The 180-Class Pending B&C World Record 8-Point Buck!

On December 1, 2011, on the opening day of the second shotgun season in Illinois, Jason Sanders tagged what will … Continued

On December 1, 2011, on the opening day of the second shotgun season in Illinois, Jason Sanders tagged what will likely be the largest 8-point whitetail in the Boone & Crockett record books. Sanders, a 38-year-old farmer and veteran deer hunter, was hunting on his home farm when he set his sights on this world-class buck of a lifetime.
Jason spends most of the fall harvesting corn and soybeans from his 500 acre farm in Logan County, located in central Illinois. “My friends tell me I should bowhunt, and I guess I should,” he says. “But fall is a busy time for me. I always make time for the shotgun season, though. I had a trail camera out last fall and in October, I got a picture of what looked like a pretty nice buck. It was a night shot, so I didn’t realize how big he was at the time.”
Jason’s farm is mostly tillable land, but there are small areas of timber, as well as prairie grass, pasture, hedgerows and a creek. About a month after getting that first glimpse of the buck, Jason checked his camera again and found a great daylight photo of the same deer. “I couldn’t see the whole rack, but this was the first time I thought ‘This one might be special.'”
This trail cam picture was taken on the same date as the last photo, but later in the day. “My dog and I went out for a walk, and I decided to check the camera. Well the dog ran in front of the camera and triggered it, but when I looked in the background, there was the buck, standing there and staring at us.”
After getting two good photos of the huge buck, Jason decided to leave the camera in the same place. “The next time I went back, I had the buck close to the camera in full daylight and could really see his rack,” Jason says. “When I looked at this picture all I thought was ‘Oh my!'”
The first Illinois shotgun season opens just after Thanksgiving. Between his trail camera, recent sightings, and his knowledge of how deer moved on his property, Jason went out on opening day, hoping for a chance at the huge buck. “I saw him once on opening weekend,” Jason says. “But I just didn’t like the shot. He was at least 150 yards away, and I just wasn’t comfortable with the shot. So I passed on it and hoped I’d get another opportunity.” Meanwhile, Jason’s trail camera snapped a final picture of the giant whitetail on November 26.
The first shotgun season closed and Jason didn’t get another opportunity at the giant 8-point. “I moved my stand for the second season,” Jason says. “I thought it would be a better spot, based on what I’d seen during the first hunt. Then on opening day I saw a huge buck coming toward me. I’d been grunting on a call and I think that might have made a difference. “All I know is, he was on me really quick, and I’m glad! I didn’t have any time to get nervous, and the shot was only 35 yards. He ran off right away into some prairie grass, and I heard him go down.”
“I had no trouble finding the buck,” Jason recalls. “I was able to walk right up to him in that tall grass. And he was even bigger than he looked in the pictures.”
Jason shoots a 12 gauge Mossberg 500 pump, with a rifled barrel but no optics. It proved the perfect tool for the nearly bow-range shot. “The buck field-dressed 195 pounds, which is a nice buck for here, but not a huge-bodied one,” Jason says. “His hide and cape were in just great shape. I had the feeling he didn’t get challenged much by other bucks in the neighborhood.”
Jason spent some time admiring his trophy. “I’ve always had decent luck hunting on this farm, and I see deer all the time as I work,” he says. “I’d even shot an 11-point that had 11″ brow tines and he scored 176″ non-typical. But I knew I’d never seen a buck that could match this one!”
Jason showed the rack to one of his friends, who is a long-time bowhunter. “He gave me an idea that this might really be a high-scoring buck, and that I should have it officially measured,” Jason says. “So I made taxidermy plans and kept the antlers so they could be measured after the 60-day drying period.”
“I didn’t tell a whole bunch of people about the buck,” Jason says. “I knew a hunter had a trail cam pic of him from a neighboring property, from earlier in the fall. After I showed the buck to my friend who bowhunts, he brought over a measurer from Pope & Young who green-scored it right away. So I had some idea that it would be a really high-scoring buck.”
Jason brought the buck to veteran B&C measurer Tim Walmsley as soon as the 60-day drying period had elapsed. “I get to measure a lot of really big bucks,” Walmsley says. “But this one really had me excited. For an 8-point to score like this one did is unheard of. His gross score was 192-3/8″, which is tremendous for an 8-point. One of the bucks’ most impressive features was its main beams, which were 30″ and 32”. “That length puts it in the top five for beam length of any buck in the record books.” The buck’s net score topped out at 183-1/8″. Two bucks are currently tied for the world-record typical 8 at 180-3/8″.
Tim Walmsley said “Everything about this buck is just special; In addition to great beams, he has a 22-3/8″ spread, a 16″ G2, and G3’s that are 12-1/8″ and 11-7/8″. And he has incredible mass; he just keeps getting bigger as you go out the beams. And the one thing that really stood out for me was his skull plate. It was the thickest I’ve seen after measuring hundreds and hundreds of deer. That’s just a sign of a really old buck.” To put Jason’s buck into perspective, consider just how difficult it is to place an 8-point whitetail into the B&C books. To qualify for the B&C All-Time awards program, a whitetail buck has to net-score 170″. Of the millions of 8-point whitetails that have been killed since 1830 (when B&C began keeping records), only 36 bucks have made this minimum. Jason’s buck not only makes this list, but sits atop it.

On December 1, 2011, on the opening day of the second shotgun season in Illinois, Jason Sanders tagged what will likely be the largest 8-point whitetail in the Boone & Crockett record books. Sanders, a 38-year-old farmer and veteran deer hunter, was hunting on his home farm when he set his sights on this world-class buck of a lifetime.