British Columbia: Harold Smith Buck Mystery

bc smith buck

Say “Canadian whitetails” and we immediately think of Saskatchewan or Alberta, but southeastern British Columbia has a good population too, and some good bucks. BC is on my bucket list of places to hunt whitetails, and maybe combo for a mule deer, and our TV producers are researching potential opportunities.

During our research I ran across an interesting old story about this BC buck. Is the gigantic non-typical shot more than 60 years ago a whitetail or a muley?  Or maybe a hybrid?

According to research and a blog by Dan Cole: “The Harold Smith buck from British Columbia has a long history of controversy….  Many antler experts and collectors…have long believed it to be a mule deer. For many years the Boone & Crockett club…would not allow the buck to be entered in either…(category because) there was no proof of the deer being of either species.

The buck was harvested in 1951 near Invermere, BC. Whether it was a whitetail or a mule deer, if it had been entered into the record books, it would have taken the top spot for either species for a non-typical in British Columbia. The giant has 32 measurable points with 71 3/8 inches of abnormal points, and it also carries a tremendous outside spread of a 33 1/8 inches! Those are world class numbers whether for mule deer or whitetail. Latest word is the deer will be declared a whitetail by B&C and accepted with an entry score of 279 3/8 inches.”

Just looking at the picture, the buck’s face and profile say, with little doubt, whitetail to me, and probably you too. But Cole says that is misleading because the rack is mounted on a whitetail cape. The antlers also look whitetail to me.

It’s interesting that no people were ever found that may have seen the buck on the ground after the kill, and no apparently no hero photos of the buck and hunter have ever been discovered. Says Cole, “Both could have been deciding factors in what has become one of the whitetail world’s greatest debates.”

2 thoughts on “British Columbia: Harold Smith Buck Mystery

  1. Mike, tremendous deer if mule deer or whitetail. But just looking at the rack itself, I see nothing but whitetail. No way to extract DNA from the antlers or perhaps some residual blood or tissue from the skull cap and put an end to the controversy that way?

    I am really enjoying all the big buck posts of late.

  2. Dr. Weimer’s (hey, my brother is a DVM, so I’m “by proxy”, at least, related to a Dr. Weimer) advice on this buck in 5 easy steps…

    1) See Buck.
    2) Shoot Buck.
    3) Field Dress Buck.
    4) Eat Buck.
    5) Enjoy Buck Mount for Rest of Life.

    Notice I left out “wonder if buck is a hybrid”.
    All kidding aside. I can see where there may be controversy on this rack. It’s a buck that lived in an area inhabited by both species. My point is that I wouldn’t give three hoots, or hollers what exact species the animal is, or not. Shoot first, and then ask God the questions. If you’re lucky enough to score a high spot in a Provincial, or State, or World Record book; sweet! That would be icing on the cake, but it would in no way diminish the enjoyment and shear wonderment of taking such a regal animal in my book. And, if it’s proven to be a hybrid, and this eliminates it from record contention? Well, I think I’ve already expressed my view(s) on that. Cool story any way you slice it.

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