Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

Spring is for Deadheads

A Maryland state-record non-typical whitetail and a record-book typical elk from Wyoming prove that now is the time to get out in the woods and look for not-so-buried treasure


Spring is coming. We promise. It may not seem like it in some places, but it’ll get here. And with it comes your chance to get outside to battle finicky weather and curious ticks. Your prize could be a trip to the record books. And yes, Boone and Crockett does accept deadheads into the records as long as they meet certain criteria. But first, a word of warning. Always check your local and state regulations before you head out. Some areas are closed until late spring to help wildlife recover from a long winter. Be respectful—our wildlife deserves it. 

If you need a little inspiration, we’ve got two of them for you. One happens to be a wild non-typical whitetail state record from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The other is an awesome family adventure (complete with giant elk) into the wilds of grizzly country near Dubois, Wyoming. Now get out there. 

More than Crab Claws

The new Maryland state record non-typical whitetail has numerous unique characteristics including drop tines and a third antler! The buck has a final B&C score of 254-1/8 points.

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is known for its blue crabs, the Chesapeake Bay, and vacation homes. Thanks to Luke Blatherwick, you can add giant whitetails to the list. Blatherwick lives in New Jersey, but he and his father, Chuck, became members of a Maryland hunting club decades ago. They go there every chance they get, and spring is no exception. That’s when Luke and his dad cruise the woods for sheds before the understory gets too thick to see any antlers. 

When Luke first saw a bush that looked like it might have antlers, he thought nothing of it. He walked around for a few more hours until circling back to that funny-looking bush. The skull was green and covered in a light layer of moss. The antlers, though, looked pretty wild (and big). Luckily, they had been nibbled on just a  little bit by the local rodent population. 

Luke found the skull in 2005—a time before there were trail cameras along every game trail. “This deer just came out of nowhere,” he says. “None of the locals claimed to have ever seen it.” After word got out about his find, Luke says he had a few people tell him they had seen the deer around—although they all said they saw the buck in different counties. 

Even though its headgear is unreal, the buck isn’t that old—likely around four years old. Luke still has the lower jaw, and the teeth were in good shape. “It certainly wasn’t seven or eight,” he says.


Mason with his first shed last year!

Why did he wait until 2021 to enter the buck? Initially, Luke says, he was told that because of the buck’s third pedicle, it wasn’t allowed in the records, so Luke never followed up. More than a decade later, a Boone and Crockett Official Measurer reached out to him and explained that the rule disqualifying the buck had changed. The updated rule adds the third antler to the side it’s closest to as an abnormal point. And now, the buck sits at the number one spot for Maryland non-typical whitetails. 

If you’re wondering why that drop tine is discolored, it’s because the antler had to be repaired. It broke after being shipped to an antler replica maker. This happened in 2008 after the antlers had been officially scored. Today, the head sits in Luke’s home office among sheds and mounts of deer he’s killed over the years.

This year, Luke’s 8-year-old son, Mason, will be accompanying him and Chuck to the hunting club in the spring to look for antlers and catch some fish. “My shed hunting resume was a bit shoddy before that guy,” Luke says. “I would have been happy with half a six-pointer. It’s cool for the deer to be recognized now.” 

Log in and/or register (it's FREE) to see the official score chart for the new Maryland state record non-typical whitetail deer.

View Score Chart

One Wild Wyoming Family 

Story courtesy of Elizabeth Schuler

On April 15, 2021, my husband, daughter (11), son (9), and I set off on a backpack shed hunting trip in the rugged Absaroka Mountains just outside Dubois, Wyoming. A spring snow storm had recently deposited new snow in the area, and we had spent much of the previous night debating whether or not we should reschedule. In the end, our enthusiasm and excitement got the better of us. We made the decision to brave the cold and embark on the trip.  

The hike to camp proved more difficult than we had expected. Before long, we found ourselves closing in on our destination. The last obstacle to overcome was a wide river with thick ice shelves lining the banks.  

With pants rolled up, my husband and I forded the river, not once, but three times. We carried the heavy packs loaded with camping essentials across first. Then, after several minutes of nursing cold legs back to working order, we made the trek back to piggy-back the kids to the opposite side. 

Late in the afternoon on our third day, we found ourselves on a steep, slippery hillside. I was on the uphill side as we trekked through the trees in a grid pattern hoping to score a few more antlers before dark. I had just finished climbing a small rise when, about 25 yards in front of me, the glistening of an elk antler caught my eyes. I yelled out to my kids and husband that I had found one. It appeared to be a large elk shed from the current year. With my binoculars I was able to see what appeared to be a second antler laying very close to the first. I now had a set of fresh antlers!

Elizabeth with her daughter and son posing with the elk. The bull has an official B&C score of 375-4/8 points.

As I got closer I came to realize that I was not looking at two shed antlers, but a large winter-killed bull. A wave of excitement overcame me, and I started yelling with excitement! I could see that this was not just any ordinary bull, this was a spectacular big bull! My son, who had made his way up the hill to my location, couldn’t believe his eyes. After what seemed like an eternity, the rest of the family gathered up, and we approached the bull. The closer we got to the bull, the bigger his antlers seemed to become. It appeared that the elk had died earlier that winter, maybe January or February. The antlers were in perfect condition and showed no signs of chew marks or fading from exposure to the sun. We got him packed up and started to descend the hill towards camp. The main beams were so long that they constantly dug into the ground despite our efforts to secure him high on my husband’s pack. It was an awkward and slow hike back. This bull, this find, had created an amazing memory for us.

Log in and/or register (it's FREE) to see the official score chart.

View Score Chart


Support Conservation

Support Hunting

Support Conservation

Support Education

"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt