Gerald Almy

Gerald Almy

The year 2018 marked a milestone for sportsmen. November 23 was the 25th anniversary of a momentous occurrence in deer hunting history. That was the year when Canadian farmer Milo Hanson harvested a 213 5/8-inch Boone & Crockett typical whitetail, setting a new world record.

The buck broke a record the Jordan buck had held for close to 80 years. Now 25 years have passed without another deer knocking it off its throne, confirming just how incredible this massive 14-point typical was.

For younger hunters who weren’t around and didn’t read the accounts back when Hanson connected on his amazing deer, here’s the true account of how that buck was harvested. Milo was gracious enough to tell me the story of how he bagged the great buck during a telephone interview. Here it is, with details straight from the record holder’s mouth.

First, a bit of background. Milo lives in a remote agricultural area of northern Saskatchewan. Farming is a quiet life, so he looks forward to getting together with his neighbors for the deer season each fall. Sometimes he hunts alone, but often he meets with a few friends and they put on drives through the wood lots and brushy ravines dotting the Canadian farmland.

A hunter all his life, Hanson is well aware of the superb quality of the area’s genetics and habitat. The soil he farms doesn’t just grow good crops, it also grows some of the world’s largest deer.

“We have ideal whitetail habitat,” says Hanson. “It’s mostly fields and rolling terrain with a mix of cover – ravines, tall willow patches, aspens and brush. Each quarter section probably has a third of its land in low areas with cover. That’s where the big bucks hang out. There are plenty of good places for them to hide.”

There’s also no shortage of food for the large-bodied Canadian whitetails. “On our farm we grow canola, wheat and barley. There’s also alfalfa and a few pea fields. They graze on a little of this, a bite of that.”

Milo isn’t a trophy hunter and wasn’t preoccupied with finding the biggest deer in the world. But like most of his neighbors and friends back in 1993, he was intrigued by an elusive buck that had been sighted in the area with long main beams and a super-wide spread.

“A neighbor of mine got a shot at him on opening morning, but missed cleanly,” Hanson said. “That just made him more of a challenge.”

“We hunted him for nine straight days, but conditions were tough. We saw him twice, but couldn’t get a shot. We had no fresh snow, so we would lose his tracks after a while.”

The situation changed for the better on the night of Nov. 22. “That night we had new snow,” recalls Hanson. “It also turned real cold. The next morning, it was about 15 below zero. Conditions were perfect.”

Early that morning, John Yaroshko and Hanson teamed up with Walter Meger and Rene Igini. The hunters were excited, because they had seen the huge deer entering a willow thicket.

Three hunters spread out around the perimeter of the willow thicket while Rene found the buck’s tracks in the new snow and followed him through the cover. Hounding him like a beagle on the scent of a rabbit, Igini pushed and pushed. Finally his persistence paid off.

Just ahead, at the end of the willow patch, the buck burst out at a full gallop. Bullets flew wildly, but the buck escaped unscathed.

As the morning unfolded, they relocated the big whitetail and pushed him out again. This time the deer ran past Milo and John. Both hunters fired and missed as the buck ran broadside, 150 yards away.

Heading toward the area where it ran, Milo caught a glimpse of the deer’s massive antlers in a willow thicket. He couldn’t see the body for a shot, but soon it broke out in a hard run, 100 yards away. Aiming through the 4X scope he squeezed the trigger of his .308 Winchester lever-action and the bullet connected, hitting the deer.

“He went down,” says Hanson, “but got back up and ran over to an aspen bluff.”

Racing toward the spot, Milo peered down and saw the buck in the timber. Aiming carefully, he held on the buck’s shoulder and squeezed the trigger.

The biggest typical in history was down for good. Not wanting to take chances, Milo fired a final insurance shot to anchor the deer.

It was a group effort, but finally Milo and his neighbors had taken the huge-racked deer – a whitetail for the history books.

The animal carried 14 long symmetrical points and had a 27-inch spread, topped off with incredible mass. Amazingly, the buck was aged at just 4 ½ years, and Milo said the body was not particularly large compared to other typical area bucks.

“I never thought about a world record when we walked up to the buck. I did figure he’d win all the local contests around here.”

“For the first week, no one brought up the possibility of the buck being a record. Then my friend, Adam Evasenko, came back from a moose hunt. He measures the local deer for hunters. He said: ‘You’ve got a possible world record.’”

Following the 60-day drying out period, a trio of scorers measured the buck at 213 5/8 B&C net. It had 28 4/8-inch main beams, and amazingly only 3 1/8 inches of abnormal points. Hanson’s buck broke the record held by the Jordan buck for nearly eight decades by over 7 inches.

Two and a half decades later, his record still stands.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.