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Spurgeon buck

 
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NVPete
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Apr-26-17, 
04:52 AM (MST)
"Spurgeon buck"

At 233 and 6/8" measurement, would this be a new-world record typical mule deer buck? I read that it was disallowed because of the person who submitted the buck? I wonder how many more would be near world records that are on someone's wall or gathering dust in an old barn or attic?

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Spurgeon b...  Hawkeye      Apr-26-17   1 
 RE: Spurgeon b...  buckhorn      Apr-26-17   2 
  RE: Spurgeon b...  dirtygrass      Apr-26-17   3 
   RE: Spurgeon b...  Stillwater1...      Apr-26-17   4 
 RE: Spurgeon b...  buckhorn      Apr-26-17   5 
 RE: Spurgeon b...  rmanwill      Apr-26-17   6 
  RE: Spurgeon b...  nripepi      Apr-26-17   7 
   RE: Spurgeon b...  toklat      Apr-26-17   8 
 RE: Spurgeon b...  NVPete      Apr-26-17   9 
  RE: Spurgeon b...  Homer      Apr-30-17   10 
   RE: Spurgeon b...  Stubaby      Apr-30-17   11 
    RE: Spurgeon b...  Tristate      May-01-17   12 
     RE: Spurgeon b...  toklat      May-01-17   13 
      RE: Spurgeon b...  elkassassin      May-01-17   14 
       RE: Spurgeon b...  elkassassin      May-01-17   15 
        RE: Spurgeon b...  elkassassin      May-01-17   16 
         RE: Spurgeon b...  deerhuntr48...      May-01-17   17 
          RE: Spurgeon b...  Muley_73      May-01-17   18 
           RE: Spurgeon b...  Homer      May-01-17   19 
            RE: Spurgeon b...  Tristate      May-02-17   20 
             RE: Spurgeon b...  toklat      May-02-17   21 
         RE: Spurgeon b...  RutCrazed      May-02-17   22 
          RE: Spurgeon b...  wyohighcoun...      May-02-17   23 

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Hawkeye
(1961 posts)
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Apr-26-17, 
07:49 AM (MST)
1. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

The story: http://www.monstermuleys.com/cgi-bin/stories/site.pl?page=meatbuck&tem=th

-Hawkeye-

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buckhorn
(356 posts)
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Apr-26-17, 
07:51 AM (MST)
2. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

If that is a free range while deer and it has the biggest rack then yes it should be the world record in my opinion. No matter who tries to enter it in a club. If it's the biggest it's the biggest in my opinion.

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dirtygrass
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Apr-26-17, 
08:38 AM (MST)
3. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

My uncle shot a 205" net mule deer in Craig, Co a long time ago. I took a picture of it with an old polaroid camera the day I scored it. Unfortunately the head was burned in a fire 20+ years ago, head would be about 70 years old now.

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Stillwater165
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Apr-26-17, 
09:56 AM (MST)
4. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

I'd say it's had plenty of dry time ! And if it it is what the numbers show why would it matter ? Do you have to be some hotshot or rich or famous or an angel to put a buck in Boone and Crockett ???? If so I guess I'm out .......

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buckhorn
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Apr-26-17, 
10:32 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

If this Buck is indeed a free range and wild animal and doesn't have a broken skull plate or repaired broken antlers he should be recognized for what he is not Who killed it or is entering it.

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rmanwill
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Apr-26-17, 
10:57 AM (MST)
6. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

Great buck and even a better story behind the buck!!!

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nripepi
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Apr-26-17, 
11:31 AM (MST)
7. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

I am pretty sure the issue is Who is entering it or wanted to enter it. I believe B&C banned Kirt Darner from entering heads after he was caught lying about a buck he shot and tried to enter in B&C:

http://www.monstermuleys.info/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.pl?az=show_thread&om=12084&forum=DCForumID6&archive=yes

That and his wildlife violation conviction.

Did B&C remove his trophy's from B&C or did Darner?

With regards to the Spurgeon buck, it should definitely be entered and panel scored. I think the issue is Darner, as the owner, won't or isn't allowed to enter it. Since he has been caught lying about bucks shot in the past, there is a lot of speculation about this buck as well....is it on the up and up as the story is told or did he buy it from someone or worse.

