430-Pound Deer in Hartford, Michigan, Shot by Hunter- Truth! & Fiction!

430-Pound Deer in Hartford, Michigan, Shot by Hunter- Truth! & Fiction!

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Summary of eRumor:
A photo shows a monstrous 430-pound deer in Hartford, Michigan, that was shot by a hunter.
The Truth:
This tale about a monster buck that was shot in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a combination of truth and fiction.
The photo of a hunter posing next to a 400-plus pound trophy buck usually resurfaces each year as deer hunting season approaches. The photo is usually accompanied by a caption that says a 430-pound in Hartford, Michigan, was “just shot”:

The deer in the photo is real, but there are a few details that need to be cleared up.
First, the buck was raised on a game farm called Wilderness Whitetails located in northern Wisconsin — not in the wilds of Hartford, Michigan. The owners of the game farm, Greg and Shorty Flees, use a genetic program to breed trophy bucks like the one pictured, according to the business’s website:

Greg and Shorty, working purely with their own Wisconsin genetics program, began seeing the results of their meticulous and time consuming selective breeding program. Shorty and Greg’s first 200-inch buck developed on the ranch in 1989 when bucks of that size were unheard of. The Flees genetics pool today is so strong and so deep that the occurrence of 200-inch bucks on their property is as common today as 160-inch bucks were years ago.

A photo of the (supposedly) 430-pound deer appears in a photo gallery of trophy bucks shot at Wilderness Whitetails in 2009.
Shorty Flees told Field and Stream that a customer shot the buck in September 2009. And, contrary to rumors, it didn’t quite weigh 430 pounds. It was 420 pounds “live weight,” the largest whitetail ever shot on the game farm:

“Our client hunted this deer for 11 days. We’d had very warm weather and this buck just would leave his bed in a cedar swamp during the day. But it finally cooled off, and the hunter caught the buck making its way from the swamp to a food plot. He was so pumped, he just went nuts. He was kissing the deer.”

So, some of the details about the monster buck photo that circulates each year as deer hunting season approaches are true, and others are not.