dick Idol, an outdoor writer and avid antler collector, acquired the antlers from the club a few decades after it died. He had it officially measured and the entry measurement had it coming in as number one. Idol declared it number one and started to spread the word that a new king was crowned. The buck still had to go before a Scoring Panel at the 19th Awards. The panel score was lower, and the buck was bumped to number two. According to the records, “The slightly lower score…is explained by the necessary interpretation of several points on the beam as being either typical or non-typical.” To be fair, the rack has nearly 200 inches of abnormal points.

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Number 3 – Brewster Buck

Score: 327-7/8 Location: Edgar County, Illinois Year: 2018

Yes, you’ve seen this buck here before, but don’t you think it’s worth another look? This is the biggest free-ranging whitetail ever taken by a hunter, and it was taken by a guy who is no stranger to world-class whitetails. Luke Brewster and his friends are whitetail fanatics with a knack for consistently taking giant bucks. The group called this buck Mufasa and Brewster (who lived in Virginia) was in the right place at the right time on a November morning when the buck stepped into bow range.

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Number 4 – Butcher Buck

Score: 321-3/8 Location: Chase County, Kansas Year: 2019

If you’re scoring a deer like this, it’s best to just clear the calendar and put on a pot of coffee. Brian Butcher had been hunting the same property for 13 years, and in April 2019 his trail camera snapped a photo of this creature. In the fall, Butcher returned to hunt in his treestand on the edge of a CRP field when the buck returned. At 25 yards, Butcher released an arrow. And it was all over—except the scoring, of course. That took a little while.

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Number 5 – Tennessee Tucker Buck

Score: 315-1/8 Location: Sumner County, Tennessee Year: 2016

For two years, Stephen Tucker held the crown of having killed the biggest free-ranging whitetail of all time before Brewster’s Illinois giant fell. Tucker killed his buck on his family’s small farm during Tennessee’s November muzzleloader season. It was, in fact, the second time he’d had the buck within range. The first time he saw it, Tucker had the buck at 30 yards, but his muzzleloader failed to fire. Eventually, Tucker caught up with the buck again.

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Honorable Mention – Bryant Crossbow Buck

Score: 304-3/8 Location: Fulton County, Illinois Year: 2001

Illinois isn’t known for harboring caribou, but the shovel-like eye-guard on this bruiser could have come from the Arctic Circle. Considering that hunter Jerry Bryant wasn’t after caribou or even a deer when he shot the new Illinois state record, the buck is a pretty good blind luck story. Bryant was minding his own business back in 2001 in a treestand on his buddy’s farm enjoying a Twinkie and some Mountain Dew with his trusty crossbow by his side. Because he was injured on the job a few years back, he couldn’t pull back his compound, so he applied and got a special permit to hunt with a crossbow.

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A group of gobblers came into view, and when he reached for his bow (he was actually turkey hunting), they spooked and took off. Soon thereafter, a doe cruised by, urinated and moved on. Hot on her tail was Big Buck Jones (seen here). It stopped to sniff her puddle of pee, which gave Jerry a 15-yard slam dunk. The buck didn’t even flinch after being shot through the heart. It took a few steps, wobbled, and died. Jerry kept the news of the buck on the down low as he was going through a rough divorce at the time and didn’t want half his buck taken. Once court was adjourned, he revealed his 36-point buck.

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Sean Campbell’s love for hunting and outdoor life is credited to his dad who constantly thrilled him with exciting cowboy stories. His current chief commitment involves guiding aspiring gun handlers on firearm safety and shooting tactics at the NRA education and training department. When not with students, expect to find him either at his gunsmithing workshop, in the woods hunting, on the lake fishing, on nature photoshoots, or with his wife and kid in Maverick, Texas. Read more >>