He might have to give it to someone to enter or perhaps he'll have to die first and have the heir to it enter it? An awesome buck for sure, I just don't see 233 on the typical frame.

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toklat
(99 posts)
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Apr-26-17, 
11:47 AM (MST)
8. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

I actually contacted B and C this year regarding this issue. I expressed that I knew Darner submitted it for Lee and he was not entering it for his ((Darner's) name to be acknowledged. I was told there was an issue in who submitted it and was therefore disqualified. No more info provided albeit I surmised it was because of Darner. I countered and expressed wasn't B and C all about acknowledging the animal itself and the habitat that produced it? It should have been acknowledged based on its own merit irrespective of whom entered it. Surmise it to say my defense fell on deaf ears from B and C and never heard back again from them. Travesty we might never really know or it gets the recognition it truly deserves!

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NVPete
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Apr-26-17, 
12:40 PM (MST)
9. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

Ok, then. Not to take off on a tangent, what about this 228 and 4/8" SCI World Record? can there be a half dozen "world records" out there? My friend Frankie Cheeney just set a Pope & Young "world record" with a Nevada Archery mule deer buck ( at 205 and 6/8"!


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Homer
(2525 posts)
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Apr-30-17, 
12:32 PM (MST)
10. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

He's all smiles with this great buck HE killed....

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Stubaby
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Apr-30-17, 
11:21 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

I want that book. He's so great that he can do all the taxidermy work in the field.....


"That's a special feeling, Lloyd"

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Tristate
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May-01-17, 
07:30 AM (MST)
12. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

Darner bet on baseball.


Once someone in an organization is proven to "fix" either statistics or performance for fiscal gain the credibility of the entire organization can come into question. As a result organizations must put as much distance between that person and anything he may have contacted or influenced to preserve the integrity and credibility of the organization against all accusations. I believe that is why the Spurgeon buck isn't and won't be recognized. The risk associated with the deer outweighs any benefit to the club.

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toklat
(99 posts)
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May-01-17, 
09:47 AM (MST)
13. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

Tristate,totally agree with your assessment. It is a given it is tainted by Darner entering it, however, he was supposedly submitting under and for Lee Spurgeon who has passed away. I am hung up on it being recognized for the deer in and of itself irregardless of whom submitted it. I have seen where B and C has accepted other heads that have been taken or found under less than ideal situations.
Bottom line would also be nice to see what it officially scores before it shrinks any further and put an end to all the speculation over the years.

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elkassassin
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May-01-17, 
07:35 PM (MST)
14. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

GRANTS - Former big-game outfitter Kirt Darner was sentenced to 4,500 hours of community service and a minimum of $10,000 in fines. His plea agreement in the counts of illegally transporting elk, receiving stolen bighorn sheep heads and having no bill of sale was included in the sentence.

Darner, 69, and his attorney Billy Blackburn stood before the 13th Judicial District Judge Camille Martinez-Olguin who ordered restitution to be determined by the Adult Probation and Parole Office.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Colorado Division of Wildlife and a Colorado taxidermy business were affected by the crimes. The case closed with a sentencing hearing that lasted an excess of six hours, minutes before 7 p.m., on Jan. 12.

A grand jury first charged Darner in February of 2006.

“What were you thinking?” Judge Martinez-Olguin asked of the defendant, just before the sentence was handed down.

Darner replied, “I was scared (regarding the stolen sheep heads),” he added, “I thought I would give it back to the hunter.” After several minutes of his attempt at an explanation, the judge added, “I'm trying to figure out who you are.”

The conditional discharge was denied by Martinez-Olguin, who gave a suspended sentence of four and one-half years in state prison and two $5,000 fines.

“We asked for four and a half years of prison time,” said District Attorney Lemuel Martinez, “In the district attorney's office, the Game and Fish cases are important.” He added, “I hope the message gets out that there will be accountability...”

Darner stated in his book, “How to Find Giant Bucks” that “I feel about game laws the same way I feel about football rules. If you don't want to abide by the rules you should quit the sport or be thrown out.”

