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36point killed with knife

Old 01-26-2005, 03:44 PM
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Default 36point killed with knife

Closing The Book on the 36-Pointer!
By Ron Henry Strait

The very small body makes the rack of the Bullis Buck look that much bigger.
author photo
Editor's note: The Bullis Buck controversy first began back in November of 2004 when someone emailed pictures of the buck to Realtree.com, but provided little to no background information. We asked our readers in a feature story to help us track down the facts. We were led to MySanantonio.com where we contacted the author of this story--Ron Henry Strait who is an Express-News Staff Writer. Thanks to Mr. Strait, we now know the entire truth behind this most amazing whitetail tale.

The events surrounding the taking of a monster whitetail buck in suburban Bexar County Texas and on the outskirts of San Antonio have sparked some bizzare stories, most of which include a few facts and plenty of imagination.

Here is the story as I gathered it in first-hand interviews with two of the three main individuals involved in the death of the deer as well as state and federal wildlife law-enforcement officials and several deer experts.

When The Bullis Buck Was Taken
The deer was killed on Nov. 6 at Camp Bullis, a 28,000-acre Army training base located on the outer traffic loop (Loop 1604) that services northwest San Antonio. Camp Bullis is rugged limestone hills with thick cedar breaks, mesquite flats and lots of live oak, wild persimmon and wild plum trees.

Because of where it was killed, I dubbed it the "Bullis Buck," a name that has been picked up to become the animal's identifying moniker.

The idea of a rack having some 36 scoreable points is absolutely bizzare.
author photo
About The Antlers
In the final count, as taken by Boone & Crockett scorer John Stein, the Bullis Buck rack has 36 scoreable points, including two drop tines, on a 6x6 main frame. The rack's green score nets 265 1/8 inches as measured by Stein, who offers several significant notes. Most remarkable for such a huge non-typical is the rack's symmetry: There is only 5/8-of-an-inch difference in the two sides, a fact Stein said is virtually unheard of in such circumstances.

About The Kill
Saturday, Nov. 6, was opening day of the state deer season and at Camp Bullis, and it was a weekend for drills by military personnel. The base offers about 1,200 hunts a year to Department of Defense personnel. The hunts and the military drills have been parts of the base's routine for decades.

Around noon, a helicopter crew member spotted what appeared to be a sick deer in a remote area of the base. The deer had very large antlers. GPS coordinates were taken and forwarded to range control -- the authority for movements within the training area. Range control notified the hunt headquarters, where two civilian employees and a volunteer responded to the coordinates.

The civilians' GPS system was used to find the deer. The men found the deer lying on the ground in a muddy, trampled area. There was something obviously wrong with the deer. It faltered and appeared disoriented. Two of the men approached the animal, and it stumbled into a stand of tall grass. The two men found the animal and approached it, clapping their hands. At about 15 feet distance, the buck got to its feet and came toward the noise, passing within touching distance of the men then staggered and finally stumbled into the grill of their pickup truck. The buck appeared to be blind.

Another angle shows the buck's rack from behind. Once word got out locally, many folks came to catch a glimpse of the fallen monster.
author photo
It walked beside the truck and collapsed. The men subdued the deer and stabbed it to death (in the heart) with a small, red pocketknife with a four-inch blade. The men used a pocketknife because federal regulations ban all civilian firearms in an area where maneuvers and military personnel are conducting operations.

The deer was loaded on the truck and taken to base hunt headquarters, where the deer was field dressed and put in cold storage. The base hunting lodge was open that weekend, and, as word spread, the animal was brought out of the chill box and put on public display for anyone who wanted to videotape or take photos of it. It was not held in secret.

The hunt club staff later used a Boone & Crockett scoring sheet they downloaded from the Internet and scored the antlers at about 262 inches. At that time, one of the men said later, they realized that the deer was so large that it was important beyond their base and local hunting community.

Official Score
On Nov. 9, John Stein of San Antonio was the first official scorer to measure the antlers. He got a gross score of 271 3/8 inches (net 265 1/8 inches).

As it stands, the Bullis Buck is the third-largest native whitetail ever taken in Texas and the largest wild whitetail deer killed in the state in more than 100 years.

The official scorer surely had his work cut out for him.
author photo
Deer Problem
On Nov. 10, local taxidermist Dan Verrips caped the buck and took the hide to his shop. He left the antlers and carcass at Camp Bullis.

