When Rhett Boucher and his grandfather went out to gather firewood, they had no idea that the 3-year-old shed hunter would find one of the biggest deadheads in Ohio history
|Rack Report Details
|Gross Score 276 4/8
|Time of Year:
|March 15, 2023
Looking for deer antlers wasn't on the agenda when 3-year-old Rhett Boucher and his grandfather, whom he calls Poppo, headed out for a day together on their farm. But Quentin, Rhett's dad, says the family spends a lot of time looking for sheds this time of year, so it isn't surprising that young Rhett had his eyes on the ground while his grandfather gathered some previously cut firewood.
The pair stopped at a spot about 300 yards off the nearest road. As the youngster kicked around the grass along the 4-wheeler trail, he suddenly yelled out, Poppo, look, come check this out! His grandfather looked over to see a massive set of antlers poking out of the grass. After walking over to get a better look, he immediately called Quentin and told him to come out to see what Rhett had found.
While everyone else was immediately fixed on the size of the rack, Rhett wasn't so sure. The buck had been dead a while. Its bones were littered about and the eyeballs were missing, leaving dark sockets where they should have been. That scared him a little, Quentin said. But it didn't take long for him to stop looking at the missing eyes and to start looking at the antlers. Rhett always goes with us to check cameras, fill feeders, and look for sheds. Plus he sees his mom, my wife, Deanna, kill a bigger buck than the rest of us just about every year, so even at 3, he appreciates big antlers when he sees them.
The Bouchers immediately recognized the buck. They, along with a few other neighbors, had seen him feeding in summertime bean fields nearby but had never gotten a glimpse of him while hunting.
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Knowing the buck was special, Quentin said they wanted to make sure they did everything correctly to legally keep the deer, so he reached out to a friend who was a wildlife officer in a nearby county. After being directed to the main DNR office, they followed their instructions for documenting the find and received the needed paperwork to legally possess the buck.
Once they had the paperwork in hand, the next order of business was to get the buck scored. For that, they contacted local Buckmasters scorer Toby Hughes. I got a call at work that morning saying these folks had found a deadhead. They thought it might score around 218, so it got my attention. When we met that evening and I saw the rack, the hairs on my arms stood up. I knew immediately that it would score way more than 218, Hughes said.
After hearing the story, Hughes immediately got busy with a tape. The rack featured 23 scorable points and incredible mass all over. This is just an extraordinary buck all the way around, said Hughes. All the points are upright and pretty straightforward, including a massive unicorn brow with a fully separate base from the other brows. There aren't really any unusual points that might be up for debate.
After measuring, the buck ended up with a massive 126 ⅝ inches on the left beam and 128 ⅝ on the right. Add in the spread and the buck finished with a final of 276 4/8 BTR (Buckmasters Trophy Records). This ranks it as the No. 6 all time deadhead in the state of Ohio. I've scored around 2,000 deer in my lifetime, and about 1,500 of them made the Buckmasters record book. This is officially the largest wild buck I have ever scored, Hughes said. The Bouchers plan to have the deer scored for Boone and Crockett after the required waiting period.
Amazingly, even though the buck had been dead for a while, Hughes estimates at least a month, there was no damage to the rack. While the coyotes and buzzards had spread the bones over a wide area, nothing had chewed on the antlers.
We plan to enter the buck in the books under Rhett's name, Quentin said. He was the one who found him. That way, the buck will always be associated with him.
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