Darner agreed in his plea that he will never own a firearm or be involved in any hunting activity. He claimed the sport of big-game hunting activities is his primary source of income.

His friends and family spoke to the judge to build his character in a positive light, stating he gave lavish gifts of binoculars and rifles for presents. They also mentioned his generosity by outfitting hunts that he did not charge for.

The state brought to the court's attention Darner's extensive knowledge of his illegal actions through 47 years of experience as an outfitter. The prosecution's memorandum recommending sentencing stated 'Darner's conduct in this case was intentional'. The state was not persuaded that Darner's previous “good conduct” overrides a stiff sentence 'that he should receive for his crimes'.

“Should you come back before me, you're looking at prison time,” Judge Martinez-Olguin told Darner.

I Changed My Signature Just for NVB!
Like 6 Damn Times Now!

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elkassassin
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May-01-17, 
07:36 PM (MST)
15. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

If that is too time consuming read this.

Kirt Darner and his wife Paula go on trial in January for several Big Game related violations, one of which is for tranquilizing trophy Elk in New Mexico and then transporting them to a Ranch where huge fees would be charged for hunting them.

This seems to be the end of the line for the once popular "legendary" big game hunter and guide. I say "legendary" simply because now all his Big Game kills are questionable, even if they were legitimate. Hunters can be an unforgiving crowd, and rightly so. Fool us once, shame on you - fool us twice, shame on us. Many of us don't give game law violators a second chance.

Whether found guilty or innocent, it seems the final hand has already been dealt by the Boone & Crockett Club when the removed his Non-Typical Mule deer from the books.

When the B&C club notified Darner that they wanted a hands-on examination of the rest of his B&C entries, Darner notified the Club to remove them all, which they did.

The big Mule Deer in questions had already been listed in the B&C Club, it was killed back in the 40's.

I remember when the articles first started coming out about Kirt Darner. At the time, I had a subscription to Outdoor Life and soaked up every story I could find about Kirt. I, like many other deer hunters I'm sure, dreamed of one day getting a chance to take one of those big racked Mule Deer.

Kirt Darner's claim to fame at the time was that he'd killed more B&C Mule Deer than anyone else.

He appeared in ads for Remington's Model 700 and made the Outdoor show circuit giving seminars and lectures. If memory serves me correctly, he had a few deer hunting products that he pitched also.

It's sad if you stop and think about it. Many people who actually knew him claims the guy really does know a lot about trophy Mule Deer. From all accounts I found, the guy could have been a genuine Trophy Mule Deer expert and probably made a living by consulting and selling products. Unfortunately for Mr. Darner, not many of us will believe him or want to have anything to do with him nor will any company want to endorse him or his products after this.

Rich LaRocco, the Outdoor Writer who penned both of Kirt Darners books, has distanced his self from Darner. Can't say that I blame him. According to this article about Kirt Darneron LaRocco's website, Mr. LaRocco actually had a hand in bringing some of the discrepancies in Darner's stories to light. This led to closer scrutiny of Darner's claims which finally led to the truth about his B&C entries and their delisting from the Record Book.

Kirt Darner now joins another club in the Outdoor industry, one that isn't quite as rosy. The members of this club have names such as Noel Feather, Tink Nathan and Roger Rothaar to name a few. It's the Club of Famous Hunters who let their ego and greed bring them down. We as Hunters turn our backs on such a club and rightfully so. We need to be the ones policing our own sport. If we don't, then the general public will.

My dealings with Darner

by Rich LaRocco
President, Hunts.Net

Many of you might know that I wrote both of Kirt Darner's books in the early '80s. Some of you also might know that shortly afterward evidence came into my hands that he had not killed one of his Boone and Crockett mule deer, and I turned that evidence over to Jack Reneau of the Boone and Crockett Club, which later ruled against Darner.

This is a long and sorry story, and I've never written it down until now though I've been happy to share it with people who have asked.

I first found out about Darner when I was senior editor at Outdoor Life Magazine (yes, I worked in Manhattan), and I was assigned to edit an article that my friend Jim Zumbo had written about the man. Darner was supposedly the most successful trophy mule deer hunter of all time and had seven bucks in the Boone and Crockett Club's record book.

