Hunter: Keith LeVick MegaBuck: 22 Points, 221 Non-Typical Whitetail Place: Niagara County, New York Year: 2007 Equipment: Muzzleloader Rifle Rank: No. 1 State Muzzleloader Non-Typical, No. 3 All-Time State Non-Typical "I first saw this buck on film from a trail camera I'd put up between a field and a bedding area in June 2007. He showed up again in July, and by fall my wife, Jackie, and I pretty well knew where we wanted to bowhunt him. Except for the one time I saw him a long way off chasing a doe, however, that was it. I figured somebody might get him in gun season, and I eased up on him. On November 20, I was meat-hunting with my muzzleloader, hoping to get a doe, when the buck just showed up behind a doe that was headed for the wheat field. I let him get in range and shot. He had 22 scoreable points. I've taken a dozen or so Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett bucks that scored between 120 and 160, but nothing comes close to him. "My wife and I moved to central Wisconsin in 2008, mainly because the economy and the hunting are better there. Jackie and I especially like to bowhunt, and last year we saw a bunch of 140- and 150-class bucks on this place where we have permission to hunt. In New York, you might go all year and not see more than seven or eight average bucks. People in Wisconsin are nuts about deer hunting. It's my kind of state." *Notable Fact: LeVick's buck ranks third among New York non-typicals. The record, set in 1939, is 2442⁄8.
Hunter: Bill Crutchfield Jr. MegaBuck: 28 Points, 2681⁄8 Non-Typical Whitetail Place: Charles County, Maryland Year: 2006 Equipment: 12-Gauge Shotgun Rank: No. 1 State Non-Typical, No. 22 B&C All-Time Non-Typical “I had seen the buck the season before, and had watched him bedded down in a marsh out of range. The next year, after I moved my stand closer to the marsh, I saw him again. He stayed bedded for about an hour and a quarter. He stood up when another good buck that would have been a shooter on any other day came through. He was about 100 yards away. I shot and he ran, but he didn’t go far. “When things settled down some and I chilled out, somebody asked me what I was going to do next. I thought about it, and decided I was going to use the buck somehow to do something for kids–just like that. I started looking at websites and talking to people, and came across Dave Norval of Savannah, Tennessee, who partnered with Dr. John Waples to start a group called Kids Hunting for a Cure ( kidshuntingforacure.org). The organization’s main purpose is to raise money to fund research in the development of cures or treatments for children with grave illnesses. One thing led to another and I found myself on the board of directors. Now I’m the executive director. “Later on, I met Tony Semple, who played ball with the Detroit Lions. He started a charity called The Tony Semple Foundation for Hope ( tonysemplefoundation.org). His group is dedicated to making sure that kids with life-threatening illnesses have the chance to experience the outdoors, whether it’s hunting, fishing or whatever. So we do projects together. It’s a great thing when you take a hundred kids hunting and let them experience the things that you might take for granted.” *Notable Fact: Crutchfield’s buck beat the previous state record, set in 1987, by almost 40 inches.
Hunter: Tim Reed MegaBuck: 14 Points, 198 3⁄8 Typical Whitetail Place: Muskingum County, Ohio Year: 2004 Equipment: Compound Bow Rank: No. 1 State Archery Typical, No. 2 State All-Time Typical, No. 3 All-Time P&Y Typical “I paid my dues for that buck. I tagged it on public hunting land owned by the American Electric and Power Company. I’ve hunted there for more than 15 years and, as you often hear hunters say, I didn’t know that a buck that size lived anywhere around there. “After I took the buck, a friend of mine told me that someone he knew said he had missed this deer during muzzleloading season. Could be. I had seen him one other time, the day before I shot him, but at a distance. I believe the deer lived in the area for a few years and had always managed to stay out of view somehow. It makes you appreciate the ability of a mature whitetail buck to take care of himself. Rumor has it that someone found the sheds from him the year before, not far from where I shot him. “Harvesting the deer really hasn’t changed me. To be honest, the deer itself has made more personal appearances than I have: the Ohio Deer and Turkey Expo, the Pope and Young Club banquet in Pennsylvania and the Boone and Crockett Club banquet in Texas. I still own the mount, though I was approached by a couple of people about selling it. I feel honored by their interest, but I like him hanging on my wall. “Hunting is pretty much about being in the right place at the right time, along with preparation and execution. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it also takes a whole lot of luck.” *Notable Fact: Tim Reed shot the Ohio state-record archery typical buck (1983⁄8) on the morning of November 10, 2004; Bradley Jerman shot the Ohio state-record typical buck (2011⁄8) the same morning.
