Once in a while an outdoor writer gets lucky and stumbles onto an significant story – one that goes beyond current events and has more to do with something historic than any story he can write about his own hunting exploits. The writer's tips and strategies pale by comparison. His personal insights take on minor importance.
Such a story is the story of the Arthur Young buck, a whitetail harvested in 1830. Yes, that's 186 years ago. It's a fascinating tale, but like any deer hunting story – especially one about a trophy deer – it raises many questions. And for a buck killed when our nation was still in its infancy, who would have ever thought so many questions can be answered?
I need to thank Gordon Whittington, Editor-in-Chief of North American Whitetail magazine for tipping me off to this story. I remember several years ago sitting in the waiting room of a local front-end alignment shop waiting for my truck to be finished, watching North American Whitetail TV. Whittington was hunting in Smethport, PA, only about 50 miles from my home. He was hunting in the same area where the Arthur Young buck was killed, and he triggered my interest.
I called Whittington about the story, and learned he had just wrapped up an article about it for North American Whitetail magazine. I had already begun my own research, and he suggested I contact an artist from the area named Ernest Durphy, who had just completed a painting of the deer based on photos and what the locals knew about it. I began to do my own research, and produced a story that appeared in Pennsylvania Game News in December, 2013. That article, in the outdoor magazine I had been reading since I was a kid, won the 2015 Pinnacle Award, a national award for outdoor writers, given by the Professional Outdoor Media Association. That Game News article has become sort of the "official" story because that's where you'll find the most details.
But a print article in a paper magazine has a limited life. So, I thought I would give whitetail fanatics more exposure to the story. Because I write for the Legendary Whitetails website (a company that sells clothing for whitetail enthusiasts), and because this is indeed a what is arguably the most historic whitetail of all time, that was the logical place to do a new story. It's certainly one of the most interesting stories I've ever been involved with, and it's not likely a whitetail (or any other animal) will ever surface that was killed before 1830. I hope readers enjoy "Is This the Most Legendary Whitetail of All Time?"