Shed find shot down: Replica rack bought
Ellicottville, N.Y. – A set of world-class antler sheds
reportedly found in western New York are actually replica antlers
purchased on eBay for $255, New York Outdoor News has learned.
The owner of the replica rack business confirmed that the
individual claiming to have found the sheds actually bought them
online. And while that individual – Corey Wiktor of Ellicottville
(Cattaraugus County) – maintains he found a set of sheds, which,
ironically, were virtually identical to those he bought, all
evidence says otherwise.
Ben Jones of the Tennessee-based ReplicaRacks business confirmed
that Wiktor purchased the sheds and they were delivered to a
Boston, N.Y., address which Wiktor says belongs to his parents.
They were delivered to that home on Jan. 8, the same day Wiktor
alleges he found the second antler from the sheds that will score
around 210 inches – just short of Milo Hanson’s world record
Jones says he has sold dozens of the replica racks he says were
made from a pen-raised monster buck in Ohio several years ago. The
antlers were also featured in a 2010 calendar of bikini- and
lingerie-clad women holding trophy antler mounts.
Wiktor, however, says that while he did buy those antlers, the
massive set of sheds he claims to have found – virtually identical
in every detail to those he purchased – are the real deal.
“I’m quite tired of defending myself from the lies and rumors,”
he said. “I don’t need this drama. These horns mean nothing to me,
in reality. I am done trying to prove what I and others around me
Whitetail experts say the chances of someone finding trophy
antler sheds identical to a set of sheds being sold online – let
alone having been purchased by the individual purported to have
found them – are beyond astronomical.
“I can’t believe the guy is still trying to talk himself out of
this one,” Jones said.
Wiktor only admitted to purchasing a pair of sheds after being
confronted with that information. He said he purchased them as a
gift for a friend.
“If I was hiding something why would I have them shipped to my
parents’ house where they would see them?” Wiktor said. “Why would
I used my own e-mail account, my own checking account number, etc.,
if I was hiding something?”
Wiktor has failed to respond to a request to produce of
photograph of both sets of sheds – those he purchased and those he
claims to have found – side by side.
Wiktor’s discovery was initially reported on the Web site
But the find, after making its way onto other hunting Web sites,
was almost immediately questioned when one message board poster
found the eBay listing for the identical antlers.
By that time, New York Outdoor News had already gone to press
with the story of Wiktor’s discovery. Wiktor, however, had asked
that the story be removed shortly after that time, contending he
didn’t need the furor and skepticism surrounding his story.
Rob Taylor, owner and administrator of the Web site www.empirehunting.com,
immediately removed the threat concerning Wiktor’s find and instead
posted a statement claiming Wiktor’s “credibility has now been
“He has done nothing proactive to prove his claims,”_Taylor
said. “He wants us to believe they’re real but he does not seem to
be doing anything to prove it.”
Wiktor, however, says that while the sheds he bought and those
he reported to have found look similar, there are some differences.
Among them: the online sheds have 16 points, and his 15; the online
sheds reportedly score 220, his “more like 200-plus;” and the sheds
he allegedly found have snow-white pedicle bases.
“I’ve never heard of replica pedicles,” he said, adding that
several people have since reported to had seen the big buck where
he found his sheds.
Critics contend the 220 score was simply an estimate, that the
point count was also up for interpretation, and that it would be
easy, according to Jones, to modify the pedicles to give the
appearance they came from a living buck and weren’t replicas.
The questions surrounding the sheds also sparked further
speculation as to the legitimacy of Wiktor’s past trophy deer
harvests. Several years ago he arrowed a nontypical buck that
scored 1894/8, although it was never entered into the New York
State Big Buck Club record book.