On January 5, 1995, Tony Fulton of Winston County, Mississippi (approximately 80 miles north west of the capitol city of Jackson) was glad that he listened to his wife, Rhonda, when she talked him into going hunting. Since time was short, Tony went to a treehouse that he had built for his son that overlooked a small greenfield. Tony admits that he had not seen a deer on this small field but things were about to change in his life forever.
After sitting for a while, Tony saw a doe as she entered the field but she ran away almost immediately. Shortly thereafter a large buck appeared on the edge of the opening looking for the doe. He was very spooked; however he ran into the field and stopped only 50 yards from Tony. Tony fired one shot with his .30-06 but the buck quickly escaped to the nearby woods.
Tony was aware that this buck had a big rack but only when he found the buck by following the buck's trail by flashlight did he begin to realize just how big..! With an outside spread of 30" and with 48 measurable points, this was some special deer.
The Boone & Crockett Club's scoring system is based on standards that the club established which in essence specifies what a white-tail's antlers "should" look like. Anything that does not fit their standard results in deductions to the final score. The original B&C score on the Fulton Buck came in at 255 6/8, and though this would place the buck high in the B&C records, it was a long way from the top position. Due to the great amount of subjectivity associated with the B&C scoring system, a second opinion was sought and this second, though unofficial B&C score, came in at 329 6/8. Quite a divergence.... 74 points...!! With this level of disparity between two official scorers, B&C officials decided that they would set up a panel of judges and officially rescore the antlers. On June 13, 1998, the official Boone & Crockett score for the Fulton Buck was finalized at 295 6/8. (You will note that the final B&C score still was 40 points higher than the original score, re-emphasizing the subjectivity of the system.)
This final B&C score places the Fulton Buck as the fourth largest buck ever recorded in that system behind two deer that were found dead and recorded as "Picked Up", one in St. Louis County, Missouri (333 7/8) and one in Portage County, Ohio (328 7/8). In the 2000 season, Mike Beatty took a buck in Ohio with archery equipment that officially breaks the 300 point barrier on the B&C system. The Beatty buck, though scoring less than the Fulton buck under the Buckmaster's system, is still the top archery deer. The Buckmasters Full Credit scoring system places the Fulton Buck #2 on the list (see postscript below) at 321 7/8. The St Louis County, Missouri deer scores Buckmasters 314 6/8 and the Portage County, Ohio buck scores Buckmasters 319 4/8. Other than the obvious fact that Buckmasters counts all antler grown, one of the major reasons that Buckmasters' scores are so different from those in B&C is that inside spread or "air" doesn't count as "antler" and is not considered into the score.
Regardless of the scoring system employed, this 3 year saga officially records the Fulton Buck as having the largest antlers ever taken by a hunter. Tony summarizes his success very simply, "I was in the right place at the right time." An understatement if there ever was one..!
In an Ohio marsh in 1989 Lionel Crissman found a carcass of a buck with such unusual antlers that the Boone and Crockett Club said that they could not score the antlers. These antlers are another example of the Buckmasters Full Credit scoring system being a system that measures what nature provided. Following an all day measuring session in January 1998 for two scorers, the "Barnacle Buck", as it was knicknamed, was officially scored at 336 1/8. Though this head was unusual, the BTR scoring system permitted this animal to reach its rightful place in the records of great white-tails as having the largest antlers of any known deer.
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