“Freakish big” is a term hunters love to banter around when describing a buck they’ve just seen. It won’t be long now until a few freakish-big reports will begin spilling from summer scouting trips and scouting camera snapshots. But nothing you see in the wild will be able to match the definition of freakish-big in the current world of deer farms and captive whitetails.
The current world-record non-typical whitetail, according to the Boone and Crockett Club, scores an impressive 333 7/8 points and hails from Missouri. But what if I told you about bucks scoring more than 400 points or even 500 points? Is that even possible? How about the fact some of these bucks surpass 200 inches as 2-1/2-year-olds. Would you believe that?
Yes, it’s possible and as real as you being annoyed to death by political advertisements this summer. Deer farmers are pushing the envelope beyond the 500-point benchmark. It’s a Wendy’s Biggie menu when it comes to captive whitetails, and where it ends—nobody knows.
One of the largest bucks toting around a freakish-big rack (I’m not even sure if that aptly describes it?) is Free Agent. He lives at Battle Ridge Whitetails in Pennsylvania and acquired that benchmark from high-fence captivity, superior breeding and a diet that would make most Olympic contestants jealous.
Here’s the question: Have we gone too far? There’s no doubt these deer couldn’t survive in the wild. Headgear like that is too awkward for woodland maneuvering and a rapid escape. If it were advantageous, larger bucks would have most likely evolved by now before modern hunters entered the scene.
Most of the freakish giants have their antlers sawed off in summer because of the risk of penned bucks fighting and likely injuring themselves. They are able to corner does and wound them in the tight confines. I’m sure the incredible weight removed from their heads is a blessing for them.
I’ll be honest: I find the whole the concept and culture interesting. It’s similar to other farming and trying to genetically isolate, and create the best of the best. But unlike whitetails, you can’t see the rack on an Angus bull. You surely won’t miss his muscular makeup and, if you want a score, there’s always a scrotal measurement, which is as popular as a B&C measurement in the livestock world.
I am for tight regulations, heavily fortified fencing and the clear distinction that these giants are unique, but not hunting trophies. They’re more like science experiments, but definitely fit the freakish definition. And freakish surely draws attention.
Stay tuned for a "Weigh-In And Win!" post tomorrow for your chance to comment on a freak-buck hunting scenario and win a special prize.