King's Outdoor World
Story of the Record Francis Fink Whitetail Deer

Fink Buck
Image from Kings 2001 Whitetail Calendar

Francis Fink Deer

  • Score: 256 1/8 Non-Typical B&C
  • Hunter: Francis Fink
  • Location: Marshall Co., South Dakota
  • Date: 1948
  • Points: 18 x 13
  • South Dakota State Whitetail Deer Record Non-Typical

The typical gross score is 195 5/8, and is of a 4x4 typical pattern.  That gives you an idea how huge the rack is!

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.

Opening 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 king!

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 "crown"!

While venison was the main concern, Francis fortunately chopped the horns off and saved them. The rack then hung In obscurity in a relative’s 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 Roitsch’s 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 5’s 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 here’s 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 Dakota’s 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. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 40 years to see it!

"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)"

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