MISSOULA, Mont. - Ninety-nine deer seasons have passed since James Jordan pulled the trigger on a gargantuan whitetail that would become one of the best-known trophies of all time - and still stands as the biggest typical buck ever taken in the U.S. With the 100th Anniversary coming up in November, the Boone and Crockett Club is pausing to remember a tale that remains the stuff of legends.
"You know a deer hunt has reached legendary status when the local community plans a centennial celebration," said Keith Balfourd, marketing director for the Club.
Burnett County, Wis., is hosting the Jordan Buck Centennial Extravaganza. Festivities include a walking tour of the hunt area, art project and raffles for a Jordan Buck replica mount and a .25-20 lever-action rifle like the one carried on the historic hunt.
Balfourd said, "The popularity of hunting in North America, and the institutions of sustainable use conservation that hunting supports, rest on the shoulders of the whitetail deer. The Boone and Crockett Club is proud to help celebrate the history, legacy and significance of this deer as well as the man who brought it to the attention of hunters and conservationists around the world."
The Jordan Buck tale at a glance:
1914 - Nov. 20, Jordan, 22, hunts with a friend along the Yellow River near Danbury, Wis. Jordan kills a doe. His friend agrees to drag the doe home while Jordan continues the hunt. Jordan tracks a deer into a patch of high grass near a railroad. An approaching train flushes a big buck. Jordan fires, follows the wounded animal and finally drops it as it crosses to the opposite side of the river. Amazed locals estimate the buck's weight at close to 400 pounds. A local taxidermist offers to mount the head for $5. Jordan agrees. Later he discovers the taxidermist has moved away leaving no trace of his trophy.
1964 - In a strange twist a half-century later, a distant relative of Jordan's buys a massive but crude deer mount at a rummage sale in Sandstone, Minn., for $3. Jordan is certain it's his long-lost buck. The new owner requests an official scoring by Boone and Crockett. The Club scores the antlers at 206-5/8 and confirms it as the new World's Record typical whitetail but, unable to verify Jordan's story, lists the hunter as unknown and the hunt area as Sandstone, Minn.
1968 - The rack is sold to an antler collector in New Hampshire for $1,500. The trophy is remounted with a new cape.
1977 - Following outdoor writer Ron Schara's story about the buck in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Boone and Crockett Club re-opens investigation into Jordan's claim.
1978 - Boone and Crockett officials confirm the story and officially recognize Jordan as the hunter and Burnett County, Wis., as the location taken. Sadly, Jordan had passed away two months earlier.
1993 - After 29 years at the top of Boone and Crockett records, the Jordan Buck is overtaken by Milo Hanson's 213-5/8 buck from western Saskatchewan, Canada.
2001 - Bass Pro Shops acquires the Jordan Buck mount for an undisclosed sum. The buck is now part of a touring collection of trophies and seen annually by thousands of sportsmen.
2013 - Through the 99 deer seasons from 1914 through 2013, Wisconsin produced 1,057 typical whitetails in Boone and Crockett records - 324 more than second-place Illinois.
2014 - 100th Anniversary of Jordan's landmark buck.
"When we deer hunters dream whitetail, we dream big, typical five-by-fives. That's the most common and sought after antler configuration for the species. The Jordan Buck certainly exceeds that which dreams are made of," Balfourd concluded.
Click here to read the entire story of the Jordan Buck.
Jordan Buck Key Measurements:
53-7/8 inches of mass/circumference
30-inch mainbeams on both sides
G1-G4 measurements: 7, 13, 10 and 7 inches
Only 3-2/8 inches in symmetry deductions
About the Boone and Crockett Club
North America's first hunting and conservation organization, the Boone and Crockett Club was founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887. Its mission is to promote the conservation and management of wildlife, especially big game and its habitat, to preserve and encourage hunting and to maintain the highest ethical standards of fair chase and sportsmanship. Join us at www.boone-crockett.org.