If the words “Butcher Buck” don’t mean anything to you, it’s damn time they do.
Kansas bowhunter Brian Butcher couldn’t believe his eyes when a monster whitetail snuck into sight in the eastern part of the state on October 10, 2019. He had never seen an animal quite like this one before—and neither had the rest of the world.
The whitetail had a three-point right side, the size of which wasn’t anything special. But the left side boasted an explosive (and slightly grotesque) mess of tines that look somewhere between a bony Edible Arrangement and an antler chandelier without any lightbulbs. Upon first glance, Butcher thought the buck was giving a free ride to a tumbleweed.
He came within 25 yards of Butcher’s stand before Butcher realized it was actually a mass of antlers. Butcher dropped the buck instantly.
The antlers were launched into social media fame by Scent Crusher, an ozone archery company from Wichita, near Butcher’s hometown of Andover, Kansas. Scent Crusher insisted on featuring the buck at their booth in the 2020 ATA Archery Trade Show in Indianapolis shortly thereafter and he was destined for greatness from then on.
The buck was scored unofficially on January 3, 2020, by famous Boone and Crockett measurers Ken Witt and Marc Murell. A 5 ½-hour measuring session was marked by debate over what was a measurable point and what wasn’t. It ended with a jaw-dropping gross score of 343 4/8 inches and a net score of 321 3/8 inches.
Butcher would eventually take the honor of having arrowed the second-biggest deer in bowhunting history, and the fourth biggest ever recorded. But it would take him and the epic feat of ungulate biology 18 months to get where they belonged; both the Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett record books.
Fast forward a year and a half. Without knowing the buck’s official score, Butcher walked into the Reno hotel where the 2021 Pope and Young Convention was held. He took his time making his way to the exhibit room and meandered past most of the other booths before finally reuniting with his old friend.
“I didn’t find out the numbers until I got here,” Butcher told Bowhunter. “I checked into the hotel, got settled in for a few minutes, and then went to the convention center and saw it there. Coincidentally, I think I probably walked by every other animal here until we finally got to mine. It was enjoyable, getting to see all of those great animals taken by bowhunters.”
There it was in black and white: an official gross score of 343 4/8 inches and net score of 321 3/8 inches. The numbers hadn’t changed from the unofficial scoring a year and a half prior.
“I thought the score last year by Ken and Marc would be pretty close, but I didn’t expect it to be completely unchanged,” Butcher said to Bowhunter. “I couldn’t feel luckier about it all.”
The Butcher Buck rounds out the leaderboards below arguably the three most famous bucks in history; the Missouri Monarch, the Hole in the Horn Buck, and the Brewster Buck, who is bowhunting’s biggest buck on record. But if Butcher’s ego has grown at all after joining the ranks of these greats, he hasn’t shown it. When he motioned to his 67-pointer after an unknowing staffer from the event asked him which of the displayed bucks he would shoot if given the chance, one of his accompanying hunting buddies had to tell the staffer that Butcher had, in fact, been the one to shoot it originally.
“Well, I’m not going to be the guy who shows up and says that’s my deer,” Butcher said.
All images via Buck Fever Film on Facebook.