Hunter: Myra Smith MegaBuck: 10 Points, 210 2⁄8 Typical Mule Deer Place: Sonora, Mexico Year: 2006 Equipment: Bolt-Action Rifle Rank: No. 25 B&C All-Time Typical, No. 1 All-Time Sonora Typical “My husband, Greg, had been after me to go hunting for whitetails with him in Canada. I told him it was too cold. In early 2005, we were watching a TV program about northern Mexico and I told him that I would like to hunt there instead. The next thing I know, he had us booked on a Sonoran deer hunt. I got a nice mule deer buck the first year, and we decided to go back in 2006. Greg saw my buck after he had already tagged out on mule deer and was hunting for a Coues. He came back to camp and told me that I needed to hunt the big mule deer buck he had spotted that afternoon. The next morning, after the guide and I walked and spotted for two or three hours, I saw my buck. He was 275 yards away, lying in the shade of a tree and looking right at us. “My rifle was a .300 WSM Browning A-Bolt with a Schmidt & Bender 3-10×50 scope. I shot the buck low in the neck; he jumped up but went down again almost instantly. “I grew up near Wilmington, North Carolina, in a family where all the men hunted and I turned out to be the tomboy of three sisters; I wanted to hunt. My daddy and my brothers had dog boxes and gun racks and hunted everything. I did, too. Greg loves to hunt, and my two boys, 6 and 8, go with us sometimes and sit in a ground blind with me. Hunting is such a good family sport–it’s brought so much pride and pleasure to my life.” *Notable Fact: Myra Smith’s buck is the largest typical mule deer ever taken by a woman.
Hunter: Brian Andrews MegaBuck: 26 Points, 253 1⁄8 Non-Typical Whitetail Place: Buchanan County, Iowa Year: 2003 Equipment: Compound Bow Rank: No. 1 State Archery Non-Typical, No. 8 All-Time P&Y Non-Typical “My dad (Randy) had seen the buck a few times over three years. We set a stand about 18 feet up in an oak in a brushy area with a few trees that connects to cropfields, CRP land and a bigger patch of woods. Bucks like to walk through it when they go looking for does during the rut. Mine was doing that, and he was about 7 yards from the base of my tree when I shot him. “I was 16 years old at the time, and I had never been bowhunting before that year. I had never seen the buck before that afternoon (November 13). It was the first deer I ever shot with a bow, though I had shot several with a shotgun. After it was officially measured and mounted, we got it back in early March. “On June 18, 2004, somebody broke into our house and stole the mount. It was the only thing taken. I can’t really say much about it, whether it was jealousy or somebody wanting to sell it. It’s very confusing and still baffling to me why somebody would want a trophy that doesn’t belong to them. All I have now is a replica mount [above]. “I’m 22 and will be a senior at the University of Northern Iowa. Killing that buck was the biggest accomplishment of my life up to now. The fact that my dad had so much to do with it, including teaching me how to hunt in the first place, made it even more special to me. Even if I never get the rack back, I’ll always have that memory.” *Notable Fact: Brian Andrews did not own a bow when he shot the Iowa state-record non-typical and was using a borrowed bow. Andrews now has his own bow and took a 150-inch 8-point with it two seasons ago.