Verrips noted that as he removed the cape, he saw a large cyst or infection in the back of the Bullis Buck's skull. When he removed the skull cap from the deer, he said the infection was inside the skull. Verrips also said that he had been told the deer might have a broken back, because it had so much trouble walking. He looked carefully and said it did not appear the deer had a back injury, but he surmised the deer might have been blind and feeble.

The Law Arrives
Also on Nov. 10, a formal investigation regarding the legal taking of the deer was opened by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department law-enforcement officials and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. On Nov. 12, the antlers were moved from the Camp Bullis locker to an evidence room at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Fort Sam is the primary Army base in San Antonio. Also, Army officials sent tissue samples from the buck to Texas A&M University for analysis. The hide was taken from Verrips and placed in federal custody. The deer's carcass, which was seriously deteriorated, was discarded. State and federal wildlife law officials later went into the field and took their own samples. (Private individuals may also have taken tissue samples, possibly for use in cloing. State game law officials are investigating that aspect of the case.)

Believe it or not, the Bullis Buck saga will likely live on if the idea of cloning the buck comes to fruition.
author photo
State game officials later declined to issue any citations against the three civilians involved in the taking of the Bullis Buck. At possible issue had been the licensing of the individuals, the tagging of the deer, the use of aircraft in the taking of a game animal and, ultimately, the taking of a game animal by illegal means, i.e., the use of a pocket knife.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has indicated that federal authorities plan no action against the three men involved in the taking of the Bullis Buck.

The antlers and other remains are being held by the feds, and their disposition and other matters regarding the case will be cleared up early in 2005.

Editor's note: The following is an email sent to Realtree.com in reference to the Bullis Buck article we ran last week. We feel that Ron Strait--the author that wrote the recent story--did a fine job covering the big-buck controversy. Mr. Strait's wrap-up type piece had lots of detail that will help document the Bullis Buck for future reference.

Name: Tom Avery
Email: [email protected]

Top photo is of the Bullis buck with the man who dealt the animal its final blow.
author photos
Comments: Your account of the Bullis Buck though mostly factual contained a few omissions and what very large error. Two of the individuals involved with the demise of that buck were the Outdoor Recreation Manager and his assistant. They manage all hunting (gun/archery) that takes place on Camp Bullis. They also manage the welfare of the deer herd through supplemental protein and watering throughout the summer months. They are not just 2civilians who work at Camp Bullis. There are also about 40 Key Volunteers who donate their time to assist the Outdoor Recreation Branch with these duties. The person you identified as being the individual who used a knife to put the buck out of his misery is wrong. That picture is of a Key Volunteer to whom the knife belonged but the knife was used by the assistance manager, who was the one to inflict the fatal wound.

P.S. Camp Bullis has had a letter of agreement with the State and Federal Game Wardens of Texas dating back to 1993. I believe you will find that the Game Warden authorities at Camp Bullis are the Military Police. As a 15 year Key Personnel Volunteer I can say with some certainty that everything was done with the quick humane treatment of the animal in mind as has been done in many many similar situations with deer being hit by vehicles, caught in fences and so on at Camp Bullis. Having been a hunting guide for many years at the 777Ranch In Hondo Texas, I immediately upon seeing this deer (Nov 7th) told the outdoor recreation manager to contact the Parks and Wildlife Dept for advice. He was referred to the office in Pleasonton, TX and the only response from them was an email that said Nice Deer. I also unofficially scored this deer with the help of a friend the next day and came up with 266 3/8. This is when the majority of pictures that appear around the Internet were taken. As I understand it, the buck will be given back to Camp Bullis as soon as a few points of disagreement with the Game and Fish Dept are ironed out. Matters having to do with future monies received from this buck and where it should go.
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Old 01-26-2005, 04:16 PM
Giant Nontypical
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Default RE: 36point killed with knife

Thanks for the novel.
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Old 01-26-2005, 04:45 PM
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Default RE: 36point killed with knife

It's good to finally read the true story behind the deer.

Here is a pic if anyone missed it before.

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Old 01-26-2005, 07:16 PM
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Default RE: 36point killed with knife

big buck
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:45 PM
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Default RE: 36point killed with knife

That's a very impressive rack ,but I'm sure glad to read the truth behind this monarch .

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Old 01-27-2005, 12:03 AM
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Default RE: 36point killed with knife

What piece of bone
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:50 AM
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Default RE: 36point killed with knife

Interesting story. I had heard of this buck and that he had been stabbed to death. It's nice to get a little more of the story.

He's an amazing speciman.
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Old 01-27-2005, 01:32 PM
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Default RE: 36point killed with knife

Very impressive rack
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