Just by sniffing out an old deer carcass, a five-year-old German Shepherd named Sweety has potentially earned his owners thousands of dollars and propelled them into the world of antler mania.

While roaming around last spring, Sweety led his owner Richard Ewing to a deer carcass that was rotting away on their property in Ohio. To Ewing’s astonishment, the carcass was attached to a massive pair of non-typical antlers that stretched out over 29 points and measured 24 2/8 inches on the inside spread. When the Boone and Crockett Club eventually took the tape to the rack, it scored 263 inches. It will likely become the fifth largest deer to ever be scored in Ohio, according to The News-Herald.

After Ewing recovered the rack, he contacted local wildlife officials and was granted legal ownership of it. Then he took it to a taxidermist where he experienced his first glimpse into the mad world of trophy whitetail racks. The taxidermist only spent four hours with the antlers, treating them like black market art or a stolen car.

“He didn’t want to keep it; he said his insurance wouldn’t cover it if it were stolen,” Ewing told the Herald. In today’s trophy whitetail world, big racks mean even bigger bucks. A replica, not even the original mount, of many state record deer will go for about $5,000. A big outfitter like Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops could buy the Sweety Buck for considerably more than that.

But with the money comes potential problems. There are horror stories from around the country of people having their record deer stolen or poachers shooting bucks out of season in hopes of scoring a big pay day. The Ewings have hired a lawyer to help sell the rack and they’re keeping it locked up in an undisclosed location until the sale.

As for the deer itself, it was nothing more than a phantom during it six or seven-year life. No one knows how the big boy died and wildlife officials found no signs that it was shot, killed by predators or hit by a car.

For years, locals had talked about seeing a monster non-typical buck, but it always disappeared during hunting season. One young hunter saw a huge antlered animal sneak by him during the early morning twilight and came back from his stand inquiring if there were elk on the property. Ewing’s neighbor even recorded video of the deer and tried to pattern it, but never killed it.

Photo by: The News-Herald