Hunter: Bradley Jerman MegaBuck: 10 Points, 201 1⁄8 Typical Whitetail Place: Warren County, Ohio Year: 2004 Equipment: Crossbow Rank: No. 1 World Crossbow Typical, No. 1 State Typical, No. 11 All-Time B&C Typical “I was hunting a small piece of property in one of Ohio’s Urban Hunting Zones. The buck was chasing does all around my stand and finally came close enough for a good shot. He was about 18 yards away and he only went about 25 yards before he dropped. “At the time, I was leading a monthly men’s ministry called Breaking Away. It’s an accountability program through my church where we deal with addictive behavior and offer support and advice. Through the buck, God has broadened my horizons and allowed me to speak to men all over the country. I am honored to share stories about the buck as well as my testimony. Although I still attend many secular events and give seminars on various hunting topics, my first love is church-sponsored outdoorsmen banquets and wild-game dinners. “I was born in Beckley, West Virginia, and raised by a single mother. Mom and I moved to Ohio when I was very young, but we often visited her folks. My grandfather taught me how to hunt and fish, and a lot of lessons about living a good life. Unfortunately, I forgot some of those lessons for a time. “When my grandfather died, I tried to fill the void with self-destructive behavior. In 1994, my brother-in-law invited me to go deer hunting with him. On that trip I took my first buck. I threw myself fully into hunting because it gave me something positive to focus on. Being outdoors and experiencing God’s creation firsthand makes it hard to believe that our existence is just a matter of pure chance.” *Notable Fact: The left brow tine (G-1) of Jerman’s buck measures 11 7⁄8 inches long; the right brow tine is 107⁄8 inches long.
Hunter: Keith LeVick MegaBuck: 22 Points, 221 Non-Typical Whitetail Place: Niagara County, New York Year: 2007 Equipment: Muzzleloader Rifle Rank: No. 1 State Muzzleloader Non-Typical, No. 3 All-Time State Non-Typical “I first saw this buck on film from a trail camera I’d put up between a field and a bedding area in June 2007. He showed up again in July, and by fall my wife, Jackie, and I pretty well knew where we wanted to bowhunt him. Except for the one time I saw him a long way off chasing a doe, however, that was it. I figured somebody might get him in gun season, and I eased up on him. On November 20, I was meat-hunting with my muzzleloader, hoping to get a doe, when the buck just showed up behind a doe that was headed for the wheat field. I let him get in range and shot. He had 22 scoreable points. I’ve taken a dozen or so Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett bucks that scored between 120 and 160, but nothing comes close to him. “My wife and I moved to central Wisconsin in 2008, mainly because the economy and the hunting are better there. Jackie and I especially like to bowhunt, and last year we saw a bunch of 140- and 150-class bucks on this place where we have permission to hunt. In New York, you might go all year and not see more than seven or eight average bucks. People in Wisconsin are nuts about deer hunting. It’s my kind of state.” *Notable Fact: LeVick’s buck ranks third among New York non-typicals. The record, set in 1939, is 2442⁄8.
Hunter: Randy Simonitch MegaBuck: 33 Points, 269 7⁄8 Non-Typical Whitetail Place: Pike County, Missouri Year: 2000 Equipment: Compound Bow Rank: No. 1 State Archery Non-Typical, No. 3 All-Time P&Y Non-Typical “I have neighbor friends who are like family to me; these are the people I bought my land from. One day the neighbor lady was out mowing her yard and looked out into the bean field behind their house and saw antlers sticking up above the beans. She called me and that’s how I found out about the buck. The next year I saw him two or three times during the summer. “Sure enough, on the morning of October 3, my neighbor lady saw the buck again and phoned me. One of her two sons hunts, but he had to get in crops so she thought I should have a crack at him. I went over there at about 9:30, saw antler points sticking up and figured out where downwind was. Then I got my bow and just slowly sneaked to within about 25 yards of the buck. Of course, I stayed bent over and low the whole time, and stopped once in a while when I thought I was going too fast and getting too noisy. When I got as close as I thought I could without spooking him, I nocked an arrow and grunted. He stood up, quartering away from me, and I shot him while he was looking around. The beans were a second crop and were pretty high. At first I thought I had made a bad shot because there wasn’t much blood. I trailed him for two or three hours but finally found him piled up. “I don’t know how many whitetail bucks are killed by bowhunters who stalk them, but that’s exactly how it happened for me. Sometimes hunting doesn’t go by the book; sometimes you have to think outside the box and go with what you’re given to work with.” *Notable Fact: Simonitch, who shoots a left-hand bow, used 110-grain broadheads he found in a local Wal-Mart’s bargain bin to kill the buck.
