The General: Legendary whitetail deer that holds the title for the largest recorded typical rack in history
"The General" is a legendary whitetail deer that holds the title for the largest recorded typical rack in history. Although he was never harvested by a hunter, his sheds were discovered by a rancher in central Nebraska in the late 1950s, sparking the fascination of antler collectors across the country. During that era, hunting focused more on procuring food rather than pursuing deer with massive antlers. As a result, many remarkable racks were left forgotten and overlooked. However, as the popularity of antler collecting grew, enthusiasts scoured small towns and rural areas in search of these hidden treasures. "The General" emerged as the pinnacle among typical whitetails, reigning above all others.
The story of "The General" begins with Tim Condict, an Oklahoma outfitter who sought new hunting territory across the Midwest and central United States in the 1990s. His quest led him to Nebraska, a state known for producing large whitetail bucks, including notable specimens like the Del Austin buck scoring an impressive 279 7/8 and Vernon Virkas's typical buck at 199 5/8. Nebraska's deer population had faced significant decline in the 1800s due to settlers expanding across the region. Interestingly, the state did not even have a deer season until the fall of 1958.
While networking in Nebraska, Tim received a tip from a friend of a relative about a farmer who had discovered a remarkable set of shed antlers years earlier. Uncertain if the story held merit, Tim visited the rancher's home, where he was led to a small room. There, hanging prominently on the wall, he beheld the holy grail of shed antlers. The massive 6x6 frame, with its long 32-inch main beams, remained in excellent condition despite being nearly four decades old. The set of sheds, estimated to net score 210 3/8 inches (107 1/8 and 103 2/8), represented not only the largest typical shed antlers but also the largest typical whitetail deer in history. Assuming a likely spread of 23 inches, the gross score would surpass 233 inches. After accounting for deductions, "The General" was estimated to have a minimum net score of 222 3/8 inches, surpassing the Milo Hanson Buck by 9 inches. Some estimates even placed his net score in the high 220s.
According to the rancher's account, he stumbled upon one side of the shed set while tending to a calf in the spring of 1959. As he approached, he discovered the matching side lying on the ground a few feet away. When Tim inquired whether the rancher had seen the buck in person, the rancher claimed that there were three bucks of similar size in the area back in '58. While this may sound far-fetched, the possibility of three world-class caliber bucks inhabiting the same region simultaneously cannot be entirely dismissed. If ideal weather conditions, minimal hunting pressure, and favorable genetics aligned, such a scenario is not entirely implausible.
Both the non-typical "Minnesota Monarch" and the typical "The General" attained their legendary status as potential world records without being harvested by hunters. Their allure and mystique stem from their elusiveness and the nostalgia of what could have been. While it is likely that these incredible animals will eventually be surpassed by hunter-harvested whitetails, for now, they remain at the top of the record books as the ones that got away—and that is precisely how it should be.