Western Montana is a largely untamed land of towering mountains and fertile valleys of deep snow and vast tracts of evergreen forests. It is also home to perhaps the widest variety of big game animals in the Lower 48. Among its more notable inhabitants are elk, moose, mule deer, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goats, black bears, grizzlies, cougars, wolves and even a sprinkling of Far North species like lynx and wolverine. Oh, yeah…western Montana is also home to whitetails—some very big whitetails.
It was in this wilderness setting one cold morning in late November, 1966, that Kent Petry parked his Jeep along an old, snow-covered logging road in Flathead County, Montana, and climbed out, soon to write his name among the legends of whitetail hunting. With the wind in his face, he eased a mile or so up the road, watching for deer. Then, at around 9 a.m., he decided to sit for a few minutes on a stump. The rut was at its peak now, and the deep snow revealed plenty of deer sign.
As Kent scanned the woods, he spotted two does and a huge buck moving behind some thick spruces. When the monster walked out, he jerked his head up and stared at Kent, who had his .30/06 Remington ready. But, Kent was not prepared for what now stood before him.
“I’ll never forget that magnificent sight,” the hunter remembered. “His frosty breath looked like smoke around his head, and those antlers looked three feet tall.”
Despite being rattled at the sight of the huge antlers, Kent’s aim was true and one of the best 10-pointers in history went down.
Years passed before the buck came to the attention of the whitetail world. A coworker coaxed Kent into having the huge typical officially measured. He was scored at 199 2/8 net Boone and Crockett points, enough to rank No. 2 in Montana. Even then, Kent never entered him, but word got out about the buck and he was soon “discovered”, eventually ending up featured on the pages of North American WHITETAIL magazine.
Many whitetail connoisseurs consider this one of the greatest and most attractive 10-pointers ever. A clean 5×5 with no non-typical points and only 4 4/8 inches of side-to-side deductions, this buck is remarkably symmetrical. Everything about him is good—long 27-inch main beams, 19 inches of mass per beam, four tines over 13 4/8 inches (five over 11 4/8) and a 21 4/8-inch inside spread. But, numbers alone don’t adequately describe this buck; his classic confirmation is the real key to his majestic appearance. The upturned main beams serve to enhance the buck’s appearance and make him look even larger. Great size and beauty—a winning combination in the mind of any trophy whitetail hunter.