_by Scott Bestu_l
The video clip below shows Free Agent, a buck owned by Battle Ridge Whitetails, a captive facility in Pennsylvania. The video claims that Free Agent is the largest whitetail buck ever, a fact that I haven’t documented. All I know is, he’s unbelievably big.
How does a buck grow antlers like this? Interesting question, and one I’ve addressed in my whitetail column in the July issue of the magazine. To research that story, I visited Wilderness Whitetails, the home of a famous buck named “Sudden Impact”, then the largest whitetail I knew about and a buck that would have eclipsed the 500″ mark of antler growth. I was not hunting at Wilderness Whitetails, but quizzing owner Greg Flees about how “breeder” bucks like this reach such stupendous size, and what the possible implications of such growth are for hunters and managers of free-ranging deer.
I won’t reveal the details of that conversation, partly because I don’t have space here, and partly because I want you to read the magazine.
The question for today is this: What do you think when you see a buck with antlers like this? Granted, it’s hard to keep any perspective with a whitetail like Free Agent, a buck with more inches of antler on his head than any hunter of free-ranging deer is ever going to see. But watch the clip and give me your gut reaction; is Free Agent a freak…Or is he fantastic?