The chase for the new Pope and Young non-typical state record took an interesting twist in mid-January when A.J. Downs of Conroe learned that Robert Taylor of Aubry had stepped to the plate with a world-class whitetail buck–taken on a 4.7-acre tract of land–that may challenge for the title as the highest scoring non-typical ever taken by a bowhunter in Texas.
That may come as a surprise to a lot of folks, mainly because the Downs buck is such a warhorse.
Taken on Sept. 29, opening day of the 2012-13 Archery Only season, the enormous 28 pointer has been officially scored at 263 1/3 gross and 253 3/8 net. That’s nearly two feet larger than the former record, which stood for roughly 21 months.
Pope and Young is the official records keeper for North American big game animals taken by archers on open range. In early January, the organization recently issued Downs an official certificate of acceptance on the rack’s final score after a mandatory 60-day drying period. The deer was officially scored last November by Randy Reeves, an official Boone and Crockett scorer, and Bob Sweisthal, one of the longest standing P&Y scorers in the state.
Downs, 39, arrowed the monster buck while hunting on a 12,000-acre open range lease that gobbles up real estate in San Jacinto and Liberty counties. He made the killing shot at a distance of 15 yards.
The amazing buck sports one of those classical East Texas “starburst” racks. You know, the type that looks as if someone strapped a stick of dynamite to each antler and lit the fuse.
Big, thick points protrude upward, downward and at other odd directions. All total, the deer managed to grow 118 4/8 inches of abnormal antler off a basic eight-point frame that scores in the mid-140s all by itself.
The former P&Y non-typical state record belongs to Thomas Friedkin. The Friedkin buck, a 19 pointer, was killed in 2010 in Dimmit County. The official score on that deer is 229 6/8 net.
Downs’ buck isn’t just a potential new Texas state record by P&Y standards. It also is the highest scoring non-typical entered nationally during P&Y’s last two-year recording period. Even more impressive is the fact it currently ranks No. 9 of all-time among non-typicals entered in the P&Y registry since the club was founded in 1961. The deer also ranks among the top scoring B&C non-typicals entered during the last three year recording period.
How the Taylor buck will fit into all of this remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain. The wicked looking 42-pointer is making some major league rumbles across Grayson County that are stronger than any since Jeff Duncan arrowed a former state record scoring 225 7/8 there in 2001.
Adding to the mystique of this fairy tale hunting story are the fact Taylor killed the buck, his first ever with a bow and arrow, off a tiny 4.7 acre spread he owns adjacent to Lake Ray Roberts.
Like the Downs buck, the Taylor deer is “stud duck” in every respect. The basic eight-point frame sprouted a ton of abnormal bone totaling a remarkable 121 7/8 inches. According to measurements turned over to the Texas Big Game Awards by official B&C scorers Jennifer Barrow and Eric Stanosheck, the gross “green” score on the rack is 256 3/8, 249 2/8 “green” net.
Green scores are tallied ahead of a mandatory 60-day drying period required before racks can be officially scored for Pope and Young or Boone and Crockett records. Taylor’s buck will be eligible for official re-scoring in early March. That’s when we’ll know for sure how it stacks up against the Downs deer.
The Downs buck will be panel judged right along side some of North America’s other top scoring big game animals just ahead of the Pope and Young Club’s 28th Biennium Awards Banquet and Convention set for April 10-13 in Dallas.
The panel judging, which will take place Feb. 28 – March 2 at Cabelas in Ft. Worth, will include animals in 34 P&Y categories. According to P&Y policy, the panel judging is done in order “to verify the accuracy of the measurements involved on these ‘top end’ specimens.”
P&Y’s Glen Hisey says Taylor has been invited to bring his deer to Cabelas, as well, where it will be officially taped by an P&Y scorer.
While the 4 1/8-inch margin dividing these two Texas giants might sound like a lot, it is important to remember we are not talking about a couple of slick 10 pointers, here. Instead, we are looking at a pair of 250-inch racks that look as if they have been in a train wreck. One miscalculation, one bad judgement call or one wrong measurement can result in a bunch of ground gained or lost in a hurry on a deer of this caliber.
Both sets of original scorers say they are confident their numbers are rock solid and will hold up. If that’s the case, then the owner of the P&Y non-typical state record has already been decided.
Only time will tell the true tale of the tape. –Matt Williams