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Iowa youth in the hunt

for white-tailed buck record

by Ken Duke

Hunting Lease

iowa buck 

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Fifteen-year-old Tony Lovstuen of Albia, Iowa, is a very fortunate young hunter. On Sept. 29, Tony was out on a special muzzleloader youth hunt with his dad, Doug, when he killed what appears to be the highest scoring white-tailed buck ever taken by a hunter. Tony was hunting in southern Iowa, just outside Monroe City. It's an area with a big reputation for producing trophy whitetails, but nothing like the buck Tony harvested.

In fact, a lot of serious deer hunters don't know it, but Iowa has produced more Boone and Crockett Club record book deer than any other state: 615 in all. Georgia is so far down that list that only the most optimistic and provincial hunters in our state could even call themselves "trophy" hunters.

The Midwest and South Central Canada are where it's at for big deer. A giant buck in the Peach State wouldn't even warrant a glance in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin or Ohio. Just a couple of years back, a young Ohio bow hunter named Mike Beatty killed a 304-6/8 nontypical whitetail that has sat atop the heap of hunter kills since that time.

But that's about to change with Tony Lovstuen's buck. Lovstuen's giant nontypical green scored a massive 322-4/8 points on the Boone and Crockett Club measuring system. The buck was estimated to have been between 7 and 8 years old and weighed better than 200 pounds.  Tony's buck will undergo a 60-day drying period before being officially judged by a Boone and Crockett scorer. At that time, it's likely that it will score a little less than it green-scored.

Nevertheless, it's almost certain to be the biggest ever harvested by a hunter. That means the Boone and Crockett folks will want to "panel score" the rack and send it before a review committee at the next Boone and Crockett conference.  What Tony Lovstuen can be fairly assured of at this point is that he has taken the biggest whitetail ever killed by a hunter, the biggest ever killed by a muzzleloader and one of the most famous deer of all time.

You see, Lovstuen's deer was a star before Tony ever put the sights on him. Live photos of the deer and its shed antlers were featured in North America Whitetail a few years ago and videotape of the deer has been circulating for some time. Zach claims the video was taken by a person who heard about the trophy, went to the area where the buck had been seen and then got very, very lucky with the camera. According to the artist, the deer was free-ranging and was probably taken in an area with small farms of about 200 acres.

All that remained was for some hunter to get lucky enough to put the sights on him and pull the trigger. Tony Lovstuen was that hunter.  Not only will this deer make Tony Lovstuen famous among serious whitetail hunters, but it just make him and his family a little bit wealthier, as well. The Lovstuens have been unavailable for comment since Tony took the big buck and are apparently negotiating with a number of media sources to sell the exclusive rights to the story.

Gordon Whittington, editor of North American Whitetail, was in Iowa to speak with the Lovstuens earlier this week and says he "expects to have the paperwork giving North American Whitetail the exclusive rights to the story by Friday morning." If that happens, you could be reading the full story there in just a few months.  Meanwhile, the Lovstuens are being very closed-mouth about it all.

Will the Lovstuen buck be a new world record?  Yes, at least among muzzleloader kills. According to the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, the highest scoring nontypical ever taken by a muzzleloader scored 259-7/8, a far cry from Lovstuen's buck.   But although Lovstuen's deer is the biggest ever taken by a hunter using any type of weapon, it's not the largest whitetail in the record books. That title belongs to the "Missouri Monarch," a 333-7/8 buck found dead on the side of a road in 1982 near St. Louis.

In fact, Lovstuen's buck will rank third all-time. Second place belongs to the legendary "Hole in the Horn," another deer found dead, this time in Ohio way back in 1940. Still, it's an enormous whitetail, and it was taken by a very young hunter. Hopefully, the story and the young man who pulled the trigger can bring credit to the sport.