I also found an article that been written by Doug Knight in Field and Stream magazine in the late '60s or early '70s. The article featured a hunt that Knight had enjoyed with Darner and another young friend in a New Mexico wilderness area, where Knight reported seeing some great bucks and where Darner and his friend both killed big deer.

Later, I left New York to return to the wild and free and sunny West and settled in Cache Valley, Utah. Clair Conley, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life, asked me to stay with the magazine as Western field editor. I turned him down because the Western field editor of the time was my friend Dwight Schuh, who is now editor of Bowhunting Magazine. Clair said he was letting Dwight go, whether I took the job or not, and so I reluctantly agreed. If I had to make that decision over again, I would

have turned down the job a second time, but sometimes in life you learn the hard way, and when you're hardheaded, that's how you tend to learn all your big lessons. And that is the case with the Darner story

In 1982 I settled my family in Wellsville, Utah, an ideal location for my outdoor writing and editing career because it was right in the middle of some of the finest fishing and hunting country in America. Within two hours I could be hunting in Wyoming or Idaho and within a day's drive I could be fishing or hunting anywhere from California to Nebraska or Montana to New Mexico. And I took the opportunity to see the country, too, fishing or hunting in many locations and writing articles and taking photographs for Outdoor Life and several other outdoor magazines.

Not long after returning to Utah I received an assignment to write a piece on Kirt Darner for North American Hunter magazine, published by the North American Hunting Club. I phoned Darner in Montrose, Colorado, and arranged an interview. He was knowledgeable and engaging. He was also willing to help me accomplish some of my hunting goals and talked about arranging for me to bowhunt elk with Wayne Carlton, a friend of his who had been having great fortune calling in elk with a unique method he had discovered.

Darner was in his early 40s and had recently married for the second time. His wife, Paula, seemed genuinely interested in hunting, too, and it was obvious they enjoyed spending time together in the outdoors.

My article dealt mainly with Darner's advice to other hunters who were seeking a trophy-class mule deer. I had been seeing some great bucks while bowhunting in Utah and had spent several years trying to put a bow kill on the all-time Boone and Crockett list. Each year I was seeing one to three bucks that I thought would go into the B&C book, which at the time required a net score of at least 195. So it seemed logical to me that if a guy hunted with a rifle long enough and smart enough, he could take a B&C class buck occasionally. Darner had killed seven B&C bucks though if I recall some of them had been taken when the minimum was still 190.

That fall Darner arranged for me to bow hunt elk with Wayne Carlton, originally from Florida. Wayne had been seeing a tremendous bull elk in a wilderness area and had relocated the bull shortly before the season. He thought that bull would score close to world record size, which was in the 380s at the time. We were planning to concentrate on that bull alone. Unfortunately Wayne's mother became severely ill in September. By the time of the hunt Wayne had flown to Florida to be with her, so Darner arranged for my hunting partner and me to hunt with a Texan who had moved to Montrose and owned a restaurant in town.


My hunting partner, broadhead and Tree Sling inventor Jeff Anderson of New Jersey, soon learned that our guide knew the area we were hunting near Dolores but knew little about bowhunting or calling. Fortunately, Larry D. Jones of Oregon, had given me one of his prototype metal-reed elk bugles, and so we decided we would try that. I had killed my first elk the previous bow season when Schuh used this call to lure a 5x5 within 28 yards of me at an elevation of almost 13,000 feet in northern Colorado, and he called in six or seven other bulls that season.
It didn't take us long to realize that our chances of taking a big bull would be low because the area was well-roaded, and most bulls were probably having a hard time surviving more than two or three years. So when the guide and I called a four-point bull within a range of 10 or 15 yards, I sent an arrow through his lungs. After packing the meat out, we spent several days trying to call in a bull for Jeff. We had some action, but when our guide mistook the droppings and odors left by domestic sheep for elk sign, we were getting a mite frustrated.

