North Carolina “Record” Buck Allegedly Fake, Antlers “Screwed On”
OutdoorHub Reporters 09.22.15
The excitement over a massive 27-point buck that could have been North Carolina’s newest record non-typical soon soured after wildlife officials questioned where the rack came from.
The deer was reportedly harvested last Wednesday in Surry County by a hunter named Nick Davis, and was measured by Joey Thompson, an official scorer for the NC Bowhunters Association, at a gross score of 223 1/8 inches and a net score of 208 2/8 inches. It was a massive buck, but photos of the deer drew skepticism rather than praise.
Many who saw the picture of Davis with his pristine rack commented that the antlers were too white to have come from a live deer. This drew the attention of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). On Monday, Thompson reported that wildlife officers called him and determined that the rack was not from North Carolina. Apparently, it was not from the deer shown in the picture either—the measurer told North Carolina Sportsman that the rack had come from a deer hunted in Pennsylvania and was screwed onto the skull plate of a recently taken 3-pointer.
“Wardens had him confess. Antlers were from Pennsylvania,” Thompson said. “(They) went to his house; they were getting overwhelmed with calls and had to check it out.”
OutdoorHub contacted the NCWRC for confirmation and was told that no buck is currently under consideration for the state record. Officials did not give out specifics on the investigation.
Davis originally contacted Thompson to score the deer last Thursday and allegedly covered the base of the antlers with deer hide to trick the seasoned measurer. Davis then contacted North Carolina Sportsman and requested an interview.
“[The buck] got three little strips of velvet left, about an eight-of-an-inch wide by 4 to 6 inches long, and they’re in places where he couldn’t get to to rub off,” Davis told the publication. “He had a couple of places on his horns that were scratched real bad, like he’d been caught up on a barbed-wire fence, and one of the trails I found he was using crossed a barbed-wire fence.”
Photos of the rack show it to be almost bone white. Davis also initially claimed that the deer was killed with a bow, yet Thompson reported that wildlife officials later found that the animal was killed using a rifle.
“To everyone in the NC woods, I am in regret to inform you of the deer I took pride in measuring on Thursday night as it was not a NC deer,” the measurer wrote on Facebook. “I am very upset over this as I felt it was legitimate and legal. I am very thankful [to] the NCWRC for the hard work and for protecting the deer we hunt. I want to apologize for the hunters of NC for the problems we face as we spend numerous hours away from our loved ones in pursuit of the big deer we chase. I’m in shock and I’m sorry for misinforming NC of a potential State Record.”
Allegations of a hoax also drew condemnation from other hunters, such as Tony Hansen, author of Brow Tines and Backstrap.
“It’s a hoax. And I’m not one bit surprised. Disgusted? Sure. But not surprised,” he wrote on RealTree’s website.
“Just days ago North Carolina was buzzing about this awesome buck that was harvested in Surry County, NC,” wrote John MacPherson of 704 Outdoors. “Everyone wanted to see the pictures, everyone wanted to know all the details and what this youngster was doing to grow such a monster in North Carolina. Now the heart breaking news has been released. The Nicholas Davis Buck is not a North Carolina Deer.”
MacPherson added that the news was a “slap in the face” to sportsmen in the state.
North Carolina wildlife officials have not commented on whether Davis faces any charges for the deer.