A Deer called "The General"
We previously featured a story on the BCA Blog detailing the largest set of whitetail antlers in recorded history belonging to the buck dubbed the “Minnesota Monarch.” The “Minnesota Monarch” sported a non-typical rack that scored well into the 300’s but because he was never killed his exact score remains unknown. His sheds were picked up in the early 1990’s, and it is estimated that with an inside spread of 23″ he would have grossed 334″; a truly incredible whitetail. More on the story of the largest non-typical shed antlers ever found here:Minnesota Monarch.
The “Minnesota Monarch” is believed to have been the largest recorded non-typical whitetail in history; but what about the largest typical? Once again, the largest typical ever recorded was never killed by a hunter but rather his sheds were discovered by a rancher in central Nebraska in the late 1950’s. The legendary sheds started as a quiet rumor but the secret quickly spread among antler collectors across the country. In the early years of whitetail hunting, the antler craze did not exist to the extent that it does today. During many early whitetail seasons in North America, the purpose of hunting was more-so to put food on the table rather than tag an animal with massive headgear. In turn, the racks of some of the largest deer known to man were hung on barn walls and tossed under tool benches to be dusted over and forgotten with time. But as stories of these massive antlers spread, collectors began to scour the Midwest like CSI detectives. For four decades the myth behind the buck known as “The General” was just that, a myth. As antler collecting grew in popularity, more and more enthusiasts combed small towns and back-country roads in search of giant antlers from decades ago. As far as we know, “The General” holds the title as carrying the largest typical rack in recorded history and takes the throne above all other typical whitetails. Here is the story of the magnificent animal dubbed “General.”
The legend behind “The General” starts with an Oklahoma outfitter by the name of Tim Condict. Throughout the 1990’s, Tim was establishing his name as a top whitetail outfitter by claiming prime new hunting turf across the Midwest and the central United States. His search of new land leases took him to the big buck producing state of Nebraska where legendary whitetails like the Del Austin buck, scoring in at a whopping 279 7/8 and Vernon Virkas typical 199 5/8, were harvested. Nebraska has always been a hotbed for growing massive whitetail deer but what is relatively unknown is that Nebraska did not even have a deer season until the fall of 1958. Prior to that, the herd had been near decimated after settlers expanded across the region in the 1800’s.
As the story goes, Tim was networking his way across the state and digging for info on big buck hotbeds when the friend of a relative informed him of a set of sheds that had been picked up by a farmer years ago. Tim had no idea that what he was about to uncover would not only go into the books as the largest set of typical sheds but the largest typical whitetail of all time. When Tim pulled into the rancher’s driveway, he was unsure whether the story actually held water or if it was simply another wild goose chase across the heartland. Well, he was blown away after being led to a small room in the ranchers home where tacked to a wall in front of him was the holy grail of shed antlers. The massive 6×6 frame hung obtrusively from the wall above his head. The long sweeping 32″ main beams were fastened to a plaque with wood screws and although they were nearly 40 years old, they remained in excellent condition. The set tallied an estimated net score of 210 3/8″ (107 1/8 & 103 2/8). Assuming that the buck sported a 23″ spread, which is entirely likely, his gross score would have measured over 233″! After calculating deductions, the minimum net score of the General is estimated at 222 3/8″ of antler which eclipses the Milo Hanson Buck by 9″. It is actually estimated by many that his net would have reached into the high 220’s.
The story goes that the rancher was tending to a calf in the spring or 1959 when he noticed one side of the set dangling from some brush not far from where he sat. As he approached, he saw the matching side laying on the ground only a few feet away. Tim claims that he asked the rancher if he had ever seen the buck in person, which he replied “Yes, there were three of them back in ’58. All of them were about the same size.” Now, this sounds like a stretch but what if? Imagine the stars aligning and three bucks of world class caliber living in the same area at the same time. If weather conditions were ideal, hunting pressure was non-existent, and genetics were prime, why not? It is far-fetched, but it is also entirely possible.
Both potential world records, typical and non-typical, were not killed by hunters and this adds to their legend and nostalgia. These incredible animals will likely be topped one day by hunter harvested whitetails but for the time being they stand alone at the top of the heap as the ones that got away, and that is exactly the way it should be.