Defining “fame” when it comes to big whitetails can be difficult. Size is important, of course. So much so, in fact, that I’d be hard pressed to think of a truly famous whitetail that isn’t also huge. (Bambi doesn’t count.) But it isn’t size alone. Some big bucks become better known than others because they have a better story surrounding them or because they got more media attention. Though not always for the best reasons. Some bucks are as infamous as they are famous. These days, to some degree, you can literally count how popular a certain deer is by how often it pops up on websites or social media. On the other hand, most of the most famous bucks earned their notoriety long before the internet age.

We waded through more than a century’s worth of giant whitetails to pick our list of deer hunting’s most well-known trophies, including a couple you might have forgotten about. Of course, you’re bound to disagree with some of our picks or the order of them. But that’s fine: It will only make these famous bucks more talked-about. 

1. The Milo Hanson Buck

Courtesy of Antlers by Klaus
  • Score: 213-⅝”
  • Location: Saskatchewan
  • Year: 1993

You’d have a hard time finding a fellow whitetail nut who doesn’t know the current B&C world-record typical buck and who shot it. Most can rattle off—or at least make a close guess at—it’s net score of 213-5/8. In terms of current fame, the Milo Hanson buck takes the top spot in a walk. The Saskatchewan monster is all over the internet, of course, and the image of its huge picket-fence rack graces all sorts of merch, from T-shirts to mugs to framed artwork. You can even buy a Hanson Buck figurine. But this buck had to topple another famous whitetail to take the top spot. Wisconsin’s Jordan Buck (see below) had reigned through a series of wanna-be challengers for so long that many thought it might hold the B&C typical world record forever. Then Hanson, an unassuming farmer, hunting with his buddies as they made a series of drives in the Canadian bush, killed the 8X6 giant in 1993 and it redefined the deer hunting world’s notion of how big a typical whitetail could be. Hanson’s incredible buck had main beams over 28 inches, a 27-inch inside spread, and it grossed 220-6/8. The Saskatchewan monster has reigned as the B&C typical world record for 29 years.

2. The Missouri Monarch

Courtesy of Antlers by Klaus
  • Score: 333-⅞”
  • Location: Missouri
  • Year: 1981

You are looking at the biggest wild nontypical whitetail ever measured—and one that was also never duped by a hunter. Missouri archer Dave Beckman spotted the incredible whitetail, dead, on a highway outside St. Louis in November of 1981. Beckman contacted the local warden, and the two men retrieved the buck, which appeared to have died of a broken neck. Had Beckman possessed a valid buck tag, he could have kept the incredible deer, but he’d just punched his tag on another buck that very morning. So the state claimed ownership of a buck that sported 44 points, a 33-⅜-inch outside spread, and a net nontypical score that has stood as the world record in the B&C book (which acknowledges found bucks) ever since. Although the biggest nontypical whitetails, for some reason, seem to garner slightly less fame than the biggest typicals, the Missouri Monarch’s reign as a world record is more than a decade longer than that of the Hanson buck.

3. The Jordan Buck

Courtesy of Antlers by Klaus
  • Score: 206-⅛”
  • Location: Wisconsin
  • Year: 1914

Speaking of reigns, the Jordan buck could have been the B&C’s longest-reigning world-record typical whitetail—by far—had things gone just a little differently. Wisconsin hunter James Jordan killed the buck in 1914, but he wasn’t credited as the rightful owner of the ginormous 10-pointer for many decades. After giving the head and cape of his buck to a taxidermist, Jordan, through a series of SNAFUs that were in no way his fault, lost track of the head. Thankfully, the incredible antlers found their way into the hands of a collector who recognized just how big they were, and, in 1966, a B&C panel verified the buck’s net typical score as 206-⅛, a new world record at the time. Sadly, and only through another convoluted series of events, Jordan wasn’t ultimately recognized as the buck’s rightful owner until 1978. Had Jordan gotten the rack scored right away, it would have held the top spot for an incredible 79 years.

