King's Outdoor World
Story of the World Record Whitetail Deer Typical
WORLD RECORD SCORE OF 213 5/8 INCHES
Milo Hansen with his World
Record Whitetail Deer
There are whitetail racks with thicker
beams and greater spreads, but none with the combination of width, height, symmetry, and
grace of the Hanson buck. Its inside spread measures just over 27 inches, and six of the
rack's 10 main points exceed 11 inches.
|He shot the deer on his own
farm, and his rifle, a Winchester Model 88 lever-action with Weaver 4X scope, cost him
$189 in 1970. "No matter how much money you spend, you still have to be in the right
place at the right time," he says.
The "right place" was seven miles north of Biggar, Saskatchewan in the fall of
This close to the northern limit of their range, white-tailed deer attain sizes that you
rarely find stateside. The land is a sea of undulating farm
fields punctuated by tufts of low, wet woodlands that the locals call
sloughs. Hanson farms about 4,500 acres and runs beef cattle on an
additional 1,300 acres of pasture.
Come hunting season, he hunts the same ground he farms; ground
that typically produces bucks that field-dress between 200 and 250
pounds. "You go a little bit north of us and they get way bigger,"
But the buck that the local school bus driver told Milo about was
plenty big enough to keep him and his buddies focused for the first
week of deer season. Milo had the chance to pull the trigger on a
good 10-pointer on Friday, the fifth day of the season, but he held
off, hoping for a chance at the big one that his hunting partner,
Walter Meger, had seen the previous day.
The following Monday, Milo took a day off from hunting to catch
up on farm work, but new snow that night was all it took to convince
him that he'd better be chasing deer Tuesday morning with the rest of
the team: Walter Meger, Rene Igini and John Yaroshko.
Next morning, Walter had just picked up Rene at first light when
they spotted the monster buck standing in a harvested field with two
does. The chase was on.
With temperatures dipping to 30 below and so much prairie real
estate between bucks, this foursome doesn't spend much time in tree
stands. Instead, they drive the roads, glassing for deer, then put
together small drives and try to move bucks toward their standers.
It was on one of those drives when Rene pushed the huge buck into
the open only 100 yards from Milo. His shot brought the buck to its
knees, but it quickly regained its feet and disappeared into timber
450 yards away. While Walter and Rene went to retrieve a truck, Milo
and John moved into the cover where they'd seen the buck disappear.
Milo spotted the buck facing him at only 50 yards, and the next shot
changed the hunter's life forever.
From a hunter's perspective, a buck on the move often looks a lot
bigger than the same buck when he's down, but, as Milo neared the big
buck he noticed that it didn't, as they say, "ground-shrink." By
this time he was trying to control a serious case of the shakes.
"Actually, he was so beautiful I told the other guys it's too bad we
couldn't catch-and-release," recalls the hunter. Milo figured he'd
closed the book on his '93 deer season, but he soon found out he'd
only finished the first chapter.
The following Sunday, Milo's friend, Adam Evashenko, came over to
put the measuring tape on the huge rack. The Boone & Crockett Club's
measuring system is the standard for North American big game, and
when Evashenko finally crunched all the numbers he couldn't believe
what he was seeing. "He finished and said, "Man, this is a world
record!' " recalls Milo. "So we went in the house and had a rum or
two, but I still didn't realize the commotion it would cause."
Within a week, two more of Milo's friends, Bruce Kushner and Jim
Wiebe, also scored the buck. The three differed by a fraction of a
point here and there, but they all agreed on one thing: Milo Hanson
had shot a new world record whitetail.
On Nov. 30, Milo gave Jim Wiebe permission to call North American
Whitetail magazine about the big buck, and life as Milo and his wife
Olive had known it would never be the same.
The first TV crew arrived on Dec. 1, followed closely by two men
from North American Whitetail magazine, who pressured Milo for
exclusive rights to the story. But before they could strike a deal,
Outdoor Life magazine entered the picture.
After 12 hours of negotiations, Milo sold first rights to the
story to North American Whitetail. "We were totally played out and
my wife made them leave," says Milo. "I had to do chores at
But there was little rest for the weary in the Hanson household.
"Every day there were tons of phone calls," he says. Many callers
were looking to cash in on Milo's success. Some wanted to make
reproductions of the antlers, others wanted to reproduce the head on
clothing, and some
were looking to buy the head. Milo says the top offer was $125,000.
