The Million-Dollar Deer

Goliath was identified by a DNA test, but questions linger about his whereabouts for the past four years.

Field & Stream Online Editors

The FBI was looking for him. So were the Pennsylvania State Police. But in the end, four deer farmers shopping for bucks on the Internet came upon images of a whitetail with massive antlers that turned out to be "Goliath," a 350 B&C-class; farm-raised whitetail missing since 1999. He was located in late July on a game farm in Jefferson County, just 50 miles from where he had disappeared.

With a rack of over 50 countable points, Goliath represents the kind of buck coveted by people who pay thousands of dollars for fenced-in trophy shoots. Results of a DNA test confirm that the animal is the one that belonged to Rod and Dianne Miller of Knox, Pennsylvania. The Millers got a court order to take possession of their deer from Jeff Spence, whose attorney contends that Spence had obtained the animal legally. On their way to retrieve the deer, the Millers say they "were torn between feelings of joy and doubt, wondering, what if this isn't our Goliath?"

Given how highly the deer-farm market would value such a giant buck's progeny and semen--issue that could earn the Millers upward of $500,000 annually--Goliath's appraisal easily approaches $1 million.

Little comment has been heard from the FBI and state police since Goliath was found, particularly on how such a recognizable buck could have been living unnoticed just a county over from his original home.