Tag Archives: big buck

The Harold Smith Buck

Antlers Built For Controversy

Thank you for reading The Whitetail Shooters Big Buck Blog and the story of the Harold Smith buck.

British Columbia has long been considered a hunters paradise. And rightfully so as every big game animal in North America can be found within the borders of the Province. The area just north of the Washington and Idaho borders is also known as a sleeper area for trophy quality whitetails. It’s this area where the Harold Smith buck was taken in the 1950’s.

No witnesses can be found that may have seen the buck, and no photos have ever been produced of the deer either.  Both could have been deciding factors in what has become one of the whitetail worlds greatest debates.

The Harold Smith Buck and its Controversy

The Harold Smith buck has become a significant piece of hunting history, whether you believe it to be a Mule deer or a Whitetail is where the controversy lies. Many antler experts and collectors, the very people that actually study such things, have long believed it to be a Mule deer. For many years the Boone & Crockett club, North America’s most recognized big game record keeping organization, would not allow the buck to be entered in either the Mule deer or Whitetail categories. The club’s reason being there was no proof of the deer being of either species.

The buck is seen here mounted with a whitetail cape, which shouldn’t be used to determine what type of deer it is.

The Harold Smith buck
The Harold Smith buck from British Columbia scores 279 3/8 inches.

The Significance of Getting it Right

What makes the controversy so significant is this fact, at 279 3/8 inches of antler the Harold Smith buck will become a Provincial record in either of the two categories it may enter. Also of significance is the fact that it would also become Canada’s number two non typical whitetail, falling just 3/8 of an inch short of Neil Morin’s great non typical, which is Canada’s top whitetail.

The great deer has qualities of both species. The wide sweep and deer forks of a Mule deer and the upturned beams, brows points, and boxy frame of a Whitetail. These features are what jump out to the discerning eye. However, there’s another characteristic that could seal the deal, but most will never have a chance to see it.

Could it be a Hybrid?

The antler characteristic of beading is usually quite different between Mule deer and Whitetails. Most often a Whitetail will have beading that runs up the points, or in lines. Mule deer usually bead in a circular pattern. Most people will not see this on the Harold Smith buck because they will never be close enough to the antlers to see the beading pattern. However, I found this short video produced by North American Whitetail television and it shows a close up of the beading. Click here then scroll down the page to the Harold Smith video.

As you can see in the video the beading shows no distinct pattern of either Mule deer or Whitetail. It’s this lack of dominate feature that leads many to consider the buck to be a hybrid cross between a Mule deer and Whitetail.

This is significant because hybrids cannot be entered into record books because records are distinctively species specific.

After decades of debate and controversy, the B&C club has decided to accept the buck as a whitetail and has panel scored the buck at 279 3/8 inches. The antlers will now be recognized as being from a whitetail.

I’d like to hear your opinion on whether you think this is a Mule deer, a Whitetail, or an ineligible hybrid? Please post your comments and opinions at the bottom of this page in the comments section.

If you enjoy reading the stories of giant bucks and how the hunters took them then SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG and you’ll receive all the articles into your email box as they are posted. The subscribe link is located within the right column on this page. Also, be sure to sign up for my free Buck-Tales Newsletter and receive big buck news not published within these articles, that link can be found within the left side column. I will not share your contact info for any reason and I promise there will never be any spam from this site. Also, if you’re a shed hunter then you need to read my eBook, “How to Find Whitetail Deer Sheds”, also found within the left side column. The reviews on the book are in and they are superb!

I hope you enjoyed the story of the Harold Smith buck? Thank you for reading The Whitetail Shooters Big Buck Blog!

The Jason Brooks Missouri Buck

The Jason Brooks Missouri Buck of a Lifetime

Thank you for reading The Whitetail Shooters Big Buck Blog and the story of Jason Brooks Missouri Buck.

Jason Brooks was down to the last evening of the Missouri firearms season and he still had his tag in his pocket. He had hunted hard all season but as most hunters agree, some seasons go by faster than others and this season was one of them. As any trophy hunter will attest, as long as the season is open then a person still has a chance. Trophy whitetails seldom come easy and Jason knew that one final hunt may be all that was needed to land the buck of his dreams.

He had decided to watch over a “green field” for his final hunt. Knowing the rut was still going strong, and knowing there would be several does feeding in the field that evening, he hoped that one of them would lure a big buck into the open.

Jason Brooks Missouri Buck
This trail camera photo of the Jason Brooks Missouri Buck was taken over eight miles from the field he was taken in!

By sundown there were about a dozen deer in the field including a couple young bucks that were harassing and chasing the does around. Another mature doe had just jumped the fence and entered the field, and right behind her was a monster buck! There was no question in Jason’s mind that this was a shooter and just the type of buck he was hoping for. Without hesitation, he lifted his trusty .243 to a solid rest and took the 100 yard shot. At the crack of the rifle the big buck dropped in his tracks.