With just a couple of days left in the hunt Wayne arrived. A charming guy with a southern accent and a constant smile, he immediately lifted our spirits. He demonstrated his calling technique, which he had learned on his own, using a mouth diaphragm turkey call to bugle elk. We had several bulls, including a 6x6, approach within 70 or 80 yards but couldn't get Jeff the shot he wanted.

Later that year I wrote the first article about using a diaphragm call to bugle elk, basing it on interviews with Wayne. The article's publication in Outdoor Life sent Wayne into a new career path. He sold his pest control business and set up shop as a wholesaler of hunting accessories, and he later became a popular seminar speaker and eventually began producing hunting videos, and now he hosts a TV show for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

After the hunt we returned to Montrose, where Darner showed us Polaroid photographs of himself and his wife posing with a gigantic non-typical mule deer with antlers that were still covered with velvet.

"While you guys were elk hunting," Darner said, "Paula and I were hunting this buck in Wyoming. He scores over 280 Boone and Crockett points."

And then he proceeded to tell us a detailed story of how he and Paula had outsmarted this wily old buck high abovetimberline in a roadless portion of Region H in Wyoming.

"You know," he said, "I think I have enough stories and pictures to make a really interesting book about trophy mule deer hunting. I've always liked your writing style. Would you be interested in writing it for me?"

Indeed I was. And so we worked out a deal where I would interview him and write, "How to Find Giant Bucks" by Kirt Darner as told to Rich LaRocco. He would publish the book himself and would pay me $1.50 for each copy sold.

At a conference that year I mentioned my work to fellow outdoor writer Judd Cooney, a former conservation officer in Colorado, and he warned me against writing the book.

You need to stay away from Darner," he said. "He has a reputation of being a poacher."

"Is there any evidence against him?" I asked.

"I don't have any," Judd replied. "But I have a friend who does."

"If that's the case, I need to talk with him," I said. "What's his name?"

"I can't give it to you," Judd said.

"Well, if Darner truly is a poacher, I need to know," I said. "Have him call me. I don't need to quote him or anything, but if there's anything solid against Darner, I will disassociate myself from him. I've asked him several times if there's anything fishy about any of his deer, and he's always said he hasn't even bent the rules to take any of them. He says he has critics who are jealous and just can't believe a hunter can be good enough to kill as many big deer as he has taken. Plus his stories about each deer are really consistent each time he repeats them."

I never heard from Cooney's friend and went ahead with my work on the book. Nowadays I would probably heed Judd's advice. I used to believe a man is innocent until proved guilty. Now I realize that this principle applies only in a court of law. When it comes to your reputation or your family's financial or physical safety, it's wise to assume guilt when there's any reasonable doubt. I also believe that where there's smoke, there's fire. Now, 24 years after I smelled the first smoke, I've come to believe that there wasn't just fire but a major conflagration.

One day I asked Kirt why he didn't have more field pictures of himself with bucks he had killed.

"I usually hunt alone," he replied. "And I pack really light, usually just carrying what I need in my pockets, and I just don't have room for a camera. I've never used a self-timer and frankly never thought about taking photos."

One reason I took him at his word is that when I killed my first mature buck, I failed to take a photograph of it even though I had a Minolta SRT-101 in camp. That buck was extraordinarily large in body size. Leonard LeeRue wrote in one of his books about two California muleys that each weighed more than 400 pounds, and another source claims the weight record is 385 pounds field-dressed. Neither of my two brothers nor I would be surprised if my buck came close to those figures, and yet I still didn't think about getting a picture after we hauled the buck out of the mountains. I regret that oversight, but even if I had a photo I'm sure that some would call it a hoax. In any case, if I didn't take a picture of such an unusually big deer, then I could understand why Darner didn't make a habit of taking field pictures, either.
Darner said he would start carrying a camera equipped with a self-timer to allay suspicions about his success. Indeed before the book was finished, autumn had arrived, and he supplied to the publisher photos of big deer he claimed to have harvested in Utah and Colorado. Those of you who have read "How to Find Giant Bucks" might remember a couple of those photos. I never saw those pictures until the book was off the press, and it was obvious that both deer were photographed in the same place in front of the same rock. Darner claimed that he transported the deer to the same spot for photographs and even took me to that location, which was near Montrose.

