June 30, 2011
Would You Repair a Broken Rack?
By Scott Bestul
Over the last couple of seasons, a couple of my friends hired taxidermists to do more than mount their deer; they’ve had them repair broken tines. It’s not unusual, especially in areas with good populations of mature bucks, for a whitetail to snap a tine, kicker point, or even a main beam while fighting. Bucks can also break off points while rubbing or via a run-in with any number of hard objects.
So the hunter asks his taxidermist to return the buck to its former in-tact-rack glory. Some of these repairs are purely guesstimates; if a buck’s right G2 was 9” long, his snapped-off left would probably have matched it. Others are near-exact replicas, thanks to trail cam photos from before the rack was damaged.
I shot this busted-up buck in Wisconsin several seasons ago. He came trotting into my decoy, and in the heat of the moment, I didn’t recognize a big chunk of his left side was missing. I shot the deer and was ecstatic to tag it, though his right side was a pretty 140-class five point and his left was nothing more than a fork. The buck basically sheared his main beam off at the G2. When the landowner looked at the buck he laughed and said, “I know that deer! I have a trail cam picture of him from 6 says ago...and he had both sides!”
Well it has never occurred to me to have the rack repaired. Though a taxidermist would have a photo to work from, the re-created buck would not—in my mind—be the same one I shot. To be clear, I don’t hold a thing against folks who have their racks repaired; it’s just not my cup of tea. How about you?