Legendary deer set to appear At Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show
By Javier Serna
Falcon Heights, Minn. — Five of the more outstanding trophy deer mounts that will be on display at the Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show, set for Feb. 26-28 at Warner Coliseum on the State Fairgrounds, will actually be replicas with interesting backstories behind them.
New Richmond, Wis.-based Antlers by Klaus, one of the top companies anywhere to produce antler reproductions, will be on hand at the show with the display. It holds the exclusive rights to reproduce some of the best-known trophy antlers in the world, such as the Jordan buck and many others.
The business, with several employees, is run by the husband-wife team of Klaus and Nola Lebrecht, and producing the polyurethane resin antlers is their passion.
“It’s actually the mixture of three of our shared passions,” Nola Lebrecht said. “We are both art majors, history buffs and we both love wildlife.”
All three of those areas come into play in reproducing life-like antlers. But aside from being able to produce reproductions of well-known antlers, the company also does a fair amount of reproduction for the general public and for corporate clients.
“It’s amazing some of the reasons people want them done,” Lebrecht said, citing a short list of reasons.
For corporate clients, such as sporting goods retailers, multiple stores require multiple copies. When a hunter sells a trophy to a collector, often part of the deal includes a copy of the antlers to be enjoyed by the hunter. Outfitters often have agreements with their clients that if they shoot a certain-sized animal, they may have a replica made so they can display it. When a trophy is felled on a drive, many people in the hunting party often want a copy.
If two people shoot the same deer and can’t agree on whom it belongs to, sometimes it comes down to a coin flip, with the winner taking the original and the loser getting the copy.
There are many other reasons, Lebrecht said.
These antlers, with a score of 3340⁄8, are the current world record nontypical sheds. The rack has 39 points.
“It’s the iconic, champion deer,” Nola Lebrecht said. “At a Minnesota show, it just has to be there.”
There’s an interesting back story to this buck. It was believed to be 9½ years old when these sheds were picked up in 1990. The deer had been known to show up in a yard near Ely for several consecutive winters. The right side alone was scored at 1800⁄8 and is the current world record single shed.
The deer was known for years as being a world record, but it was not entered into the record books until 2012. Antlers by Klaus also has molds for two other sets of sheds from this same deer collected in 1988 and 1991.
This 9-point Meeker County buck measured 1837⁄8 typical, and it is the world’s largest 4 by 4 framed deer.
“It’s the only known wild deer to (gross) score more than 200 inches three years in a row,” Nola Lebrecht said. “The gross in the frames are just mammoth.”
How mammoth? It has an inside spread of 253⁄8 inches and an outside spread of 312⁄8 inches. Many other trophy racks can actually fit inside these antlers.
Sal Aherens Buck
Nola Lebrecht calls this the almost buck. It was almost lost forever, and it was almost declared the world record typical.
But neither of those things happened.
The 2120⁄8 typical Stearns County rack was taken in 1956, and after harvesting and gutting the deer, Sal Aherens tossed the antlers into a swamp. He thought twice about that, and retrieved them. The antlers have beams of 29 and 265⁄8 inches with a base more than 7 inches, putting them in world-class company.
“It looked like they were going to be the new world record typical,” Lebrecht said, after antler collector Chuck Arnold caught wind of them and intended to buy the antlers.
But a photo surfaced of the antlers showing two abnormal points, which would have been deductions.
“Somebody removed those points,” Lebrecht said.
The antlers were disqualified as a result.
Elmer Sellin Buck
This buck had a nontypical score of 2252⁄8, and is noted for its outstanding mass and matched drop tines. The antlers have 16 points, and the deer was harvested in 1938 near Brimson, Minn., in St. Louis County.
“That is about all I have been able to glean,” Nola Lebrecht said, hopeful that its display at the Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show could lead to more information about the buck.
“This generation is probably not familiar with it,” Lebrecht said. “We wanted to bring it to everybody’s awareness.”
Mitch Vakoch Buck
This deer, Minnesota’s top nontypical at 2685⁄7, was felled by Mitch Vakoch in 1974. It grossed 2956⁄8, and features a large drop tine on the right beam. Vakoch was 17 years old and it was his first buck kill. He was on a family and friends party drive between Thief River Falls and Ada. “They weren’t having much luck, and they had decided they would do one last drive of the day,” Nola Lebrecht said.
Moments before he fired with his 12-gauge shotgun, another hunter in the party had taken a shot, causing the deer to flee directly in the direction on Vakoch. “It’s hard to top that,” she said.