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Breaking News: Is Mitch Rompola onto the Next World Record?

Rompolaxerox I received this letter in the mail yesterday, along with this photocopy of what the anonymous writer claims is the new world-record whitetail. Here’s the letter in its entirety, unabridged:

The next world record is alive and well!!! This 8×8 clean typical 16 point is another contender from the same place the GIANT TYPICAL buck was taken in 1998…Michigan! This buck will easily outscore that Canadian buck of 213+. Experts say it will easily net about 230 to 240+ typical. All your so-called experts were way off except one guy mentioned Michigan.

Also the same bowhunter that shot that Monster Buck in Michigan is watching this buck. Could lighting (sic) strike twice?!!!

The mystery writer is referencing my article “Nice Rack” in the March Outdoor Life, in which only one of our experts (Keith Balfourd of Boone and Crockett Club) predicted that the next top typical could come out of Michigan.

April_13_06 The “same bowhunter” watching the buck is the infamous Mitch Rompola of Traverse City, MI. Back in November 1998 Rompola claimed to have killed the new record (218 inches) with his bow (remember this photo?) What has ensued over the last 8 years is bizarre (click here for a good Rompola archive). It never ceases to amaze me how a whitetail with a huge rack makes reasonable people do and say stupid things. A few highlights (or lowlights):

• Supposedly because of a nasty falling out with the B&C club, Rompola, 57, refused to have the buck officially scored, thus giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsements, speaking fees, etc.
• People screamed, “Proof he’s a kook, liar and a cheat–the buck is illegal or a fake!”
• Friends and fans said Rompola is a private guy and a hard DIY hunter, and he just wanted to get out of the limelight and get the media off his back.
• In 1999, 3 B&C certified scorers examined the rack and claim it’s legit.
• In 2000, Rompola reportedly signed a contract with a seed company that represents Milo Hanson, who shot the current record buck (213) in Saskatchewan in 1983. Rompola agrees never to have his rack officially scored. Since the Rompola buck could never be deemed the new record, the seed company and Hanson could continue to claim the top deer and make money off it.
• That move baffled fans and skeptics alike. “I never would have signed it,” Milo Hanson was quoted as saying. “If he (Rompola) signed it, then something is terribly wrong.”

Go to any bowhunting forum today and you’ll still see Rompola threads, with fans and doubters hotly debating the hunter and his buck.

Enter this mystery letter sent to me, which was postmarked in Traverse City, MI. Could the writer be the great hunter himself? One of his crazed fans? A hoax?

And what about the buck? Hell of a rack, but I don’t see 230 inches. That’s one thick, fat deer—pen raised and on protein-pellet steroids maybe? BTW, the writer sent 3 flash photocopies of the buck, close ups of the rack at various angles. Would an old, wild deer pose for a trail cam like that?

If anybody has seen this “record buck” or has knowledge of its existence let me know. Real or fake? Is old Mitch legit? Is he poised to rise out of the ashes like a Phoenix and strike again this fall and make a mint this time? Are we ready for another fiasco like that? What do you think?