GALLATIN, Tenn. — All that's left for a 27-year-old Tennessee man to claim the official world record for a whitetail deer is the certification from the Boone and Crockett Club.
Stephen Tucker of Gallatin killed the trophy buck with a muzzleloader in November in rural Sumner County, but a 60-day drying-out period had to take place to allow for possible shrinkage of the antlers.
That period ended Monday, and a Boone and Crockett panel of four judges measured the 47-point rack, giving the deer a score of 312/8.
That is larger than the non-typical current net world record of 307/8; from that Tony Lovstuen in Albia, Iowa, killed in 2003. That deer had 38 points.
Official certification won’t take place until the Boone and Crockett awards banquet in 2019.
"I just tried not to think about whether it was the world record or not during the drying out period," Tucker said. "The last week was probably the worst part of the whole time. I didn't want to get myself real worked up about it because I didn't want to be let down if it wasn't the record. I just kept telling myself, 'It's going to be what it's going to be.' "
Tucker said he killed the deer on a farm his family has leased for 40 years.
Deer racks are measured from several angles at the farthest points using the official Boone and Crockett scoring method.
A non-typical rack is asymmetrical and does not have the same number of points on each side like a typical rack.
The measurement took place at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Tucker was allowed to watch. It took nearly four hours to complete.
"I figured it would take them a pretty good while to measure is," Tucker said. "The waiting wasn't too bad until they walked out of the room to go tally it up. That's when I realized it was close. We were about to find something out for sure."
Dale Grandstaff, captain of the agency's District 21 and also a Boone and Crockett judge, never expected to measure a rack as large as Tucker's deer.
"I never thought I would ever see this in Tennessee," Grandstaff said. "Actually, I never thought I would see one over 300 inches."
Grandstaff said he would notify Boone and Crockett of the pending world record score later Monday.
Tucker then will be invited to the Boone and Crockett awards banquet in spring 2019, where a panel of two judges will re-score the antlers, Grandstaff said. The date and site for the awards banquet has not been set yet.
Also Monday, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency declared the deer a new state record. It beat the record that Dave Wachtel set in 2000 in Sumner County; his deer grossed 256 pounds and netted 244⅜.
Grandstaff scored the antlers the day Tucker killed the deer and said he was very conservative with his measurements at that time.
"I knew there were places that it would possibly gain with this measurement because I was so conservative with it in November," Grandstaff said. "I did that so that nobody would get their feelings hurt if it didn't make it.
"It did shrink a little bit here and there, but the thing that was amazing to me was that we as a group put our minds together and scored it. And my deductions from the typical frame and the deductions from the typical frame today were exactly the same at 4⅞ as they were for that first measurement."
Tucker’s deer weighed about 150 pounds and was estimated to be 3½ years old.
He shot the deer from about 40 yards away. Tucker said he had the deer processed and plans to eat its meat.
Tucker said he has not yet decided what he will do with the antlers, which could be worth more than $100,000.
"I'm just going to go with the flow," Tucker said. "To be honest, I was waiting for this (score) before I put a lot of thought into it. ...
"All the phone calls and stuff had slowed down quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. I'm sure it will pick back up again after this," he said.
Tucker said he will likely have a replica of the antlers made that could be put on display.