iowa knife handle buckSome bucks and stories are legendary. This is one of them:

Back in the early 1970s out in Iowa, a man stopped and asked a farmer for permission to fish and trap turtles in his ponds. As they talked, the guy noticed a huge pile of sheds inside a nearby barn. The farmer told the man he could have them all, except for the one side of a gigantic rack with 8 long points. The farmer was saving that one for a friend who used deer tines to make knife handles.


At this point in the story, accounts vary. Some say the turtle trapper picked up both sides from the pile, and found them to be nearly identical. Others aren’t so sure the farmer had both sides of rack.

Years later, Tom Sexton, a taxidermist and sculptor, heard the turtle trapper’s tale and somehow ran across the unbelievably huge half rack. Tom decided to re-create the other side and the entire rack just so hunters could see how one Iowa giant might have been the world-record typical.

Tom had to make some suppositions, but his recreation shows that the rack, if somewhat symmetrical and typical, could have grossed more than 240 inches and, after even a good amount of deductions, net-scored a whopping 230 or so!

That buck lived 50 years ago and I wonder: How many hunters had seen him in the wild…how did the deer die…whatever became of the other side of that rack, probably just rotted away to dust in the woods? We’ll never know those things, but one thing I say with reasonable certainty: If that buck had had beams that matched anywhere close, and had a hunter killed him legally and ethically, he would have been the world-record typical whitetail forever. That legendary Iowa deer could have been a good 15 inches larger of rack than Milo’s 213 5/8″ giant, the current record typical that has stood for more than 20 years.