Even in a room filled through extraordinary whitetails, Ohio"s unique

"Barnacle Buck" still would certainly stand out. One look at him is all it takes to understand why!


How countless points have the right to a whitetail rack probably have? Based completely on entries in the Boone and Crockett document book, to suggest that any buck could grow 50 points would seem to it is in optimistic; none through that plenty of ever has actually been entered. Indeed, due to the fact that the modern-day scoring era began in 1950, just a grasp of true 40-pointers ever before have to be documented.

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But never mind what official whitetail history suggests. Girlfriend see, in 1989, an amazing "mystery" buck uncovered dead in Ohio showed that the potential top limit because that antler points and score might be greater than anyone previously had actually imagined. This bizarre buck certainly raises some interesting questions around the scoring potential of non-typicals, and inviting us to wonder what the top finish of whitetail antler growth ultimately could turn out to be. And yet, despite all of this, the deer in concern doesn"t even qualify for the B&C document book!

Late in October 1989, hunter Lionel Crissman to be walking v a seasonal wetland in the northeastern component of the Buckeye State when he come upon the bleached and scattered bones of a huge buck. There was no authorize of why the deer could have died; in fact, the wasn"t also easy come say how long the bones had been lying there. Every Lionel knew was that the buck"s skull to be adorned v a huge, knotty massive of antlers, for the most part still covered in a shroud the dried velvet. It to be an inexplicable deer, to say the least, and Lionel carried the skull the end of the woods with him. Shortly thereafter he gained from the state a permit permitting him to store the skull as a pick-up.

That could have been about as much as things ever before went, except for a fortunate coincidence. A few weeks after ~ Lionel"s discovery, North American Whitetail employee photographer Tom Evans and also I to be in surrounding North Lima, documenting huge bucks take away by regional hunters throughout shotgun season. The occasion was the annual Deer Hunters" Rendezvous, which to be being placed on by the east Ohio-Northwest Pennsylvania chapter of Safari club International.

The rendezvous was held on the Sunday complying with the end of Ohio"s six-day cheese season, which opened the Monday after ~ Thanksgiving. Because of the great genetic potential northeastern Ohio has - particularly for non-typicals - there always was excited in the air together the yearly rendezvous approached. You simply never knew which of the numerous vehicles pulling right into the parking lot could be delivering a world-class trophy.

Tom and I were photographing a couple of large bucks in the middle of a snowstorm when local taxidermist Paul cutting board walked up. "This young other has a rack ns think you"ll want to see," Paul said, and also when we turned around, Lionel was standing there v a wild-looking deer skull in hand.

My very first impression was the it was simply another large "cactus" rack, i m sorry is the typical term for knotty, gnarled antlers the for whatever reason don"t shed their velvet. Very few of these deer have normal racks, yet the more closely we examined this one, the an ext "normal" he appeared. Although he obviously had actually a the majority of extra point out jutting in every direction, the an excellent amount of dried velvet hanging ~ above the antlers made it difficult to say simply how numerous points over there were.

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"It looks favor his rack is covered with barnacles," Tom said, and also the much more I learned the deer, the much more I agreed v that description. The seemingly countless knobs and sharp points certainly did look choose jagged barnacles covering a piling. And so, indigenous that moment on, the deer unofficially was referred to as the "Barnacle Buck."

In the weeks complying with our chance meeting, Lionel stripped turn off the continuing to be velvet in small pieces, every time revealing more "points." Once fully stripped, the rack was found to it is in a basic 7-point typical (brow tines present yet flattened and also not scorable) that would score in the 140- come 150-point selection on that is own. That course, the real question was this: How numerous of those abnormal points would certainly be scorable?

When Paul Thomas and "Mac" McWilliams rough-scored the rack a few weeks later, castle felt it can have the potential to threaten Missouri"s 333 7/8-point world record in the non-typical category. Return they stopped far short of declare it was a new No. 1 non-typical - there were just too countless questionable points for them to crawl the end on the limb - those of united state at North American Whitetail naturally became more curious than ever about the Barnacle Buck. An official scoring session to be arranged, to see how this strange buck really would measure up.

Bill Cooper, a highly experienced B&C measurer native Tifton, Georgia, tackled the job of scoring the head - and also what a project it was! The entire procedure took him practically seven hours, due to the extremely complicated nature the the deer"s abnormal growth. As soon as Bill ultimately had finished, he"d come up with a net score that 257 4/8 points. While the score was far brief of a human being record, the did make the deer the world"s potential No. 14 non-typical as of the time.

But the most intriguing aspect of this great rack is not what the scores, however what the doesn"t. Also a rapid examination of the head mirrors the visibility of precise dozens of "points" the don"t rather reach 1 inch in length. They"re piled top top every available inch of the mainframe, and also in some cases on height of every other.

