Brent from Iowa asks,
Bill: Writing to you about the former record "Albia Buck" shot by Tony Lovstuen back in - I think - 2003. I was 10 years old at the time and I still remember my dad buying us the North American Whitetail magazine with the buck's cover story. We were so excited to learn about the "World's Largest Walking Whitetail" being killed. After I started following Midwest Whitetail in its early days and learning your farm was around Albia, I was always curious if you knew the Lovstuen family, if you ever had any encounters with that legendary buck, or if you had any stories about the whole experience of knowing a world record buck was lurking in your neck of the woods. I actually got to meet Tony and his dad at the Iowa Deer Classic that next spring. They seemed like really nice people.
Topic: World Record Lovstuen Buck:
I knew of the deer but it lived about five miles from my farm and never ventured that far my way. The buck actually had a very small home range toward the end and rarely left the family’s property. Actually, I was the guy that wrote that North American Whitetail article that you reference and I was there the day they had the antlers green scored.
In fact, I was the guy that added up the numbers that night. We all just stood there in amazement at the final tally, including the official scorer (a very prominent B&C scorer named Dale Ream from Missouri). It took Dale and Randy McPherren 4 1/2 hours to score the buck that evening.
I really enjoyed the journey, but there were some chapters that no one knew about. There was a professional poacher from Colorado working the southern Iowa area at that time with the last name of Waters. Apparently, he was planning to target that buck and had Tony not killed it, there is some chance it might have been poached.
Waters would go into the backcountry at night and use a spotlight to kill the deer and then hang the heads in a cedar tree to keep them away from coyotes, etc. and then he would come back in the spring and carry them out. I guess he had done this many times and was eventually caught and charged with a number of really big animals. That is one chapter of the story that almost no one knows. I got that part from the local game warden who worked the Waters case.
So, I was not part of the hunt for that deer, but I did know about it. I actually had a replica in my office for several months before giving it back. What a monster and as you say, the family is topnotch. I really enjoyed working with them. Have a great day. (10/13/21)