Hunter: Robert Smith MegaBuck: 10 Points, 204 2⁄8 Typical Whitetail Place: Pendleton County, Kentucky Year: 2000 Equipment: Bolt-Action Rifle Rank: No. 1 State Typical, No. 5 All-Time Typical “I had seen this buck a couple of times, and knew he would spend part of the time in a 2-acre thicket of brushy cover and honeysuckles, where humans never set foot, but I hunted on the edges of it. “That evening, I had just about decided to shoot the doe that had walked up a gully toward my tree stand. She stopped and peed, and I had never seen that before and I was thinking about how funny it was when the buck came strolling up out of the cover. He was all of about 10 yards from the base of my tree when I shot him. “He had a big body to go with his rack, and I knew I couldn’t get him out of there by myself. I couldn’t drive my truck in there either, so I borrowed an ATV from a neighbor, and the young fellow there helped me. “Some of the folks around there couldn’t stand it that a stranger from Fort Thomas shot the deer in their neighborhood. One landowner accused me of shooting the buck on his property and brought charges against me for trespassing. “My lawyer got several postponements because I wanted the landowner to pay some legal bills, just like I had to. Then we finally went to court. Well, the young fellow who helped me get the buck out was the county sheriff’s son, and after he testified, it was all over. “I sold the rack and used most of the money to take a bunch of the kids from my church to Jamaica to do some ministry work. We fixed up an orphanage down there and fixed some other things that needed fixing. I try to keep my priorities straight.” *Notable Fact: The taxidermist who mounted Smith’s buck estimated its age to be only about 3 1⁄2 years, based on an examination of its teeth.
Hunter: Michael Beatty MegaBuck: 39 points, 294 Non-Typical Whitetail Place: Greene County, Ohio Year: 2000 Equipment: Compound Bow Rank: No. 1 All-Time P&Y Non-Typical, No. 1 State Archery Non-Typical “Talk about being in the right place at the right time: I got the chance to shoot my buck because I was the serviceman who repaired the phone line of the farmer who owned the land where it lived. I asked the farmer if he ever let anybody hunt his land; he said no, but he would let me if I wanted to. “I got the buck on November 8, and every year on that day I go back to the same stand and climb up in it and hunt. I saw a 220-class non-typical there last year, but didn’t get a shot at it. As far as I know, to this day only my 18-year-old son, Andrew, and I are allowed to hunt the farm. One thing that’s worrisome to me is that so much land is getting leased for hunting. There’s a danger of hunting becoming a rich man’s sport, and hunters need to think hard about that. “In 2000, Andrew got his first buck. To be honest, there was more joy in my household because of that milestone than because of my buck. In a way, it’s part of the past, and now I’ve got other things to look forward to. This year my 14-year-old daughter, Brittany, who’s killed about a half-dozen deer using a crossbow, has gotten strong enough to switch over to a 40-pound compound. So I’m going to be spending some good times in the woods with my family. “I don’t go hunting to kill world-record bucks. I go because I love the woods. It’s still just like it was when I was a kid. Every day is a new adventure during hunting season.” *Notable Fact: As the all-time best non-typical taken by a bowhunter, the Beatty Buck is a Pope and Young world record, but the Ohio buck is not a state record. The famous Hole-in-the-Horn buck, found in Portage County, Ohio, in 1940, scored 328 2⁄8 inches.
