For those who think antler envy is a recent phenomenon, the Broder family may beg to differ. They’ve been dealing with it — over a single, magnificent mule deer — for decades. According to this recent story in the Calgary, Alberta Herald, the Broder’s fight centered on the reigning world record nontypical muley, a buck shot by Ed Broder way back in 1926. The chocolate-horned buck carried a whopping 355″ of antler, and has reigned–without serious challenge–atop the B&C books for 85 years.
The problems began when Ed Broder died in 1968, leaving no will. Broder’s oldest Don had the rack in his possession, but as the years passed siblings contested his right to the world record deer. Legal wrangling and intense sibling rivalries ensued, culminating in Don finally losing a court battle in 1997. He was jailed for ten days for failure to turn over the antlers. Trouble was, relinquishing the rack was something impossible for Broder to do, as he’d sold the head to a Montana collector for the tidy sum of $325,000.
The saga reached another — and perhaps final — chapter when Don Broder died this week. Hopefully this embattled family can start to heal after years of feuding over one of North America’s greatest trophy bucks. Whenever I read a tale like this, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with antler collector Larry Huffman a few years back. Huffman (now deceased) was once one of the country’s top collectors of trophy whitetail heads.
Though Huffman made a bunch of money buying and selling deer heads, (he sold his collections to Bass Pro Shops), he was also a deer hunter who recognized that the greatest value of a buck was to the person who shot it. “When someone approaches me about selling a rack, my first advice is, ‘Don’t'” Huffman says. “But if you do, know exactly why you’re doing it and what you’re parting with.” Too bad Ed Broder didn’t have the benefit of Huffman’s advice back in 1926.