SALINA - A rare trophy deer head is being sold in Salina.
The 14-point buck, with antlers scoring the second-highest for typical whitetail deer in Kansas, is to be sold at auction beginning at 10 a.m. Sept. 19 by Wilson Realty and Auction Service, 601 S. Broadway. Also being sold are more than 80 deer heads, numerous antlers and 100 guns.
Seven auctioneers are expected to work three rings during the auction, which will take place at the auction service.
The items being sold on consignment were confiscated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, according to Kent Jones, director of law enforcement for the department.
Lonnie Wilson, who has been an auctioneer for 53 years, has sold some interesting products over the years, including a brown bear, but he’s never sold this many trophy deer mounts at a time.
“This is a different type of sale than anybody else has done,” he said. “I have not seen this many deer heads in one spot that are going to be sold. I don’t think many other people have, either.”
Buck shot in 2011
The near-record buck was shot by David Kent in 2011. In January 2012, Kent entered the antlers in the Monster Buck Classic at the Kansas Expo Center, and at that time was thought to be a record-setter. The unofficial Boone and Crocket Club score at that time for deer was 198 7/8 inches, the highest score in Kansas.
However, Kent’s deer was first measured by an official scorer before the 60-day waiting required to allow for shrinkage.
The state record for a whitetail deer shot with a gun is 198 2/8 inches, set by Dennis Finger in Nemaha County in 1974. Wilson said that Kent’s deer later was scored at a Boone and Crocket Club school at 197 3/8? inches, making it the second-highest score in the state. The next-highest score is 194 7/8 inches.
Scoring is based on the number of points on each antler, length of the points and tip-to-tip spread.
But, it wasn’t legal
But Kent’s kill had another strike against it. For scoring to be official, “the trophy must have been taken by legal means during the legal open season,” according to the state, and Kent’s trophy wasn’t taken legally.
Kent was convicted of illegally killing the deer in Osage County. He told authorities he legally shot the deer in Nemaha County around Dec. 1, 2011. However, a bow hunter produced an earlier trail camera shot of the buck in Osage County, about 100 miles south of where Kent said he killed it, and when deer season was closed.
Kent forfeited the deer’s antlers and the gun he used to the state.
The value? It depends
Mike Charowhas, of Abilene, known as The Antler Collector, said the value of deer trophies depend on the score, the visual appearance and how it got the score.
“If they have fewer points but a high score, the rack is going to be bigger,” he said.
“A set of antlers is only worth what someone is truly willing to pay for it.”
Charowkas has been dealing in antlers for 25 years, starting at age 14.
He estimates that the near-record deer head should sell for at least $3,500. Bidding could reach $10,000 if the right buyers are at the sale.
“That’s a hell of a score for a typical deer. The problem is, that is the smallest-looking buck I have ever seen with that type of score,” he said. “It’s pretty, but it’s narrow. It’s got a lot of points.”
Taken across state lines
The Kent deer head and antlers and 110 others confiscated following investigations were released Monday by court officials.
Some of the deer were killed illegally in Kansas and then taken to Texas. Jones, of Wildlife and Parks, said that because the deer were transported over state lines after they were shot, the offenses are felonies.
“A lot of them were tied with cases our officers have worked over the course of quite a number of years,” Jones said. “Some of those cases involved a large number of deer. In other cases, we had situations where there may have been one or two deer that were seized in a poaching case. We are trying to move everything we have and take it off our inventory.”
Proceeds of the auction will go toward conservation education and programs, or to benefit people who have disabilities, Jones said.
More than just antlers
Wilson has experience selling antlers.
“We had one (set of antlers) sell for $850, but most of the good ones were in the $200 range,” he said. “Just the so-so antlers you can figure $10 to $12 a pound.”
The state also will sell 50 guns, three boats, a jet ski, archery equipment, fishing poles, deer stands, spotting scopes and other miscellaneous hunting equipment confiscated by the Wildlife and Parks Department.
Wilson said he expects others to offer hunting equipment for the auction, on consignment. One owner has already entered two elk heads in the auction. One of those scored 300 and 350 points.
The state record for an elk is 354 5/8?, taken by Salinan Sherry Price, in 2003, in Riley County.