About 200 taxidermists called, offering to mount the big buck for
free. Since Milo wanted that honor to stay within the province, he
finally chose Bub Hill of Briercrest, Saskatchewan.
By this time Milo and Olive realized that bucks this big are big
business, so they had their lawyer copyright the Hanson Buck name and
trademark. So far, Milo's buck has been reproduced in bronze, on
canvas and on tee shirts and hats. He's currently cooking up a deal
with Bill Jordan, creator of RealTree camouflage, to have the Hanson
Buck logo on a line of clothing.
Like winning the lottery, shooting the world record whitetail
brings "friends" out of the woodwork, doling out the handshakes and
congratulations, and hoping to make a buck or two from the big buck.
Sometimes it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
But one friendship that remains tried and true involves a Boone &
Crockett scorer from Vermont. Within hours of seeing the Hanson
story on TV, Ron Boucher was on the phone with Milo, giving him some
insight into what it means to shoot the number-one whitetail. "I
just wanted to give him something instead of taking something," says Ron.
Then, purely by chance, Ron was chosen to participate in the
annual B&C measuring session held in Dallas, Texas, in April, 1995.
When he heard that Milo would be bringing his monster whitetail for
official scoring, he made sure that he would be on one of the three
two-man teams tapped to measure it.
When the three-day session was over, the six panelists posted a
final score of 213-5/8, head and shoulders above the Jordan buck, the
current world record that boasted a score of 206-1/8.
"We got to be good friends after that," says Ron, adding that he
travels with Milo every year when the outdoor show season arrives.
For a man who could easily make a living on world-record residuals,
Milo remains remarkably level-headed. "I could be on the road all
the time if I wanted to," he says, adding that he limits his exhibits
to four or five outdoor shows a year.
This year his two-month road show began in Vermont last weekend.
He arrived in Philadelphia last Tuesday, and tonight he and Ron will
pack up and head for Kansas City, Missouri for a show that opens
Tuesday. Late next month he'll be in Des Moines, Iowa, then it's on
to his final show in Minneapolis.
"We've been traveling together for three years," says Ron, who
will be at Milo's side for three of this year's five shows. "It's
interesting to watch people react to seeing him," says Ron, adding
that his celebrated buddy has been recognized all over the country,
from an airport in Boston to a drug store in Springfield, Missouri.
A stunned car wash owner in Rutland, Vermont, refused to allow Milo
to pay to wash his truck.
Considered to be one of the country's top B&C scorers, Ron is
admittedly star-struck by world-class trophies in general and by the
Hanson buck in particular.
"The next best thing to shooting the deer is getting your hands
on it to measure it," he says. "But being good friends with Milo is
'He didn't break it by a little bit...he annihilated it.'
That's Ron Boucher's take on Milo Hanson's world record whitetail
buck. Boucher, a certified Boone & Crockett scorer from Vermont, was
one of six B&C officials who put the tape to the Hanson buck in the
spring of '95. Up to that point, the reigning world champion was the
Jordan buck, killed in Wisconsin in 1914 by James Jordan.
The most widely accepted system for scoring North American big
game trophies, B&C uses an extensive set of measurements to amass a
total score in inches. Antlers can be scored as either "typical" or
"nontypical," depending on their conformation, and the Hanson buck
qualifies as a typical rack.
The Boone & Crockett Club updates its records with official
scoring sessions conducted every three years, but its
dictionary-thick book of all-time records is published only every six
years. New world records are often attained by fractions of an inch,
but to win by the margin attained by the Hanson buck is all but
unheard of in a category as competitive as white-tailed deer.
After the mandatory 60-day drying period, the Hanson buck's final
score came to 213-5/8, more than seven inches greater than the Jordan
buck at 206-1/8.
Elk and moose antlers are, of course, much larger than whitetail
antlers, and North America's trophy sheep are much rarer, but, in
terms of hunter numbers, there's no more coveted trophy on the
continent than the whitetail, North America's most sought-after big
To put Milo Hanson's accomplishment in context, the Jordan buck
had gone unrivaled for 79 years before it was nudged into second
place in 1993. Until then, Larry Gibson's second-place buck was hard
on the Jordan buck's heels with a score of 205.
One of B&C's 800 official scorers, Boucher compares Hanson's feat
to baseball great Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak set in 1941
and still unbeaten today. "What Milo did would be like breaking
DiMaggio's record with 80 games," he says. "He didn't break it by a
little bit. He annihilated it."