Buck certified as state record
Little did Kevin "Ziggy" Thomas expect to make national news when he stepped out onto a bean field north of his Sweet Springs home for the Nov. 10 opening of firearms deer season.
That's exactly what happened, though, even before Thomas, 31, reached his deer stand. He was walking across the field at approximately 6:40 a.m. when a whitetail deer stepped out in front of him. It took just one shot to drop a 37-point buck in his tracks some 50 yards away.
"It wasn't until after he downed the deer before he became excited," said Jack McConnell of Willard, regional director for Buckmasters Trophy Records, in a statement released certifying the deer as a new Missouri standard. "He wasn't aware this deer existed and was totally stunned by what just occurred."
The deer was officially measured on Nov. 18 by McConnell and BTR official scorer Parker Stapp of North Greenfield. The official mark was 293.5 inches, with a composite of 303.0 inches. The impressive rack carries 53.2 percent of irregular, or non-typical, antler and -- as the Democrat-News reported Nov. 13 -- measures 22 inches high on the left and 21 inches on the right, with a spread of 22.5 inches of antler across the base.
Currently, the buck is the No. 1 whitetail deer ever harvested in the state, beating out the one harvested last year by Randy Simonitch.
Nationally, Thomas' trophy ranks No. 2 in the BTR in the modern rifle category -- beating out Mike Gatlin's 222.75-inch haul from Seward County, Kan., in '97 -- behind only the one recorded on Jan., 5, 1995, by Tony Fulton in Winston County, Miss.