It Wasn’t Planned, But He’ll Take It Jerry Bryant’s non-typical Illinois buck (pictured here), which ranks fourth all-time in the Boone and Crockett standings and is the biggest whitetail ever taken with a crossbow, is the only trophy that grew after it was killed, figuratively speaking. Though the buck’s original score was set at 291 1⁄8 inches in 2002, when it was measured again for the Boone and Crockett Club’s 25th Big Game Awards period, it was found to be 13 2⁄8 inches larger. Thus, between the time Bryant shot the buck and Tony Lovstuen downed an even bigger deer, Bryant’s was the largest non-typical whitetail ever shot by a hunter–except nobody knew it until the B&C panel revised the score. Before the measurements for the two bucks were officially recorded, the 295 6⁄8-inch buck taken by Tony Fulton in Mississippi in 1995 was the world record holder for a hunter. Bryant was using a crossbow during the mid-November hunt in 2001 because of a physical impairment, and was actually hunting for a gobbler when the buck walked within range. The Peoria man didn’t fully appreciate his accomplishment until the farmer on whose land he hunted in Fulton County assured him that his was an extraordinary trophy. “After Jerry and Mr. [Fred] Vorhees got up to the deer, Mr. Vorhees was flabbergasted. He just couldn’t believe it,” recalls Ron Meinders, the Bartonville taxidermist who mounted the 36-point trophy. Meinders was asked by Bryant to keep the news about the buck to himself for a while, apparently because Bryant was in the middle of an acrimonious divorce. Later, Bryant sold the trophy to Bass Pro Shops. “It was strange, keeping something like that quiet,” says Meinders. “Finally I told the local game warden, Jeff Baile, about it when he came into my shop to check on things, and when he saw Jerry’s buck, he immediately started looking into it. Jerry had his reasons for wanting to keep it quiet for a while, but it was all on the up and up. You don’t see a buck like that all the time. I would have shouted it out to the world.”
Deer on Display Museums across the country feed the fascination that deer hunters have for trophy antlers. Here are a few of the best we’ve found. Bass Pro Shops Wonders of Wildlife, Springfield, MO; basspro.com *Background: Jerry Martin, who also co-hosts Bass Pro Shops’ Outdoor World television series, has spent the last couple of decades assembling what is arguably the greatest collection of trophy whitetail mounts in the country. Among them are the Jordan Buck (206 1⁄8); the No. 1 all-time archery typical (204 4⁄8); the Hole-in-the-Horn Buck (328 2⁄8 non-typical); and the Lovstuen buck. *What Makes This Museum Great: Three of the four non-typical whitetail bucks that scored more than 300 inches are on view. Cabela’s Mule Deer Country Museum, Kansas City, KS; cabelas.com *Background: Cabela’s Kansas City Trophy Museum opened its doors in August 2002. Although all sorts of trophy mounts are on display in the 11,600-square-foot museum, it’s the store’s eye-popping mule deer racks that have earned it special distinction. The group includes the No. 1 all-time typical (226 4⁄8) and No. 4 all-time non-typical (325 6⁄8). *What Makes This Museum Great: Eleven of the 19 mule deer bucks that scored 300 inches or more are on display. The Buckhorn Museum Hall of Horns, San Antonio, TX; buckhornmuseum.com *Background: The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum is the oldest museum of its kind in the country. Albert Friedrich opened the Buckhorn in 1881. In 1899, Friedrich put the world-record non-typical whitetail rack on display, the so-called 78-point buck. Plan on spending most of a day to view it and the thousands of other trophies and curios. *What Makes this Museum Great: The Buckhorn is home to some of the most famous and unusual non-typical whitetails in the country, including the Barnacle Buck and the Unicorn Buck. Brush Trophy Room Museum, Galesville, WI; brushranchoutfitters.com *Background: Though off the beaten path, this museum is worth a detour. The 14,000-square-foot museum, assembled by Jim and Cindy Brush, displays more than 300 full-body mounts of animals and birds taken with recurve or compound bows, making it the largest bow-harvested trophy collection in the world. *What Makes this Museum Great: Dioramas of deer, several of which are Pope and Young class, and various big-game animals from around the world are displayed in re-created natural settings.
The record books have been rewritten in the past decade. Here are the stories from the new record holders of how these deer have changed their lives.