Potential World-Record King Buck Will Be Panel Scored This Weekend. But Should It Be?
By noon this Saturday, we could have a new B&C world-record typical whitetail. After more than a year of controversy,...
By noon this Saturday, we could have a new B&C world-record typical whitetail. After more than a year of controversy, conspiracy theories, and cries for “fairness,” the Boone and Crocket Club will panel score the famously embroiled King buck to determine if it officially ousts Milo Hansen’s nearly 19-year-old mark.
But should they?
Unless you just crawled out from under a rock, you know that Deer & Deer Hunting kicked off this ruckus last summer with a cover story deliciously entitled: “World-Record Cover-Up?” I won’t get into all the gory details; for the purposes of this blog all you need to know is that B&C, I can infer, feels bush-wacked, side-swiped, and dumbfounded to have been accused of fraudulently denying the King buck the world-record score it deserves.
Their accusers have demanded one thing above all else: a panel score. And now they are going to get it. But is B&C right to give it to them? First, a few important considerations:
 Under normal procedure, a B&C official measurer tapes a buck and submits an “entry” score with photographs to B&C headquarters for review by Big-Game Records Director Jack Reneau and/or Assistant Director Justin E. Spring.
 These fellas either approve the score and make it official, or they say, “Hey, that ain’t right” and contact the measurer to sort it out. So, according to B&C, Reneau’s instructing official measurer John Ramsey on how to score the King buck, even proactively as was the case, is perfectly within normal protocol.
 The King buck officially scored 180, which does not nearly meet the threshold to convene a world-record scoring panel.
 But–and this is key–the directors can be overruled by the Records Committee. And they have been. After months and months of holding their collective breath, hoping in vain that the stink of controversy would blow over, the committee turned pink and then blue and then let it all out, essentially saying, “Fine, we’ll take another look at this thing.”
That seems understandable. 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. But as you know, B&C are giving it more that. They are giving it a full-on official world-record panel that will make a final determination in two days. That’s what they did, but suppose they asked you what to do instead. How would you advise them? Here are three options with an argument for each.
[A] Nothing. They should not cave to media pressure. If everything was above-board and within normal protocol, if the suggestion of fraud and cover-up is insulting and beyond the pale, then why appease your accusers? Doing so seems to validate their story and it sets a dangerous precedent.
[B] Review the buck, without the panel. Sure, take another look at the King buck, but don’t go to the extraordinary step of convening a world-record scoring panel–with all its attendant hoopla–outside of normal protocol. Such a panel typically requires an approved entry score that exceeds the current world record. The King buck still does not meet that threshold. You say your director did nothing wrong. So review it NFL-style: take a close look, check it out from every angle, but unless you see clear, compelling evidence to the contrary, the ruling on the field should stand.
[C] Panel score it and get it over with. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So just go for it, despite the fact that it may not follow typical procedure. Yes, the ultimate decision may always be somewhat shrouded in controversy, but this will at least bring some measure of finality, and B&C can get back to the important work of conservation.
Make sure to visit the site this Saturday for breaking news on the potential new world-record buck.