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Why the Sheboygan Falls buck will NOT topple the B&C record

Milo Hanson Buck
STILL SAFE: The Milo Hanson Buck is the No. 1 typical, by the B&C yardstick.

By Mike Handley

-- If a buck’s typical-looking rack has been taped (unofficially) at 217 5/8 inches, and the current B&C world record typical is 213 5/8, then it’s easy to see how someone could deduce that the former is bigger than the latter.

A score of 217 is greater than 213, right?

The answer, unfortunately, is no. Comparing a preliminary gross score to a B&C net score is like comparing apples and oranges.

Mainstream news outlets in and around Sheboygan Falls, Wis., created quite a stir in the deer hunting community this month when they reported a local bowhunter had arrowed a whitetail that -- based on an official B&C measurer’s “green” tally -- could topple both Milo Hanson’s B&C record and the No. 1 P&Y (bow-taken) typical record.

Even the venerable Field & Stream added to the hype, claiming the deer “will almost certainly become the new Pope & Young world record typical whitetail and has a strong shot at toppling the Milo Hanson buck from the top spot in the Boone & Crockett record book.”

With all due respect, guys, it ain’t going to happen.

Before I explain why, allow me to congratulate Michael Gregoire of Sheboygan Falls, who stuck the massive 12-pointer while hunting his brother’s 160-acre farm. I’m fairly certain the 38-year-old would’ve shot the buck even if he’d known deductions would reduce it to barely a squeaker in the eyes of the Boone and Crockett Club.

The Gregoire Buck is a marvelous animal, but its rack isn’t symmetrical -- the standard by which B&C judges all antlers. The dreaded deductions will likely shave up to 60 inches off that gross score, if the rack is measured as a typical.

Zaft Buck
Wayne Zaft's Alberta buck is the world record typical (by bow) in the BTR. The deer is not in the B&C or P&Y record books.

I have not held the awesome rack in my hands, but I’ve seen a couple dozen photos of it. From what I can tell, it’ll be scored as a mainframe 6x4, meaning the two unmatched tines will be deducted. In addition, the left brow tine forks at the top and the right G-2 forks at the base. The two irregular points will destroy the B&C net score. And, finally, the left side is palmated. The side-to-side differences between left and right circumference measurements will also be deducted.

Like the average newspaper reporter, few deer hunters fully understand how deductions are calculated. I’ll try to explain, using purely hypothetical measurements based on photos of the Wisconsin buck’s antlers and the alleged gross score of 217 5/8 inches.

Main beams: 30 2/8 and 29 [1 2/8” diff]
G-1s: 10 and 12 4/8 [2 4/8]
G-2s: 12 and 8 4/8 [3 4/8]
G-3s: 9 4/8 and 9 3/8 [1/8]
G-4s: 0 and 11 [11]
G-5s: 0 and 4 [4]
1st Circumferences: 7 and 7
2nd circumferences: 5 4/8 and 5 4/8
3rd circumferences: 4 and 7 4/8 [3 4/8]
4th circumferences: 4 and 8 [4]
Inside spread: 19”
Two abnormal points (total): 14”
True Gross = 217 5/8

First of all, the actual B&C (typical) gross doesn’t include abnormal inches, so we can’t include those. This not only brings the starting point down to 203 5/8 inches, but the abnormal inches also are subtracted from that ... leaving a subtotal of 189 5/8. From that, you subtract the side-to-side differences of 29 7/8 inches. And the net typical score would be: 159 6/8, which doesn’t even qualify for the B&C book, let alone as a new world record.

The antlers fare much better if measured as non-typical, but deductions still would keep the deer out of the all-time B&C record book. To figure the non-typical score, go back to the 217 5/8, and then subtract only the side-to-side differences of 29 7/8 inches. This leaves 187 6/8 (the book’s minimum for non-typicals is 195).

If these same hypothetical measurements are listed on a Buckmasters scoresheet, the buck’s official score would end up 198 5/8 -- the sum of every scoreable inch of antler, with no deductions. The percentage of irregularity (those 14 inches divided into the official score) would define the rack as “semi-irregular,” too, which is exactly where it belongs: somewhere between typical and non-typical.

Listed in its proper category among bow kills, the Gregoire Buck’s hypothetical BTR score would make it runner-up to the semi-irregular world record in our compound bow category. It would also be a new Wisconsin state record.

Sound Preposterous?

As unfathomable as it might seem that a fairly clean set of antlers with a true gross of 217 5/8 inches could be reduced to a 159 6/8-inch specimen by the B&C yardstick, it could very well happen. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

The very same thing happened to an even less complicated rack back in 2003 when a panel of 21 Pope and Young Club measurers evaluated bowhunter Wayne Zaft’s Alberta whitetail from 2001. The typical rack grossed more than 222 inches.

After declaring one of a pair of common-base points as non-typical, the net score wound up at 172 5/8 -- easily enough to qualify for P&Y’s book, but just barely enough to make the B&C grade. Wayne subsequently told both organizations to remove his deer from their record books.

Buckmasters, however, saw things differently. Agreeing with the original B&C/P&Y measurers that both common-base points on the deer’s right beam were typical, the BTR score came in at 206 7/8 inches. And the Zaft Buck still stands as the world record among typicals in our compound bow category.

(I should point out, too, that even if we’d similarly declared the point of contention as irregular, it would not have affected the final BTR score of 206 7/8. The only difference would’ve been in antler classification: semi-irregular vs. typical.)

Epilogue

We realize that tossing around numbers is a game for anal-retentive antler junkies. Michael Gregoire didn’t see a set of numbers come waltzing into bow range; he saw a tremendous whitetail that stole his breath. His arrow flew true, and he wound up with a wallhanger, some venison and a memory he can take to the grave.

But we also believe in giving an animal its due, and no deer should be penalized for the antler it grows. “Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records” exists for men like Michael and Wayne, for states like Wisconsin and for provinces like Alberta.

Under our system, 217 is bigger than 213.

-- Mike Handley is the executive director of Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records and editor of Rack magazine.

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