Jason Brooks Missouri Buck: From Elation to Despair

Jason Brooks had just experienced a classic trophy hunt; he hunted hard during the allotted eleven days and had taken a buck of a lifetime at sundown on the last day of the season. His dream had just become reality. However, as many hunters have experienced, fortunes can change quickly. In an instant, Jason’s dream turned into a nightmare. He watched as the buck kicked a few times then suddenly regained his legs and ran off, exiting the field and out of sight!

Jason was dumbfounded to say the least. What could have went wrong? The shot looked good, his aim was steady, and his rifle was zeroed in. As he replayed the scenario in his mind, he couldn’t come up with a logical explanation as to why the deer was not dead? Although he was assuring himself that the shot had been good, it was obvious it wasn’t. He decided to wait a couple hours taking up the bucks trail. But it wasn’t meant to be. Despite spending several hours searching for the buck that night and into the next day, the big deer wasn’t found. Adding to the misery was the fact that several trail cameras in the area didn’t show the buck either. Jason felt the buck was no longer around, either having left the area for good or possibly having been taken down by the local coyotes. It was a hard reality to accept.

Many hunters have felt the sting of losing a deer to a missed shot, but it’s different when the deer is actually hit and not recovered. It’s easy to be overcome by self-doubt and waning confidence. I’ve lived it myself as have many others; it’s a sickening feeling that can overwhelm your entire being. The entire hunt gets played back in your mind several hundred times. The scene, the sights, the smells, the position of the buck, the instant the shot is taken, it consumes your entire life. Your thoughts, your mental images, your conversations, are all dominated by that single moment. It’s easy to slip into temporary depression, and it can literally take weeks or months to recover.

For some, the memory and bite of the loss may never fade, but all a hunter can do is pick up the pieces and start hunting again. Jason did just that. With the memory of the buck foremost in his mind, he was determined to never again go through the emotional turmoil he had just experienced. The late archery season would be a great time for redemption and to build back the confidence he had lost.

A New Beginning

The first week of January found Jason Brooks in the same stand overlooking the same field where he had lost the big buck two months earlier. With his bow in hand, he couldn’t help envisioning the buck standing in the field as his subconscious mind kept returning to that fateful day in November.

As the field began to fill with deer, Jason’s eye caught movement to his left. As he turned his head ever so slightly for a look he was caught off guard by what he saw. There, standing and feeding peacefully, was HIS buck! The very buck he had wounded two months earlier! At first he thought he was seeing things, that his mind was playing tricks on him. But this was real, there was HIS buck, the Jason Brooks Missouri buck was alive and well and he was contently feeding while standing broadside at 45 yards!

Jason slowly drew his bow, taking careful and steady aim, determined there would be no mistake this time! He released the arrow and it was a perfect shot, passing completely through the vitals of the giant buck! Jason watched as the buck made his final dash to safety and away from the field. Another flood of emotions overcame him but this time it was pure elation! He couldn’t believe what had just happened; he couldn’t believe he was given a second chance at the same buck! This time he knew the buck was his!

Jason Brooks Missouri Buck
The Jason Brooks Missouri Buck knocked an antler off which makes it ineligible for record book entry. But that doesn’t take anything away from the giant buck.

When the buck had made his dash out of the field he had run headlong into a fence which had caused the left antler to fall off. Jason watched as the buck ran from the field and he seen the buck hit the fence so he knew right where the antler was laying. Climbing down from his stand he retrieved his arrow then walked over to the fence and picked up the antler. He then walked up to the biggest buck he had ever taken! Once again a flood of emotions washed over him. After two agonizing months of worry and self-doubt, the majestic whitetail was finally his.

Fortunately, the antler had popped off in a way that the pedicel fits snuggly and perfectly back into place on the skull. The final score of Jason Brooks Missouri buck is 170 2/8 inches. However, the antlers aren’t record book acceptable because of the fallen antler, but it does tell just how big this buck truly is. No doubt it’s a buck of a lifetime for any hunter.

Jason Brooks Missouri Buck
The Jason Brooks Missouri Buck scores an impressive 170 2/8 inches!

Final Thoughts

An interesting side note: It was two months from the time Jason had wounded the buck with his .243 and he had taken him with his bow. During those two months the buck was nowhere to be found as there were no local sightings. However, Jason would later learn of and receive trail camera photos of the buck that were taken on a farm over eight miles from the field he had killed the buck in!

If you enjoy reading the stories of giant bucks and how the hunters took them then SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG and you’ll receive all the articles into your email box as they are posted. The subscribe link is located within the right column on this page.  Also, be sure to sign up for my free Buck-Tales Newsletter and receive big buck news not published within these articles, that link can be found within the left side column. I will not share your contact info for any reason and I promise there will never be any spam from this sight. Also, if you’re a shed hunter then you need to read my eBook, How to Find Whitetail Deer Sheds, also found within the left side column. The reviews on the book are in and they are superb!

I hope you enjoyed the story of Jason Brooks Missouri buck? If so, please leave a comment below the article. Thank you for reading The Whitetail Shooters Big Buck Blog!