Maine’s 110-Year-Old Whitetail Record: Story Behind the ‘Mystery Buck’

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Laura College on Unsplash

For years, Maine has had the same buck holding down the record for the largest whitetail in the state. For 110 years and counting, the buck is still going strong.

The buck, known as the Gould buck, has the greatest accumulation of circumference of any deer recorded in Maine. It was over 70 inches and is thought to be the biggest buck head ever recorded by Boone & Crocker.

It had 31 scoreable points and still ranks No.1 in the MASTC’s Nontypical category. This 200-inch deer turned out to be a lot more than a record-breaker. It was also a legend with quite the story.

Story Behind the Buck

In 1910 Hill Gould set out in the Grand Lake Stream area of Northern Maine for a typical day of hunting with his twin brother.

During this time, hunting was more about meat than anything else. When hunters shot a huge buck, they were excited about having more meat available. Now, hunting has become more of a sport, and finding the largest bucks with the tallest, most expansive antlers has become a prize of its own.

In fact, after hunting a deer, the antlers were never a priority.

“Antlers weren’t a priority. We would just cut them off and keep them in the barn, then give them away to the sports who came up from out of state,” Louie Caltado, Gould’s grandson said.

When his grandfather was sitting in a shallow part of a river. Suddenly, a massive animal came charging past him. At first, the sheer size made Gould believe it was a moose. He hesitated since moose were out of season and it would be against the rules to kill one.

After getting a better look, he realized it was in fact just a massive buck. He shot the buck and went over to inspect the massive whitetail. Since he had a one-mile hike to camp, so he just cut the deer open to grab a few organs to show his family back home.

After showing his family, they went back the next day with a canoe in order to float the massive animal down the river.

A Deer that Hopped Around

Cataldo recalled that it was originally scored as a 50 point buck. Back then, anything you could hang a wedding ring on was a point.

Gould was offered $50 for the head by a sporting camp nearby. It vanished for a bit, jumping from person to person. Then, however, it resurfaced in the ’80s in the hands of an official scorer for the Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club.

This is where it was truly declared record-breaking. From here, it moved on from a banquet then it was acquired by Bass Pro Shops for their King of Bucks collection. It was a deer that saw it all.

Biggest Buck Recorded

Gould’s buck is the ultimate tale, especially for those in Maine. However, recently a new record was placed a year ago for the nation as a whole.

Luke Brewster killed the largest nontypical whitetail deer ever taken by a hunter. Brewster hunted the deer in the 40 acres his family owns in eastern Illinois.

He referred to the huge deer as “Mufasa” for his gnarled mane. Brewster used to envision sending his friends a picture with the caption, “Call me Scar … because I just killed Mufasa.”

He ended up surpassing the previous record held by Stephen Tucker in 2016. The official measurement was 327 7/8 inches. It also surpassed the 2000 Pope and Young all-time world record by a whopping 33 inches.

H/T: Outdoor Life, Field & Stream