September 22, 2012
Live Blog: Countdown to the King Buck Decision
By Dave Hurteau
Field & Stream's Deputy Editor and whitetail blogger Dave Hurteau is waiting to hear the final decision on whether or not the King Buck will be the new world record typical whitetail.
4:37 Eastern; 2:37 Mountain
The wait is over. The Johnny King buck is not the new world-record tyical whitetail. From the B&C press release, which you can read in full on their site:
MISSOULA, Mont. (Sept. 22, 2012)--A whitetail deer taken by a hunter in Wisconsin has fallen short of the score needed to become a new World's Record, according to the Boone and Crockett Club.
Club officials today confirmed the "Johnny King buck" scores 180 typical points, or 217-5/8 non-typcial points, both of which include shrinkage allowance....
Boone and Crockett Club called a special judges panel to make the final determination. The panel consisted of two, 2-man teams of senior official measurers who had not seen nor scored the rack previously.
The teams independently scored the buck using the Boone and Crockett scoring manual plus updated directives and processes outlined in other Club literature. Each team completed a score chart. The teams then resolved any differences and finalized a score.
The panel determined the third tine on the right antler arises from the inside edge of the top of the main beam, and also arises partially from the base of an adjoining point, thus establishing it as an abnormal point. With this confirmation, two of the rack’s tines must be classified as abnormal points resulting in an entry score well below the current World’s Record.
"There's a lot of process and due diligence, and through it all, it's important to remember the chief reason why we keep records in the first place. It's not to aggrandize hunters, rank individual animals or monetize trophies, but to document conservation success," said Eldon Buckner, chairman of Boone and Crockett Club’s Records of North American Big Game Committee. "I'm confident that our panel has upheld the historic integrity of our records. It's not a World's Record, but the King buck is certainly a world-class specimen and another reason to celebrate the conservation work of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources."
4:14 Eastern; 2:14 Mountain
Officially bored out of our skulls waiting for this announcement, Bestul and I just made a bet. Because neither of us has a horse in the race, we flipped a coin to see who gets what. The result: If the King buck is not a world record, I have to use Nose Jammer for the whole week I'm hunting with Scott this November. If it is a world record, he has to wear ScentLok. I wanted him to shave his mustache or grow a goatee, but he wouldn't go for it. Still waiting....
3:48 Eastern; 1:48 Mountain
I just got off the phone with Bestul. Here's what we've determined: While you see lots of streets named Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, it seems like you hardly ever see Adams Street. What's up with that? Still waiting.....
3:15 Eastern; 1:15 Mountain
Still waiting--feeling a little bit like Heraldo. Anyway I was just talking to a friend who asked if I was in the King buck's camp or B&C's camp. And this is how everyone seems to look at this thing--over a line in the sand. Does it not occur to folks that you can be in both camps, you can want the King buck--a great animal--to get the score and recognition is should have (either way) and still believe that B&C, while potentially wrong in its initial assessment and perhaps making some misteps in the course of this ordeal, can remain the benevolent conservation orginazation it has always been. That's what I'm rooting for.
2:47 Easten; 12:47 Mountain
Right about know, the members of the scoring panel are probably all looking at each other nervously saying, "Okay, do we all agree? Is this what we are going with?" The announcement of whether or not we have a new world record typical should be only minutes away.
1:40 Eastern; 11:40 Mountain
We should be only an hour or two away from a final determination. As a corollary to my last entry, I'll point out that some people will cry foul on the other side, too. You can see from the percentages in the last blog post that some feel that calling a full-on world-record panel was premature. I admit I was leaning that way a bit myself. But I've since learned that there is no set protocol when the Records Committee decides to review a rack. Whether or not to assemble a panel is within their discretion. And in this case, it seems reasonable to assemble a group of scorers who have not weighed in on the controversy or handled the rack--which is just what I was told would happen--to avoid any appearance of bais.
So, I'm okay with the panel, and if the buck is the new record, I won't be among those trying to discredit it for "getting in through the side door."
12:18 Eastern; 9:18 Mountain
The world-record panel, as I understand it, has begun or will soon begin scoring the King buck. Like I say below, what bugs me about this controversy is how ugly it has been. Jay Fish, the owner of the rack, for example has been accused of being a money-grubbing sleaze who cares not about the buck but only how a higher score can benefit him. But we don't truly know that this is the case. Meanwhile, members of the B&C have been flatly accused of lying--not just being wrong--but lying, and as far as I can tell, there is no hard evidence of that. Just a lot of he said-he said.
But now that the buck is being panel scored, it's time to put the petty squabbles aside and wait for the panel to make their determination one way or another. And be satisfied.
If it is not a new record, I and other reasonable people will say, "Oh well, it's a great buck anyway." If it is, I'll say, "Wow! Good for the King buck."
Unreasonable people, on the other hand, are already saying "If this isn't the world record, it's B.S." In other words, if they get their way, the panel is right; if they don't, the panel is corrupt. That's called stacking the deck, folks. How do we come to a reasonable conclusion with that kind of thinking?
9:41 Eastern: 7:41 Mountain
The world-record panel that will begin re-scoring the King Buck is likely assembling at B&C headquarters in Missoula right about know, grabbing some coffee, getting ready for the big show.
I’m already on my second cup and while we wait, I want to restate what I said in my last post: "Perhaps while neither malicious or conspiratorial, Reneau was simply mistaken. One can be wrong without being a saboteur. Maybe the King buck does deserve another look."
So, I think it’s well within the realm of possibility that the panel could overturn Jack Reneau’s original decision to call the buck’s right G3 abnormal. If you've seen Craig Cousin's video, he seems to make a pretty good case that the tine is typical. And if you read B&C's argument, without bias, you’ll see that they have make the opposite case pretty well, too. If the experts can’t agree on how to score it, who am I--or probably you--to say which determination is correct. Even after they make a decision today, there will be qualified, honest people who will disagree.
My problem with this whole controversy is that it has been far uglier than I suspect it needed to be.