Ohioan Christopher J. Anderson recently bagged a massive buck—one big enough to potentially go down as one of the biggest typical whitetails ever taken in the Buckeye State. But according to a recent press release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), all may not be as it seems with the “CJ Anderson Buck.” 

Anderson’s buck received widespread attention on social media back in early November. He later told multiple media outlets that he arrowed the stunning whitetail with a crossbow on November 9 while hunting his sister’s 30-acre property in Clinton County, Ohio. Then, on December 26, the ODNR issued a press release announcing that Anderson was under serious scrutiny for possibly poaching the buck.

“An investigation was launched by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources after information was provided alleging that Alexander failed to obtain the lawfully required written permission prior to hunting on private property,” the agency explained in its press release. “While the investigation continues, Ohio wildlife officers have seized the antlers, cape, and hunting equipment associated with the alleged unlawful taking of the deer.” The ODNR did not respond to requests for additional information when contacted by Field & Stream.

Prior to the investigation, scorer Mike Rex from the Buckeye Big Buck Club green scored the deer, giving it a green gross of a 235 7/8 with a net typical of 206 7/8—numbers, albeit preliminary ones, that would put it in contention for the top spot in the Buckeye State. The deer would likely have scored lower according to the Boone & Crockett Club’s scoring formula for typical bucks. 

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Regardless of the results of the ongoing poaching investigation, it appears likely that the controversial buck’s official score will eventually be tallied. If the deer is confirmed as being illegally killed, a score will need to be obtained as a stipulation of an Ohio legal code which calculates restitution fines for trophy bucks over 125 inches based on final gross score. According to the ODNR website, that score will be determined by the buck’s inside spread length, total number of points, length of main antler beam, and other antler features.