After the book was published I started hearing many rumors and theories about Darner. I felt it was my duty to follow up on these rumors, and invariably they led nowhere. Most critics would say that no single person could ever take as many record-class bucks in a lifetime as Darner claimed to have done because big muleys are so rare and so difficult to hunt. The rumors seemed to spring from envy as much as from incredulity. I began to think that killing more than two or three record-class mule deer in a lifetime would ruin the credibility of any hunter. Even today, my best proof that I'm not a poacher is that I don't have a Boone and Crockett muley to my credit. If and when I finally kill one, I fear that some hunters will say I broke the law to do it.
One especially troubling case involved a sheriff's deputy in Delta County, Colorado. The deputy had written a letter to Outdoor Life, contending that Darner was well-known as a poacher and that he had been charged with grand theft of an automobile. By then I was editing Darner's second book, "Hunting the Rockies," a compilation of stories by Darner and acquaintances of his. During one of my trips to
Montrose, I stopped in Delta to talk with the deputy. The county sheriff wouldn't allow me to interview him, taking a copy of the letter sent to Outdoor Life and promising that he would respond after looking into the matter. A few weeks later I received a letter from the sheriff, who said the deputy had been suspended because there was very little truth in the letter he had written. He said the deputy had no proof that Darner was a poacher and that Kirt had not been charged with stealing a car. A hunter who was angry that Darner had leased a ranch parked a truck to block access through a gate to the property. Kirt had moved the truck a few yards away from the gate, angering the hunter and the deputy.

Another interesting claim came my way during an elk bowhunting trip in the Washakie Wilderness east of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. I called in and killed a six-point bull after a marathon hunt, and after returning to base camp, the outfitter told me that one of his hunters had told him he had proof that Darner had taken a deer illegally.

"If that's the case," I said, "I need the facts."

The outfitter said that the hunter was in a spike camp but would be coming into the main camp in a day or two. When he returned to main camp one day, I immediately sought him out.

"Yup, I have proof that Darner is a poacher," he said. "That big Wyoming deer was supposedly shot after Sept. 10. I was hunting in Wyoming then, and all the bucks we saw were totally out of velvet. He had to have shot that buck before the season." Sept. 10. I was hunting in Wyoming then, and all the bucks we saw were totally out of velvet. He had to have shot that buck before the season."

"Well, that's an interesting theory," I said. "But I saw a 36-inch non-typical in full velvet on Sept. 17 in Region G in Wyoming, and one of my friends shot it the next day, and it was still in full velvet."

So much for that proof.

After the second book was published, my friend Kim Bonnett, a man whom I respect and admire and an accomplished hunter in his own right, told me that he had major doubts about a 36-inch buck Darner supposedly shot in Utah. Even though Kim and his wife had developed a close friendship with the Darners, he was cutting off contact with him.

Kim had invited Kirt to hunt a ranch he had leased in a remote section of central Utah. During a pre-season scouting trip, both men saw a gigantic non-typical mule deer, and Darner told Bonnett that he would be holding out for that deer. Darner showed up to hunt the deer and left the ranch shortly afterward, but not before one of

Kim's customers saw Darner with the buck, which he supposedly had killed the previous day. The hunter said the deer appeared to have been dead much longer than a day.

I already had interviewed Darner about this hunt and had written and sold an article about it. That piece was published in Petersen's Hunting Magazine. In it Darner had said his wife, Paula, also shot at an exceptional typical muley on the ranch. Bonnett said that he hadn't given Paula permission to hunt. He also said that nobody on the ranch had heard either of the Darners shoot. He also said that one of the Darners had entered a big typical in the Sunset Sporting Goods big buck contest in Price, Utah, and he wondered whether Paula or Kirt had shot that animal elsewhere. Kim was particularly offended by a paragraph in the article that criticized his guides for driving down a ridge before dark on opening morning, while the Darners were in position close to the prime deer area.
I called Darner about my conversation with Kim, and he said that he stood by his story and asked whether I had ever failed to hear somebody in my hunting camp shoot at a deer. "Yes, indeed," I said. (Incidentally, just three years ago while hunting with my friend Chuck Johnson, I shot an elk as I was walking just 50 yards ahead of Chuck on a bare hilltop in a brisk winter wind, and he didn't hear my .300 Magnum bark twice.) Darner said there obviously had been a miscommunication about Paula's permission to hunt. He also had an explanation about the Sunset contest, but I don't recall it.

