The set of antlers put on display in St. Paul Tuesday would have been a world record for an 8-point whitetail – if they hadn't been taken by a poacher.
Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources has shown replicas of the rack at special events since the buck was illegally killed near Cannon Falls in 2009. The Star Tribune reports the original set, thought to be worth tens of thousands of dollars, was installed in a display case near a security desk at the agency's headquarters in St. Paul Tuesday.
The inside of the rack measures more than 28 inches. The poacher who killed it used a light to freeze the deer while hunting on private land, WCCO says.
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In a story published when the deer was shot, Field & Stream noted that records dating back to 1830 show no 8-point whitetail could measure up to this one under the Boone and Crockett scoring system used to compare trophy deer.
A DNR official said at the time that of the millions of deer taken by hunters,"...the probability of harvesting one this big is just infinitesimal. It doesn’t exist.”
The DNR's assistant director of enforcement, Rod Smith, tells the Star Tribune the seven replicas of the rack have been popular at events held by the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Turn In Poachers, a non-profit group that offers reward money for those who do turn in poachers.
One was also shown at the Minnesota State Fair in 2013.