Jody Dalton killed a massive whitetail with his bow in Wyoming County, West Virginia, on Nov. 6, 2020. He speculated it would beat the current state record of 188 ⅞ inches but needed to wait 60 days to get an official score. On Jan. 13, 2021, official scorers measured the buck at West Virginia Division of Natural Resources headquarters and declared it the new state record.
Biologist Todd Dowdy performed the panel score with two other certified Pope and Young judges. After a long deliberation, Dowdy announced to a captivated, socially-distanced crowd that Dalton’s buck grossed 195 inches and netted 191 2/8 inches. With just 3 6/8 inches of deductions, it was almost perfectly symmetrical.
“It’s a unique experience,” Dowdy said. “When I first saw the buck I didn’t think he was as big as he was. The symmetry and the tine length and main beam length is what’s really impressive.”
Dalton didn’t know this buck intimately—he only had a sole trail cam picture of the whitetail from Oct. 26. It was that single photo that led him back to the area in November. “I knew he was in there,” Dalton said in an interview with West Virginia Outdoors. “It just so happened he came through at 10:00 chasing two does and he gave me a perfect, broadside, 30 yard shot.”
Amazingly, panelists estimate the buck was just 3 or 4 years old. According to the National Deer Association, whitetails don’t reach maximum antler growth until the age of 5 or 6.
Age be damned, this is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime buck. Congratulations on your record and freezer full of venison, Jody!
Feature image via Chris Lawrence.