As for the big non-typical buck's appearance, Darner said the eyes of a deer shrivel up quickly in the dry, hot air of southeastern Utah, and I knew that to be the case. "I have some pictures of us packing out that deer on Kim's lease," he said. "It's not like I killed a big buck somewhere else and packed it down onto the ranch. That wouldn't make any sense anyway."

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elkassassin
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May-01-17, 
07:41 PM (MST)
16. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

Darner sent me some pictures from that hunt along with photos of some of his other recent hunts, including pictures of hunters with trophy deer taken on his own leases in Colorado. I finally had a chance to study the photos from Bonnett's lease and realized that the deer Darner claimed to have killed on opening day appeared to have been dead much longer than Darner's story had indicated. When I called Sunset Sporting Goods, the employees there were unable to give me any information about the Darners' entering the local big buck contest and said they no longer had the Polaroid photos they had taken of contest entries.

Even though I still had no concrete evidence that Darner was lying, I had strong suspicions that something wasn't right.

And that's when I received in the mail an envelope with no return name or address, and it contained a single object -- an item that was simultaneously confusing and shocking.The envelope was addressed to my last name only, misspelled "LARROCCO." In it was a black-and-white 3 1/2 x 5-inch snapshot along with a short, unsigned letter. The letter stated that the photo was taken in the 50s and showed "Bob Housholder, who is now 65 yrs old." The letter also pointed out, as several others already had noticed, that two different bucks shown in Darner's second book, "Hunting the Rockies," were photographed in front of the same rock. Darner had claimed that he had killed one of the deer in Colorado and the other in Utah. I had already heard Darner's contention that he had hauled both carcasses to a favorite location where he liked to photograph trophies. Indeed the first time I had visited him he had taken me to such a location, where I had photographed him with some of his heads. But the old picture was harder to explain. Even a cursory look at the snapshot showed that this rack was configured exactly the same as the antlers of the buck shown on the cover of "How to Find Giant Bucks." Both racks had some rare and distinguishable features, such as a so-called acorn point on the right antler, a downturned main beam, a cluster of three points on the G3 tine along with a cheater point and a curved down cheater off the G4 point. The brow tines also appeared to be identical.

The antler configuration alone wasn't quite enough proof, however. A few years earlier I had leased a big ranch in northern Utah, and one of my guides, Jason Barlow, had found a big non-typical antler on the property. If the other antler had been identical, the buck would have scored about 230 Boone and Crockett points. This non-typical antler had bases that were about 5 1/2 inches in circumference and carried eight or nine points, including two or three cheater points. Later I found what I was sure was the other antler, but it was a typical antler that, if matched, would have comprised a trophy scoring a bit over 190 B&C. A couple of months later, a poacher on our property killed a deer that had a rack that was almost a perfect match for the sheds we had found.

We compared the poached deer's antlers with the sheds that we happened to have in camp. The poached buck appeared to be younger than the animal that had left the sheds, based on mass alone; the poached deer's antler bases weren't much more than four inches in circumference. However, the sheds showed the same bends and curves, and the non-typical points were almost identical except for some missing cheaters. Yet the poached rack featured short ridges in the exact locations of the cheaters, indicating to me where cheater points probably have have grown if the deer had been allowed to live another year. Yet I was convinced that the sheds came from a different deer, based simply on mass. Later that year, during the November blackpowder season, I had a chance to hunt myself. While hunting with Rex Thomas, a freelancer who had been an editor at Petersen's Hunting Magazine and a PR man at Browning and is now an employee of the National Rifle Association, I missed a huge buck. That animal circled us and perched on a rocky hillside out of muzzleloader range, wary of us but not wanting to leave the vicinity of a dozen does. Rex got out his spotting scope, and we were able to watch that deer for five minutes. The buck appeared to be the same one that had dropped the shed antlers that Jason and I had found and had the same antler configuration and the same cheaters.
I decided to examine the Housholder photograph more closely. With a 10x loupe I could see what was essentially a fingerprint of the Housholder buck. When an antler grows, blood veins in the velvet leave deposits of calcium on the surface of the antlers. The deposits are left in ridges and dots or tiny mounds. The ridges indicate exactly how the veins were patterned, and the dots appear in unique patterns known as beading. Even two clones of the same buck would show different ridge and beading patterns. If the Housholder buck and the Darner buck were one and the same, surely a close examination would determine that.

