A northern New York man who claimed to have killed a potential archery state record buck in late September will be receiving shame rather than fame, thanks to a well-schooled trophy measurer who recognized the deer was likely farm-raised and not wild.
The Watertown Daily News reports that Wayne N. Long II has since been cited by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for filing a false statement in connection with the deer. An investigation by the DEC is continuing.
When the story about the big deer first broke, the newspaper published an article and photograph of Long and the 22-point, non-typical whitetail, noting that its preliminary score of “about 220” would rank it above the current state archery non-typical record of 210 4/8.
The newspaper account quoted Long as saying he shot it on the family’s farm near Watertown—where he has hunted for much of his life—on the opening day of New York’s northern tier archery season, Sept. 27.
But that was before Matt Cooper, an official Boone & Crockett Club/Pope & Young Club measurer and vice president of the New York State Big Buck Club, had the opportunity to see the buck and ask Long a few pointed questions about the deer.
While inspecting the teeth in buck’s lower jaw, Cooper estimated the animal couldn’t have been more than 2 1/2 years old—far too young for a wild whitetail to grow such an enormous rack in New York state. He asked Long about the deer and the hunt, but the story he received didn’t add up, Cooper said later.
As a result, Cooper was convinced that the deer was raised behind a high fence, and he subsequently offered Long a pair of options: Remove the deer from contention for the state record, or prove publicly that the deer was not farm raised.
Long accepted the first option offered by Cooper, and withdrew the deer from record-book contention.
Since that time, Long has not spoken publicly about the deer, the citation, or the ongoing investigation by the DEC.
DEC spokesman Stephen W. Litwhiler told the Watertown paper that Long was issued a citation for filing a false report instead of one for possession or transport of an improperly tagged deer, which is done for hunters who make an error when filling out their tag.
“This is not just a simple tagging violation,” Litwhiler said.
The Oct. 3 Watertown Daily Times contained a follow-up story that began: “There will be no spot in the record books for Wayne N. Long II, a Watertown hunter who claimed to have killed a state-record buck in Rutland Corners on Thursday. Instead, he received a ticket Tuesday from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for filing a false statement.”