King Buck Exclusive: Inch-by-Inch Breakdown of the World Record that Wasn’t—With Official Score Sheet


Unless you just bicycled from your off-the-grid yurt to the local library's computer lab, you know that a specially convened B&C world-record scoring panel measured the King buck on Saturday. The enormous Wisconsin 12 pointer, taken by Johnny King with an iron-sighted .30/30 on his family farm in November of 2006, has been embroiled in an year-long controversy centering on the buck's right G3-- a roughly 7-1/2-inch tine that spells the difference between a typical score of 180 and a new Boone and Crocket world-record typical mark of 215 or more. In 2007, B&C Director of Big Game Records Jack Reneau deemed the G3 abnormal, temporarily ending the King buck's shot at the top of the B&C book and igniting a firestorm of criticism, complete with accusations of lies, intimidation, and cover-up. Since then a contingency of media, deer hunters, and even B&C measurers have fought for one thing: a panel score. Yesterday, they got it--and we have exclusive pictures of the procedure, inch by inch. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
Hunter Johnny King and King buck owner Jay Fish (who paid King $35,000 for the rack in 2009) drove through the night from Wisconsin to Missoula, Montana, and were waiting in the parking lot when the doors of B&C headquarters were opened at 8:30 Saturday morning. When the scoring panel arrived around 9 a.m., King and Fish hand-delivered the rack to Eldon "Buck" Buckner. Official scoring began shortly thereafter. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
The first step in scoring a whitetail is to identify any abnormal points. And that, of course, is where the heart of the King buck controversy lies, specifically whether or not the right G3 is abnormal. Here, the scorers stretch a cable along the outside of the other tines. The space between the cable and the tine in question (shown with red tape at its tip) contributes to their eventual determination that the G3 originates from the inside of the main beam and not on the outside in line with the other tines. (For you scoring geeks, the cable here is not intended to show the baseline but only to help determine the G3's orientation.) Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
This shows the same thing, from another angle. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
The right G3 being deemed abnormal renders the corresponding left tine abnormal, too. The length of both, totaling 18 4/8, is measured and recorded in the "Abnormal Points" portion of the score sheet. That done, these points are, for all intents and purposes, eliminated from the typical rack. So what was the G4 becomes the G3, etc. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
These two photos show scorers measuring the tip-to-tip spread and the outside spread. Both are taken purely as a scientific record and do not count in the buck's score. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
Here, a scorer measures the inside spread, using a carpenter's slide ruler, which makes it easier to determine the exact widest point of the rack. The final inside spread measurement came to 21 2/8 inches. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
Here, a pair of scorers measure the right main beam with a cable. It comes to 29 3/9, the left goes 29 even. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
Here the G1s (or brow tines or eye guards) are measured. The right one goes 10 1/8, the left 9 1/8. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
The right and left G2s go 10 5/8 and 11 even, respectively. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
Again, what were the G3s are abnormal and therefore skipped, and the new G3s are scored 10 7/8 on the right and 11 3/8 on the left. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
The right and left G4s are 7 7/8 and 7 1/8, respectively. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
Here the scorers wrap a ¼-inch steel tape around the main beam at the base and between two points to get a circumference measurement. This--and every whitetail buck--gets four such measurements on each side. The measurements closest to the base and closest to the tip are nearly the same on the King buck, revealing how well it carries its mass through the entire length of the main beam. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
At this point, the King buck's total gross score is 202 2/8. The differences in corresponding tine lengths and circumferences are recorded as deductions. These, plus the 18 4/8 inches of abnormal points, come to 22 2/8 inches of total deductions. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett
Here is the King buck's official typical score sheet. Add it all up, subtract the deductions, and you get 180 even for a typical score. The nontypical score came to 217 5/8. So in the end, and after all, the King buck is not the new world-record typical whitetail. What it is, just the same, is a rare and magnificent animal--one of very few whitetails to make the book in both typical and nontypical categories, and a buck none of us will soon forget. Courtesy of Boone & Crockett