If you could shrink you yourself to the size of a flea and then walk follow me the main beams the the Barnacle Buck, the no doubt would seem together though girlfriend were hike the floor that a long, winding canyon, through an amazing variety of jagged formations leaning over you at every turn. This rack is a veritable "badlands" the bone, showing both good beauty and gross disfigurement.

Before this deer came along, no well-known whitetail rack had totaled 50 scorable points. This one has 72! and also to determine how many unofficial points the Barnacle Buck has would it is in an even more an overwhelming task. Mine own initiatives to count "everything you can hang a ring on" yielded much in excess of 500 before I lost count, and also I open minded think the as many as 1,000 projections top top this rack would hold a ring - noted they were far sufficient apart to obtain the ring onto them, that is! together strange formations aren"t unheard

of top top whitetail antlers, yet this was possibly the just time anyone had seen castle in such numbers.

It"s easy to watch why the Barnacle Buck is a scorer"s nightmare. Plenty of projections show up at very first glance to it is in legal points, yet then, after productive measuring, prove to be not quite an customs in length. Together Bill notes, "If you might score points the were three-quarters that an inch long, it would certainly take more than one day to measure up this rack. The deer has an incredible number of projections that just aren"t quite long sufficient to be score officially."


In countless parts of north America, deer hunters traditionally gauged a rack"s size largely on the basis of exactly how many

"points" that carried. The consensus was the if a ring might be held on an antler projection, it was ruled a "point." but today, no main record publication will identify a suggest as being much less than 1 inch in length.

Although Bill came up through 65 abnormals long enough to measure, far much more than 100 additional projections fall into the "almost" category, varying from 3/4 come 15/16 inch. These are scattered over both key beams and also the G-2 and G-3 points on every side, and coming off each other. There isn"t a solitary square inch of antler top top this rack that doesn"t save at the very least one "point" of some description!

The civilization of large typicals is filled with "what if" racks: deer that nearly score in ~ the very top of their classification, yet which, due to the fact that of abnormal antler growth, fall short in net score. The Barnacle Buck is among the couple of non-typicals i m sorry rightly deserve to be referred to as a "what if" deer.

For starters, what if nobody of his points had actually been damaged off? A quick look at the rack shows that, especially on each antler base and the bottom that each main beam, over there are plenty of projections sheared turn off too brief to measure. Number of of these appear to have actually been large drop tines or burr points. The course, it"s impossible to speak how numerous extra inches of antler this bizarre buck had actually grown, however it"s easy to imagine an additional 30, 40 or even an ext inches. Those customs alone might have thrust him towards the thin air of 300 points.

Some added inches of antler can have been on the rack when Lionel an initial found it, but we don"t know. "I lugged the skull the end of the woods and also threw it right into the earlier of mine pickup, then drove home," he recalls. "There was a most junk in the van bed, and the skull was just bouncing about as ns drove. It"s scary currently to think around having done that, and I don"t know for certain that no one of those points damaged off then. But at the time, the rack was still dirty and had velvet all over it, and I really didn"t know just what i had."

And then, what if second 50 that the rack"s too-short projections had grown only a fraction of an customs more? Nudging them approximately an customs apiece would have actually put the Barnacle Buck at better than 300 ~ above his score sheet, even without the damaged points gift present. And including "only" 80 additional 1-inchers come his present net score that 257 4/8 would have actually yielded a potential world-record bottom heat of 337 4/8 points.

While we"re speculating, it"s no out that the inquiry for this buck to have approached the heretofore-unthinkable complete of 400 inches! This sounds favor an enormous enhancement to his current rack, and in one method it is. However, we have to remember that this form of score wouldn"t have required him come grow second 150 inches of antler, only to have added slight amounts of bone to what he currently has. Just how ridiculous is that?

Not very, follow to provided researcher Dr. James C. Kroll the the Institute because that White-tailed Deer Management and also Research in Nacogdoches, Texas. Together the Barnacle Buck was being measured, Dr. Kroll had an possibility to inspect it the end firsthand, and also he come away with some interesting observations - among them the feeling that this deer hadn"t yet finished growing his incredible rack.

"I think that if the buck hadn"t died, all of those blunt, rounded points along the beams - I contact them "tubercles" - would have actually kept growing," the biologist says. "Some the the points room sharp on the tips, together though they had actually finished growing, but countless others appear to have actually been capable of getting to an customs or more in length within only a short duration of added time. The buck just died before they ended up being scorable."


Boone and Crockett measurer bill Cooper numbers up the Barnacle Buck"s score. The total came to 257 4/8 network points. But a club dominance barring "cactus" racks renders the deer ineligible for B&C at any score. Photograph by Tom Evans.

