A trip to Bucky’s Taxidermy in Grafton, Wisc., proved instructive. “Bucky’s supplies Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop with replicas, and they actually have the Jordan buck there,” Gregoire says of one former world record typical whitetail, a 206 1/8 bruiser shot by James Jordan in 1914 in Burnett County, Wisc. “They said these two deer could be relatives, that’s how closely they’re formed.”
The Jordan Buck ruled the record books until 1993, when Milo Hanson tagged this 213 5/8 typical in Saskatchewan, Canada. The No. 1 archery typical (not shown here), a 204 4/8 Pope & Young whitetail shot in Peoria County, Ill., by Mel Johnson, has stood as a world record since 1965.
The Sheboygan rack is distinguished by mass, and lots of it. “It’s so heavy–everywhere,” Gregoire says. “It’s webbed and there’s a lot of palmation.
“One of the bases between the G2 and G3 measures 12 inches around, and on one side almost to the point you can’t get your thumb and forefinger around to touch. It’s massive whatever way you look at it.”
The rack sports a 16 ½-inch inside spread and a 20 ½ outside spread.
A point of contention is the right G2. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that one judge who viewed a picture of the rack felt the split-tine could be enough to make the rack a nontypical. Another felt the rack would make typical, with a relatively small deduction, the newspaper reported.
“The way it was explained to me by people I’ve talked to, is it’s a typical mainframe 10 and that small split would be deducted,” Gregoire says, “and there’s not 10 inches of deductions on that one horn.”
Gregoire first saw the buck on a trail camera set up on his brother’s 160-acre farm. A friend he e-mailed the photo told him, “Be careful with that deer, you’ve got a 200-incher.”
On the morning of Nov. 5, Gregoire hunted his brother Ed’s farm and watched the buck chasing does, always out of range. “I had him once at 48 yards, but I didn’t feel comfortable.”
He went to work at his job as a tool-and-die foreman, but returned at 1:00 to hunt. He saw the buck 100 yards away in a six-acre food plot, again chasing does. Gregoire snuck along a tree line to his blind and for three hours watched as the buck ranged all over the field.
“It was unbelievable. He was trying to corral those does, and he didn’t know which one to chase or which way to go, so he was running every which way. I was just hoping those does would bring him within range. But it didn’t work that way.”
As the afternoon dwindled away, the does began drifting toward a subdivision that borders the farm. “He was going to go with them, and I knew if they got in there they weren’t coming back today. I thought, ‘I gotta try something.’ So I used a grunt-snort-wheeze.”
“He stopped and looked and then looked back at the does. I did it again and he turned and started to come–closer, closer, closer.”
“I didn’t even know I was breathing. It was just like you’re in shock. It indescribable. He was chasing does around and grunting and growling and running. Wow! An animal that big–unbelievable.”
As the buck approached, another doe walked out of the woods into the cornfield and headed at an angle toward his blind. The buck ran over to cut her off. “She wasn’t there when I turned him with the call, but she was heading the right way and it all worked out,” he says.
Gregoire grunted, the buck stopped and he made the shot at 20 yards. It was 4:20.
He waited an hour-and-a-half before returning with his brother Greg. The two crawled on hands and knees tracing a trail that started with mere pinprick spots of blood. “When we found it, I bet they could have heard us yelling for miles away,” Gregoire laughs.
Up close the buck was even bigger than he thought. “When he was lying there, it was just unbelievable. Everywhere you look at him there’s something different I didn’t have time to notice when I was hunting him.
The massive 4 ½-year old buck weighed 240 lbs. field dressed.
How does it feel to have the potential world record whitetail wearing your tag? “It hasn’t really set in yet,” Gregoire says. “It has been a whirlwind. I’ve seen more flashcubes in the first 24 hours than I’ve seen in my life. Last night there must have been 200 people stop by to congratulate me, have a beer and listen to my story.”
The story, in the end, is what matters most. “It’s not going to mean any more to me if it makes the record. It’s something I can close my eyes and replay it forever. No one can take that away.”
“If it doesn’t come out a world record, it’s still a trophy no matter how you look at it.”
Update: Jack Reneau over at Boone & Crockett’s Trophy Watch blog tells us they think this buck will NOT score high enough to beat the Hansen buck. From the Trophy Watch site: Numerous recent articles have been brought to our attention claiming that this buck has a green score higher than the Milo Hansen World Record Typical. While it is indeed a very impressive trophy for any hunter with any method of harvest, it unfortunatley will most likely not approach the 200 inch mark for typical whitetail deer. You can read their full report here.
All photos of this buck (except for the trail cam shot) were taken by photographer Mark Stevens,