By Mike Handley
The squirrels and mice in Phillips County, Kan., must have cataracts. The skinny little rodents probably roam the woodlots, head-butting trees and tumbling into stump holes while searching aimlessly for sustenance.
Justin Hogan, to the contrary, has 20/20 vision behind his baby blues.
Even at a distance of 100 yards, the deer hunter from Densmore knew that he was looking at antlers. They were practically glowing in the tall dead grass – where the buck had made its final bed in the weeks, perhaps even months leading up to Dec. 6, 2003.
Justin, who had already filled his ’03 buck tag, was dutifully pushing out a creek bottom for some friends when he spotted the sun-bleached crown.
“It stuck out like a sore thumb,” he said, as happy as if he’d squeezed the trigger. “I hunt sheds in the springtime, so I know what a set of antlers looks like ... The spinal column was nearby, but all the other bones were long gone.”
Well, at least the coyotes there aren’t blind.
Justin was merely curious, at first. He thought the rack was that of an exceptional 8-pointer until he reached the weathered skull. When he picked it up, he almost lost his breath.
“When I saw it was a 6x6, I thought HOLY MOLY!” he said.
The day’s fourth man-drive came to an abrupt halt following Justin’s discovery. He and his brother Travis rushed home to lay a measuring tape to the rack that both were certain would top 200 inches.
And it did, when the inside spread was included.
The brothers’ calculations were later confirmed by Dale Larson, whose own Sunflower State buck, “Dagger,” is the former No. 1 Irregular in the BTR’s compound bow category. Justin was stunned to learn that his find was a new world record Typical in the BTR’s pickup category.
That this extraordinary buck was a world record at the time is just one reason it was awarded the 2004 Golden Laurel Citation. The Kansas pickup also is a strong argument for Buckmasters’ Full-Credit Scoring System.
Since inside spread isn’t included in a buck’s “official” BTR score, rarely does a typical-antlered whitetail fare as well under the Buckmasters system as it does under the Boone and Crockett Club’s. This buck is the exception.
Justin has not had the rack measured by B&C, but determining what it would score is simply a matter of calculating the deductions.
The Kansas buck tallies an official 197 with us, now sharing the No. 17 spot with Milo Hanson’s Saskatchewan whitetail among the world’s all-time greatest Typicals. (Milo’s buck, considered the world record Typical by B&C, might have the same amount of antler as the deer found by Justin, but it has 10 less inches of deductions and is 10 1/8 inches wider (27 2/8 vs. 17 1/8).
This article was published in the August 2004 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.