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Adventures from the Archives - Hill Gould’s Whitetail Buck

Maine 1910 

No, that’s not a moose. But at first glance, that’s likely what Maine Guide Hill Gould thought when this buck came crashing out of the alders one fall evening in 1910. When he killed it, Gould had no way of knowing that it would become the state’s biggest whitetail buck for more than a century—and counting.


At the turn of the twentieth century, Maine Guides made roughly $3 daily—$95 today. In return, those guides led their “sports” through the hardwoods in search of deer, moose, and black bears. They piloted canoes on the state’s wild rivers for brook trout and salmon. 

The roots of Maine’s guiding tradition run deep. It was the first state to require guides to register for a license. When the legislature passed the law in 1897, more than 1,300 guides signed up. The first official Maine Guide was hardly a bearded, chowder-chugging mountain man. Rather, her name was Cornelia Thurza Crosby, who went by the name Fly Rod. 

Cornelia "Fly Rod" Crosby – Maine's first registered guide.

In 1910, Hill Gould was a Maine Guide, along with his twin brother and mutual friend. They had a short break between guiding sports that fall, and the trio headed to an old tar-paper shack along the Little River in northeast Maine. It’s called Downeast country, a nickname that dates back to when sailing ships dotted the state’s rocky coastline. Back then, you could kill two deer each season, and the teenagers hoped to fill the meat pole on their day off. 

The Hunt 

The hunters split up and took off in different directions through the Maine woods. Hunting was slow all day. Toward evening, Hill Gould sat beside the river at a spot where he knew deer liked to cross. As the light faded, he heard rustling across the river. This buck poked his antlers out of a screen of alders. One can only imagine what was going through Hill’s head then. Was it a moose? An apparition? Once he realized it was a huge buck, Hill took one shot. The buck went down. 

He dressed out the deer and brought the heart and liver back to the hunting shack. The other guides were settled around a table playing cards when Hill burst in and tossed the organs down. The heart and liver were so big that his buddies couldn’t believe they came from a deer. They assumed he’d killed a moose. 

Partly in disbelief and partly in awe, the boys wanted to see this deer for themselves. They grabbed their lanterns and headed to the river. Once they arrived, they had to have known this deer was special. But little did they know that it would eventually become Maine’s biggest deer ever to enter the Boone and Crockett records. One can imagine they were thinking about how they would get that stack of meat out of the woods. After quartering the buck, they loaded it into a canoe the following day and floated that deer out of the woods, including its massive rack. 

Typical Maine deer camp from more than a century ago.

Buying and Selling the Gould Buck 

Even in 1910, word spread about the size of Gould’s buck. Back then, most hunters were interested in how much a buck weighed—not the size of the antlers. Even so, a nearby hunting camp owner offered Hill $50 for the antlers—$1,570 today. For a young fishing and hunting guide in 1910, trading a cool set of antlers for three weeks’ wages was likely an easy decision. Hill accepted the offer. After that initial sale, the antlers were sold again, and then they disappeared for decades until the early 1980s, which is when we picked up the paper trail in the Boone and Crockett records. 

In 1984, Maine resident Lawrence Emerson had the antlers measured by B&C Official Measurer Jean Arsenault. However, because of the need for additional verification of the original score, the score of 259 points was not officially entered into the record book until 1994. 

The Gould buck was part of the King of Bucks exhibit at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium for 21 years before it was purchased by antler collector, Brian Ross, in 2020.

From its initial scoring in 1984, the buck was swapped, traded, bought, and sold no less than nine times, with antler collector Dick Idol obtaining ownership twice. In the 1990s, the rack was acquired by Bass Pro Shops and featured as part of the King of Bucks collection on display at Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. It lived there until 2020, when Brian Ross purchased it and brought it home to Maine. Ross, a Maine antler collector, owns nine of Maine’s top 20 record whitetails. And the Gould Buck is one of the most magnificent, not just for its character but for its story.  

“Collecting is history,” Ross says. “What makes this buck important to me is that I’m from here. I collect from all over the U.S., but Maine is where it all started for me. It reminds me of my childhood. It’s very special to have these antlers.”  

A Score Like No Other 

You don’t need to be an Official Measurer or an antler collector to know that the Gould buck is like nothing else in the Boone and Crockett records. Any deer with 31 scorable points is a stud, but let’s talk about mass and palmation. These antlers look like moose paddles at first glance because of their palmation. Palmated antlers can be a genetic trait passed down from either parent and if you’re curious about antler oddities and why they form, read “Stickers and Kickers and Junk, Oh My.” 


Current owner, Ross with the Gould buck, which has a B&C score of 259 points.

As for mass, this buck has the highest, if not the highest, mass measurements for any whitetail in the records. Each of its circumference measurements averages nearly nine inches, totaling more than 70 points. The largest circumference measurement is 13 inches. Click on the score chart tab  to see a measurement breakdown of this historical whitetail. We'll tell you a secret if you need a little motivation: its gross score is over 273 points. 

As you may have guessed, the Hill Gould buck is the stuff of legend. Yes, it scores well, looks unreal, and stands as a state record, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a story there. It’s the story of a bunch of teenagers hunting for meat more than 110 years ago. Hill Gould just happened to stay out a little longer and be in the right place at the right time. As Ross said, this is a part of Maine’s history. And for now, it’s back home. 


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About Adventures from the Archives

The Boone and Crockett Club’s records contain more than 70,000 big game entries, from musk ox to mule deer. Among those entries are more than a few stories of adventures afield. To celebrate those trophies, their habitat, and the hunter, we’re bringing those stories back to life with each installment of Boone and Crockett’s Adventures from the Archives.



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-Theodore Roosevelt