|In 1948 Francis Fink was 21 years old and
just back from the Army. When he came home he looked forward to doing some deer hunting
with his pals. Deer hunting was only in its second year (in modern times) in eastern South
Dakota. When the season rolled around, Francis went out with two of his hunting buddies.
The men were hunting an area near the town of Britton, in Marshall Country, toting
shotguns. Shotguns loaded with buckshot or slugs were all that was legal in eastern South
Dakota then. As Francis and his pals were primarily hunting just to put meat on the table,
the whitetail buck they had previously seen, which waxed fat in the field of Marshall
County, fit the bill perfectly. After the buck was killed he was never aged. However, it
would appear that he got as big as he was from living for many years in an area of good
soil and crops with a closed deer season in effect.
day, the three men hunted hard and were finally rewarded when they spotted the huge
non-typical walking out of a slough, where he had bedded with a large group of does. It
was getting late in the day and good shooting light was fast fading away. The buck was now
standing 100 yards away on a small hill with his does, and Francis later recalled that the
buck "looked just like a king!"
Francis took aim with his old 12-gauge shotgun and
carefully squeezed the trigger. The big slug found its mark, and the huge buck dropped in
its tracks. Francis finished him off with another shot, then walked up to the enormous
whitetail lying in the snow. The "king" of Britton was dead
.long live the
Francis had his supply of meat and quite a lot at that!
Although the deer was not officially weighed, the hunters estimated its field-dressed
weight to be in excess of 300 pounds! To look at the immense size and weight of the
antlers, it must have taken a deer of that size to support such a massive
While venison was the main concern, Francis fortunately
chopped the horns off and saved them. The rack then hung In obscurity in a relatives
trapping shed for over four decades before they were officially measured. Dave Boland, a
dedicated Boone & Crockett Club official measurer, scored the rack, and came up with a
score of 256 1/8 non-typical, which will place it in the number one spot in the state, a
new state record by seven points! (The old state record is Jerry Roitschs tremendous
249 1/8 non-typical.)
When one first view the rack, the overall impression is
that it would score higher than it does. This is mainly due to the fact that the rack is
only a basic 4 x 4 typical frame. Whereas, most antlers of large size are 5 x 5s or
better, one can see that this greatly reduces the score, although there is nothing too
shabby about a 256 plus score.
Besides the 7 downward projecting points, the fact that
most strikes one about this rack is its incredible massiveness. The base measures 7 5/8
around on the right side and would have been as big on the left side if a piece of antler
base had not been chipped off another thing that lowered the score. Huge
circumferences are carried out through the rack, clear to the beam tips and points. There
are 31 points over one inch in length (18 on the right antler and 13 on the left). The
antlers tally 195 5/8 inches (again, the typical portion of the rack is a 4 x 4) before
deductions, and "nets" a fantastic 187 1/8 typical points with 69 inches of
abnormal points added for a total of 256 1/8. Another interesting point is that when the
buck was field-dressed, it was discovered he only had one testicle, which may account for
the odd shape of the rack.
And heres another one of those "ifs" that
we deer hunting fans love to talk about: If this buck would have been measured some time
during the first ten years after it was killed, in all probability it would have placed
number three in the world for Boone & Crockett! It is currently number seventeen.
South Dakotas hunters still enjoy great hunting for
trophy deer within the borders, and we are overdue for another of these mammoth
non-typicals to be killed. Lets hope we dont have to wait another 40 years to
"This article is reprinted from Boone and Crockett Club's Big Game Awards book with
permission of the Boone and Crockett Club, 250 Station Dr., Missoula, MT
59801 (406/542-1888)" www.boone-crockett.org