Without a carcass come examine, of course, determining what killed the buck will be difficult at best. Likewise, we"ll never know for sure precisely when he died. Lionel claims he thinks the buck can have to be lying in the swamp due to the fact that the previous searching season, also though there was tiny sign of rodent damage to the rack. (Incidentally, no one in the area apparently ever before saw the buck while he was alive, and also it seems unlikely that a hunter eliminated him.)

Another amazing point is that Ohio division of Wildlife biologists that examined the reduced jawbone of the Barnacle Buck believe he was only 3 1/2 year old at the time of death! Dr. Kroll, however, approximates that the deer was 4 1/2. One of two people way, the animal obviously didn"t dice of "old age." A regular whitetail buck normally reaches preferably antler development at age 6 1/2 or so. How big might this deer have remained in his prime?

If the buck really did expire in the loss or winter of 1988, as Lionel says he suspects, the skeleton was approximately a year old once found. The deer must have remained in velvet far later in the year than he should have been. And of course, if the skeleton to be fresher - say, spring or at an early stage summer that 1989 - it"s undeniable the the buck was suffering an abnormally timed cycle that antler growth. There"s pretty solid circumstantial evidence that no matter when the buck died, the was cultivation antlers at a time he shouldn"t have been.

In determining the reason of this abnormal antler growth, it would be most beneficial to understand whether or no the deer was sexually virile. Because that the many part, the antler development cycle is regulation by increases and decreases in the circulation of the masculine hormone testosterone, which consequently is controlled by the varying amounts of

daylight as seasons change.

Of course, a normal buck starts growing his rack in at an early stage to mid-spring and also finishes in so late summer, whether he"s a tiny spike or a world-class monster. Occasionally, though, something walk haywire in the buck"s system. Instead of comes to a halt in late summer, antler development may proceed on into the colder months.

Most often, this abnormality is attributed come dysfunction that the testes (either physical injury to them or perhaps the impacts of part disease). Without functioning testes, the buck"s flow of testosterone is shut turn off or severely restricted, offering him no way to regulate the antler cycle. His device literally doesn"t recognize when to protect against or start cultivation a rack.

It"s tempting to say this is what taken place to the Barnacle Buck. However, Dr. Kroll has actually his doubts. "It shows up to me that this deer can have endured some kind of genetically prompted abnormality in the expansion cycle," that says, "rather 보다 castration or various other such factors. The growth obviously obtained out the control, much like a type of bone cancer. Among the factors the nationwide Institutes the Health continue to fund research on deer antler development is that the expansion rate of this bone cells is roughly as rapid as the development rate of tumors. This buck can have suffered from something comparable to a kind of bone cancer.

"I"d love to know just what killed this deer," the biologist adds, "because it could give united state some clues regarding what make his antlers flourish the way they did. It"s interesting that the bones in the skull chin are very thin, together if the antlers traction an too much amount of calcium the end of the skeleton."

While the record books were collection up to paper the many noteworthy the trophy animals, some of the oddest monster deer have had difficulty making it into the listings. So the is through the Barnacle Buck.

Because it"s assumed the this deer didn"t grow his rack in the course of a typical antler cycle, there must be some question as to whether or not he should compete for ranking against bucks the did. And what if he"d kept farming his rack for another 6 months? would it be fair to call him the civilization record at, say, 350 points, outranking bucks the were comparatively "normal?"

Because the Barnacle Buck didn"t rotate out to an obstacle for the civilization record, the answer to that question is moot. Yet other "cactus" racks have turned increase on occasion, for this reason it"s feasible we"ll eventually see one with sufficient antler to rest B&C"s non-typical record.

In really hopes of heading off any kind of such potentially sticky situations, not long after the discovery of the Barnacle Buck, B&C officials voted no to expropriate this trophy or any kind of other "cactus" racks because that entry. Thus, despite his size, Lionel"s amazing whitetail doesn"t elegant the pages that the club"s document book.

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Ohio continues to amaze with its capability to rotate out huge non-typicals. The state"s trophy list is topped through the 328 2/8-point "Hole in the Horn" buck, found dead near Ravenna in 1940. This rack ranking No. 2 in the world, trailing only the 333 7/8-point Missouri monarch (found dead near St. Louis in 1981). And also Ohio apparently produced its second 300-incher in 2000. Top top Nov. 8 of the year, bowhunter Mike Beatty arrowed a Greene County huge that has actually been entered into B&C in ~ 304 6/8 network points, make him potentially the world"s optimal hunter-taken buck of every time.

No other geographic area of similar size can enhance Ohio because that cranking the end memorable non-typicals. And also it"s safe to say the the Barnacle Buck is about as memorable together they come!