4. The Mel Johnson Buck

Courtesy of Antlers by Klaus
  • Score: 204-4/8”
  • Location: Illinois
  • Year: 1965

Illinois bowhunter Mel Johnson was toting a recurve and had hunkered into the edge of a soybean field when he spotted a buck he’d been chasing for the better part of the fall. The Prairie State giant was 300 yards off when Johnson first saw it, but the buck eventually worked to within 10 yards of the bowhunter. When the buck turned its head, Johnson drew and took the shot, and after a short tracking job, he laid his hands on one of the most iconic typical whitetails of all time. That was 1965. Johnson’s 204-4/8-inch “Beanfield Buck,” as it came to be known, has been the P&Y world-record typical ever since. If this were a list of most famous deer among bowhunters, specifically, this buck would be No. 1.

5. The Hole in the Horn Buck

Courtesy of Antlers by Klaus

Found by a railroad crew in Portage County, Ohio, in the fall of 1940—apparently killed by a passing train—this 45-point whitetail has an amazing 192 inches of abnormal points. The monstrous nontypical would have easily claimed world-record status, but it wasn’t scored for more than four decades. In 1986, a panel of B&C scorers awarded the amazing Hole in the Horn buck a net mark of 328-²/₈ inches, just 5 inches shy the Missouri Monarch, above, the current world record. Call me crazy, but I think part of the buck’s fame is simply the novelty of its name—the Hole in the Horn Buck—which it got because, as the story goes, the buck had lodged an antler beneath a railroad security fence, punching a hole in one of its drop many tines.

6. The Luke Brewster Buck

Luke Brewster took the current world-record, hunter-killed whitetail buck in 2018. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Score: 327-⅞”
  • Location: Illinois
  • Year: 2018

Whitetail nuts were still wrapping their minds around Stephen Tucker’s Tennessee monster (see below) when Luke Brewster arrowed an Illinois giant that truly made jaws drop. Brewster was hunting his family property in 2014 when his trail cams first picked up a buck with great potential, and the buck continued to grow so rapidly that Brewster and his hunting buddies nicknamed it “Mufasa.” In 2017, Brewster had a crack at the buck, but a branch deflected his arrow, giving the buck another year to pour into antler growth. Finally, on a November afternoon the next fall, in a stand nowhere near a trail-cam pic site of Mufasa, Brewster watched the giant nontypical walk in and work a scrape. Brewster didn’t miss this time, and the giant buck he tagged would catapault to the top of the hunter-killed B&C nontypical whitetail list. The buck reigns as the P&Y world-record nontypical, and Brewster was awarded the club’s Ishi Award (its highest honor). He is only the third hunter in P&Y history to earn the honor for a whitetail.

7. The Stephen Tucker Buck

Stephen Tucker and his Tennessee giant. Boone and Crockett
  • Score: 315-6/8”
  • Location: Tennessee
  • Year: 2016

Tennessee has rarely, if ever, been on the short list of states capable of producing a world-record whitetail. But that changed dramatically in 2016, when Stephen Tucker used his muzzleloader to kill what would, at the time, become the largest hunter-killed nontypical in the B&C record book. Tucker was aware of the monstrous buck living on his family farm and had even seen it on two hunts (including a miss when his muzzleloader mis-fired) while hunting from a ground blind he’d placed specifically to kill that deer. He didn’t miss during the fall of 2016, and the buck eclipsed the previous hunter-killed record, a 307-⅝-inch Iowa giant taken by Tony Lovstuen in 2003.  

8. The Lovstuen Buck

Also known as “The Albia Buck,” this 300-plus-incher was a local legend. Boone and Crockett Club

Speaking of the Luvstuen buck: Some giant whitetails live mysteriously, virtually unseen by anyone. But not the Lovstuen buck. Known widely as “The Albia Buck” (for the small southeast Iowa town close to where the buck roamed), the monster nontypical had appeared in photos, videos, and trail-cam pics for several years and was thought to be a walking world record. Although a number of other hunters were chasing the buck hard, including 15-year-old Tony Lovstuen’s family members, he killed the monster with a muzzleloader during the Hawkeye State’s youth season in 2003. The buck easily eclipsed the previous mark for the largest hunter-killed nontypical whitetail, with a net B&C score of 307-⅝.