My photographs of Darner's mounted buck, shown on the cover of How to Find Giant Bucks, showed the same pattern. I had no doubt that the rack on Darner's mounted buck and the so-called Housholder set of antlers were one and the same. It was time to look into the Housholder picture -- was that really Bob Housholder in the photograph, and was this picture really taken in the '50s long before Darner claimed to have killed the same buck in 1977?
I did a bit of research and soon learned that Housholder had been an official scorer for the Boone and Crockett Club and was well known among Arizona trophy hunters. When I was editing for Outdoor Life magazine, my chief contributor from Arizona was Bob Whittaker, an outdoor editor for The Arizona Republic newspaper in Phoenix. I placed a call to Bob to see if he had a phone number for Housholder and could tell me his approximate age.

"Well," Bob said. "I know who Bob Housholder is, but there are some things about him that you should know. I certainly wouldn't want to be placed in a position to compare Housholder's credibility with Darner's credibility."

"Why not?" I asked.

"I would rather not say," Bob replied. "But what I will do is send you some clippings of newspaper articles that will show you why you might not want to use Housholder to question anybody's character."

A few days went by, and then I received from Bob an envelope that contained the next surprise in the Darner affair. Bob had sent me clippings of three articles about Housholder. All had been published in The Arizona Republic. One of them, titled "Hunter arrested in morals case" and dated March 26, 1983, described how Housholder, 61, had been arrested "for investigation of taking photographs of a seminude 14-year-old girl and molesting two girls," according to police. He had been booked on charges of exploitation of a minor, sexual abuse and furnishing harmful items to minors.

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deerhuntr4885
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May-01-17, 
08:24 PM (MST)
17. "RE: Spurgeon buck"


I think the issue is more about possession of the the world record buck. As long as Darner possesses it they will not recognize it. Even if he did not harvest it he would surely benefit from it. Photos, tours, etc.

Mike Henne

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Muley_73
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May-01-17, 
09:42 PM (MST)
18. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

If the buck is the biggest it should be recognized as such. It's about the animal not who owns it.....no? But then again Barry Bonds will always be my favorite hitter of all time. Put an astricks by it he hit more HRs than anyone else ever. If the bucks the biggest then it's the biggest.

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Homer
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May-01-17, 
11:44 PM (MST)
19. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

>If the buck is the biggest
>it should be recognized as
>such. It's about the
>animal not who owns it.....no?
> But then again Barry
>Bonds will always be my
>favorite hitter of all time.
> Put an astricks by
>it he hit more HRs
> than anyone else ever.
> If the bucks the
>biggest then it's the biggest.
>

buy it from him then....and enter it.

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Tristate
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May-02-17, 
01:39 PM (MST)
20. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

B&C isn't just about the animal. They promote an agenda of hunting that is specific within a category of rules. Therefore the integrity of the entry is not just a number upon a sheet but a record of the animals death.

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toklat
(99 posts)
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May-02-17, 
02:09 PM (MST)
21. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

Tristate, no argument there. Agree with you 100% however, if it could be proven Lee Spurgeon harvested that animal under fair chase criterion, shouldn't it be recognized irregardless who did or did not submit it albeit Darner obviously was not the right choice for doing so. Just MHO.

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RutCrazed
(191 posts)
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May-02-17, 
03:18 PM (MST)
22. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

Where is the rest of the story?

Rut

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wyohighcountry
(81 posts)
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May-02-17, 
08:41 PM (MST)
23. "RE: Spurgeon buck"

If he was only born 30 years later he would be adored on this site

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