Hey, we all know how wide, tall and massive whitetails’ racks are, right? Like the “rocking chair rack” of the 14-point buck we saw running away.
“His antlers were this high and at least this wide…” and here we spread our hands a good 3-feet. “And mass! You wouldn’t believe the mass. I’m talking this big around at the bases…” And here we make a circle with both hands. Oh yeah, we’ve all seen that buck.
Or maybe not.
The Boone & Crockett book, Records of North American Big Game, reveals the hard truth about horn and antler size, and it’s often smaller than our fevered imaginations want it to be. This book is the data repository for all the antlers and skulls from America’s largest trophy game. In this book is compiled a certified list of all the carefully measured antlers, horns and skulls. Real dimensions, not estimations. And oh what surprising differences there are!
Take record-book whitetails, for instance. There are literally thousands in the Book, but I’ll bet none is quite as big as the mystery deer most of us have glimpsed sneaking through the woods.
Consider those massive antler bases. Are they really as big as the circles we make when putting thumbs and index fingers of both hands together? The world record Hanson buck from Saskatchewan grosses 223-7/8 inches typical and nets 213-5/8. Its heaviest base is just — drum roll please — 5 inches around. Five inches? Well, surely there are heavier whitetail bases in the book. And there are. The biggest bases on a typical whitetail rack stretch 7 inches around. Just 7 inches. You can easily wrap one hand around that. And only four typical whitetails in the book have 7-inch bases. The fattest non-typical? 10-4/8 inches. Much heftier. But still, nothing like the mass most of us describe on the buck that got away.
A 3-foot Spread?
What about that 3-foot spread? Sorry to break the bad news, but the widest outside spread of any typical ever recorded is just 34-4/8 inches. A Todd County, Kentucky, buck taken in 1964 grew that one, and it’s nothing to sneeze at, but we might bring our hands a bit closer together when demonstrating the spread of the one that got away, because the widest inside spread in the book is just 32 inches. That came from Kansas in 1991.
Something fun is to search for the smallest dimensions. Can you guess the narrowest inside spread of any typical whitetail that made the book? Think carefully about this one, because the inches lost to a narrow spread have to be made up in beam length, mass or tine length. The narrowest rack in the book spreads just 12-6/8 inches! It’s from a Missouri buck taken in 2009.
While flipping through the hardcover Book is fun, a faster way to search is with Boone & Crockett’s on-line Trophy Datatbase Search tool. You input parameters and let the software program scan the tens of thousands of entries to find what you’re looking for. You can limit your search by state or province and even narrow the focus to county in order to see how many trophies have come out of it. Hunters use this to identify the most likely areas in which to find a trophy. The county that has produced the greatest number of B&C typical whitetails, for instance, is Buffalo County, Wisconsin. Carbon Country, Wyoming, wins the pronghorn division and Eagle County, Colorado, has kicked out the most non-typical mule deer.
Visit my website for more details on weird antler records.
Click to to access B&C’s Trophy Search. There is a charge of $50 for annual, unlimited access. You can join B&C, America’s oldest wildlife conservation organization, as an associate member for as little as $25. It is the mission of the Boone and Crockett Club to promote the conservation and management of wildlife, especially big game, and its habitat, to preserve and encourage hunting and to maintain the highest ethical standards of fair chase and sportsmanship in North America.
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