9. The Dustin Huff Buck

Dustin Huff with his incredible Indiana buck. Dustin Huff
  • Score: 211-4/8”
  • Location: Indiana
  • Year: 2021

Indiana had been gaining attention from serious whitetail nuts for years, but the state jumped to the forefront when Dustin Huff tagged the second largest typical of all time last fall. Huff had no idea that he’d encounter a world-class buck that day; his goal for the season was simply to top his best whitetail, a 134-inch buck he’d killed on the same small farm. Frustrated by slow action in his usual spots, Huff toted a climbing stand to a ridge he hadn’t hunted recently and was shocked when a buck with an elk-like rack appeared and worked within crossbow range. Huff’s bolt flew true, and the young singer/songwriter would soon be known more for his amazing buck than his music. The Huff Buck sports G2’s topping 13 inches, 7-inch circumferences, main beams over 27 inches, and a 21-4/8-inch inside spread. It is the largest B&C typical ever killed in the United States and only missed toppling the world-record Hanson buck by a touch over 2 inches.

10. The Del Austin Buck

Courtesy of Antlers by Klaus
  • Score: 279-⅞”
  • Location: Nebraska
  • Year: 1962

Today, with three hunter-killed nontypical whitetails topping 300 inches in the B&C book, it’s easy to overlook a whitetail that’s at least  20 inches under that magic mark. But when Del Austin tagged a locally famous buck that roamed the banks of the Platte River, he not only shattered the existing world record, his “Old Mossyhorns” buck would remain the top bow-killed nontypical for 38 years. The buck actually gained its nickname from veteran bowhunter Al Dawson, who had pursued the giant for several years and had had multiple close encounters. But it was Austin (Dawson’s hunting buddy) who would eventually make a killing shot on the buck, which was at least 9-½ years old. Old Mossyhorns bested the top P&Y world record at the time— a 212-inch Wisconsin buck—by a whopping 67 inches and would reign as the world record until 2000. Austin was awarded the Ishi Award from the P&Y Club for his iconic buck.

11. The Johnny King Buck

Courtesy of Antlers by Klaus
  • Score: 180-⅛” B&C, 221-6/8” Northeast Big Buck Club, 198-2/8” Buckmasters
  • Location: Wisconsin
  • Year: 2006

Wisconsin seemed to have a shot at reclaiming the B&C world-record typical whitetail when Badger State deer hunter Johnny King downed a giant 6X6 in 2006. But instead of threatening the Hanson buck, the King buck joined legions of other whitetails whose net scores were scuttled on the rocks of B&C’s stringent scoring guidelines for typical bucks. The King Buck’s rack featured a G3 that was ruled an abnormal point instead of a typical tine, which crushed the rack’s B&C typical net score. So, how did a 180-class B&C typical buck become so famous? Because King and collector Jay Fish (who eventually owned the rack) cried foul, and the controversy became a major story in the deer hunting world—so much so, that the B&C club threw out normal protocol and agreed to assemble a panel of veteran scorers, who upheld the common-base ruling. King had better luck with the Northeast Big Buck Club and Buckmasters, as both groups declared the buck a world-record under their scoring systems.

12. The Mitch Rompola Buck

Rompola eventually withdrew the buck from record consideration.
  • Score: 216-⅝” (not verified)
  • Location: Michigan
  • Year: 1998

Predicting where world-class whitetails–not to mention the next world record-will come from is common practice among deer geeks, none of whom would ever guess that animal would come from Grand Traverse County, Michigan. But that’s exactly where Wolverine State bowhunter MItch Rompola claimed he killed a super-wide 12-point that would not only topple the P&Y typical record (see the Mel Johnson buck above), but would also could threaten the reigning B&C world-record typical, the Hanson buck. But it didn’t take long for the wheels to come off the developing story. While the internet was just flexing its muscles back then, critics flocked to disclaim Rompola’s deer, noting that almost zero giant whitetails had come from that area and claiming that Rompola had either killed a high fence buck or somehow faked his photos. While Rompola had his defenders (including men who claimed to have seen and handled the rack), the shy and reclusive hunter declined offers to have the antlers x-rayed and verified. When a collector with money to lose threatened to sue Rompola for any world-record claims, the bowhunter disappeared. While it happened nearly 25 years ago, you can still get some good campfire debates going by mentioning the Rompola buck.