When Milo Hanson made headlines with his record-breaking Boone & Crockett typical buck on the morning of Nov. 23, 1993, it was a huge feat – not just because the 213 5/8-inch buck was bigger than James Jordan’s 206 1/8-inches (which had held the world record since 1914), but also because it hadn’t been seriously contested in such a long time. His feat was indeed remarkable.
North American Whitetail was happy to give him headlines. In fact, our Feb. 1994 issue broke this incredible news, sending shock waves throughout the deer industry. In stunning fashion, the upper limit of typical net antler growth on whitetails had just been redefined.
Because I didn’t expect Hanson’s record to last this long. I assumed that by now someone else would have usurped him. Maybe more than one.
Back in 1995, I told Hanson that myself. We were at a restaurant in Dallas celebrating the fact that his deer had just achieved a new record by a panel of B&C measurers. I remember telling Hanson that I didn’t think the record would last long for ten years. Because so many huge sheds were being found, especially in the Midwest, I believed it was pretty likely that a deer netting above 213 5/8 would emerge in the near future.
Sure, a bigger buck could be on his way to a taxidermist someplace as I write these words. But even if he is, the Hanson buck has held the No. 1 spot far longer than I expected.
The events surrounding this story two decades ago were unique in whitetail history, and certainly one of several noteworthy events in our magazine’s coverage of world-class whitetails.
It’s all about chasing the big bucks
Since Hanson is a farmer living outside Biggar, few people would have heard of him if it weren’t for what happened on Nov. 23, 1993. He and some friends were doing deer drives that day. A certain large buck had been spotted in the area before the season began and a few men had shots at him. However, Hanson’s shot was the one that connected in the end.
It might not seem like an appropriate story for the greatest typical buck of all time, but that’s how it happened. It would have been easy for Hanson to fabricate a wild story about patterning the buck, only to acquire him after using (fill in the blank) product, but he didn’t. He told the story as it happened, and hasn’t wavered since then.
It would have been easy for the hunter to realize he had a record-breaker with a deer of this magnitude. However, Hanson wasn’t knowledgeable about antler scoring. Not only did he not realize he had shot a potential record, he did not even take serious precautions to protect his trophy. His deer hung in a storage building on the farm for eight days without a lock.
It was clear that the buck was around 4 and a half years old; his teeth indicating he had not been exposed to extended wear. His size wasn’t huge either, like some older deer of the prairie provinces. This made it so that while his typical frame had grown to an impressive size, there were no additional score-reducing aberrations on its rack. He showed up at just the right time for the hunter who was able to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Taking the story to the next level
Eventually, word of the deer reached local whitetail enthusiast Jim Wiebe. Dec. 1 On the morning Dec. 1, Wiebe called our office at NAW to report he felt his neighbor had taken a 6×6 that seem to set a new world record for B&C. When I received that call, I shared the news with NAW publisher Steve Vaughn. In two hours, we were on our way to Saskatoon from Atlanta.
We, Jim, Steve and I, had the chance to meet Hanson, his wife Olive and a few of his hunting cohorts. It was delightful being in their presence – especially when we saw the huge deer they had shot! Its head and cape laid on the floor and that alone showed us it had the potential to beat Jordan Buck’s record. We stayed over 12 hours there that day but never needed a measuring tape; the deer spoke for itself – a history-making moment.
In additionally to the rack’s stupendous size and symmetry, there was a wad of electrical tape between the left brow and G-2 tines. Milo’s Winchester Model 88 bullet had hit the back of the beam, cracking it significantly. It had not broken off, but it was clearly damaged. On one push, the buck had run away. A .308 Winchester bullet had struck the beam as it was running away. The tape was there to ensure that it did not break off.
The temperature that day at the Hanson farm was very cold by my Southern standards; I had only a jacket and western boots, no gloves. Nevertheless, I asked permission to take some photos of Milo with the deer’s caped head and he obliged. As soon as we left the farm that evening, we had as agreement for North American Whitetail to publish its first print feature. While rushing back to Atlanta, I wrote the story and it was featured in our February 1994 special collector’s issue with one of my photographs of Milo with the deer on the cover. This issue became one of our greatest successes and soon enough people throughout the whitetail world recognized who Milo Hanson was.
When I recall it now, the Hanson Buck saga was a simpler affair than it seemed during the investigation. Similar to today, tracking down information on record-breaking deer was highly desirable. I got word of this incredible animal by telephone, not text or social media—communication moved at a lesser rate in those days. Our magazine was in a prime position to gain the story for our readers; we were equipped with an impressive reputation for providing comprehensive coverage of large whitetails and were not shy about getting on a flight at a moment’s notice. Needless to say, it all worked out nicely.
The cold day in 1993, when our friendship was established, was the start of something special. The bond between us is still strong, and I’m always welcome in his home and he in mine. He wore the B&C crown with poise and dignity, representing hunting well from the beginning. It was inevitable that someone would one day overtake him – it’s just a question of when. But at this point, it’s still yet to be seen. His buck may hold the highest position for a further twenty years or maybe even longer; I’ve given up on attempting to forecast when a larger trophy could arise.
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