Could those antlers hidden away in your garage be Record Book quality?
By Tim H. Martin
I think we'd be amazed if we knew just how many record book bucks are gathering dust in attics and garages across the country.
When I was Rack Magazine's art director, I was astonished at the dozens of state records, and even world records, that surfaced after decades of being hidden away in closets, hardware stores and gas stations.
They were often discovered after a happenstance conversation with a BTR scorer, something to this effect:
Antler Owner: "My Uncle Fred shot a big 'un back in 1972. He passed away in '94, and just never got around to getting it scored. I bet it'll go over 200. Do you want to have a look at it?"
That's when the BTR scorer's eyes light up and arrangements are made to pull a ratty, bug-eyed mount out of the attic and put a tape to the rack.
This scenario isn't much different than the chance discovery of an Alabama monster I came across in 2012.
David Goodling is a good friend and neighbor. He needed a lift from a mechanic shop one day, and on the ride home the subject of deer hunting came up.
"Way back in 1994, I found a dead buck on the side of the road," he said. "I should get Buckmasters to score it sometime. That thing is THIS wide and brow tines THIS long."
David stretched his hands out across the dashboard, then held his fingers 12 inches apart. I was a bit skeptical, but knew he wasn't one to exaggerate, so I offered to have a look at the rack when we got to his house.
My jaw dropped when he returned from the basement with one of the most gorgeous sets of antlers I'd ever seen from an Alabama buck. I had no doubt it would make the BTR book in the Pickup category. The only question I had was, how high would it place in the state's records?
BTR Chairman Mike Handley taped David's buck the next day, but not until after every editor, cameraman, artist and even Jackie Bushman himself came by to gawk.
Its official BTR score is 147 1/8, with a composite score (spread added) of 169 5/8, making it Alabama's No. 2 Perfect in the Pickup category, something David never expected.
As a brow tine freak, I drooled over the freakishly matching pair. The sweeping points bowed outward at the bases, then swept sharply inward in a harp-like formation. An artist couldn't have sculpted them to be as symmetrical or more beautiful than what God did with this specimen. They are perfect mirror images!
David received a frame-worthy BTR certificate, and his name will forever be found in the BTR Record Book. But more importantly, now light has been shed on one of the most beautiful bucks ever to roam the forests of Alabama, available for all hunters to see and appreciate - especially those brow tines.
If you know of a giant buck that has been gathering dust, yet is worthy of sharing with other antler-lovers, please contact one of the following BTR scorers in your area.
BTR Executive Director
Home Phone (334) 261-3697
Work Phone (800) 240-3337, Ext. 232
Alabama, Georgia, Florida
Director Steve Lucas
Phone (205) 915-3935
North and South Carolina, Virginia
Director Wayne Cox
Phone (828) 754-9727
Director Cecil Reddick
Home Phone (318) 728-5977
Work Phone (318) 450-1518
Director Ken Witt
Home Phone (817) 478-5990
Director Rusty Johnson
Home Phone (479) 903-0204
Work Phone (479) 903-6799
Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana
Director Ed Waite
Home Phone (937)233-0613
Work Phone (937)657-4219
Also Region 6
Bill Leon, Master Scorer
Home Phone (931) 685-1776
Work Phone (850) 865-5289
Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota
Director Jackie McConnell
Home Phone (417) 425-8347
Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota
Director Terry Rethman
Home Phone (785) 564-2297
Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware
Director J.R. Campbell
Home Phone (302) 349-4530
Work Phone (302) 542-8711
New York, New Jersey
Director Lewis Miceli III
Home Phone (914)636-4962