Rompola World Record Buck

  • BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2169665

    Listening to Steven Rinella on Joe Rogan’s podcast they got to talking about scoring bucks, and then the controversy surrounding the Rompola buck that would be the world’s biggest typical whitetail. I had never heard about this before, and it sent me down a rabbit hole about the buck and the controversy. I could care less what deer is considered the biggest, but love a good story especially one that never dies about mythic sized bucks. I was going to post some links, but will let you guys chase the rabbit down the hole as you see fit.

    To summarize it Mitch Rompola was a very well established and renowned big buck hunter with a few different state, age and bow records in Missouri and Michigan. He (supposedly) shot the world record in Traverse County in 1998, an 18 year Conservation Officer came and saw the buck after it was shot, and it was subsequently scored by 3 different veteran Boone and Crockett (and other organizations) authorized scorers. All 4 of these guys swore to it’s legitimacy then, and since. However, people questioned it as Traverse County is not a very renowned big buck county, the buck is weird looking for a few reasons (spread at the bases, and droopy ears), Rompola withdrew from the public eye after it’s notoriety spread online, he turned down a bunch of money to have it x-ray’d/verified, along with the money to be made from touring the world’s largest buck, and the Milo Hanson estate (current biggest buck holder) got him to sign off on not presenting it as the worlds largest.

    IMHO, I put the most value in the people who actually laid hands on it, and 4 people with a TON of experience handling deer, specifically big bucks, signed off and that is good enough for me. And if it was faked, the only feasible way I can see is it was a farmed deer that was presented as fair chase. I don’t believe 4 veteran deer scorers and a CO would not be able to tell a manufactured or altered rack. We may never know unless Rompola or his future estate decides to bring it out for a x-ray, but a pretty crazy buck regardless and even crazier story since. What are your thoughts?

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2169672

    I took only recently heard about this buck and have since watched several different videos where guys are talking about it. The one dude from north American whitetail is vehement that it’s faked. I admit the rack looks peculiar but to say that’s the reason is fake is pretty ridiculous to me. I took would trust those that held it. It’s not like he sought out the fame and notoriety because he essentially went off the grid when this got big. Apparently he’s a bit of a recluse and doesn’t want a lot of attention just scout and shoot big bucks. He’s apparently shot several more big bucks since. I even read YouTube comments from folks from the area and they said the way that rack was is pretty common around there.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2169675

    The one dude from north American whitetail is vehement that it’s faked.

    Yeah I thought his argument was VERY weak (from complaints about the pics to the similarities in the rack from one year to the next), and therefore reinforced the people who actually put their hands on the buck imo. And yeah I guess Rompola shot a few other bucks, and his nephew or something shot one as well with the super wide antler configuration.

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 780
    #2169679

    This has been going on since the 90’s when he’s shot the deer. It tends to pop up every so many years.

    A few years ago there was a poster on Bowsite that claimed to be Mitch’s son. He claims the deer is real. But of course he does.
    I really wish Mitch would put this topic to bed.
    My gut is telling me he can’t put it to bed. The deer have been altered.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2169680

    To me if it were altered it would be obvious to anyone who laid hands on it. Besides where would he get a rack like that in the first place? If they were artificially attached to the skull it should be dang obvious at the base of the antlers.

    Youbetcha
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 2209
    #2169681

    Its an interesting story for sure. I would have to agree that the four guys that actually saw it wouldnt lie about it. The fact its from an area not known for big bucks to me makes it seem more believable.

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 780
    #2169686

    When I worked over in Michigan the impression I got from the locals was that area isn’t known for big deer.

    As far as the rack goes. It could be a fake rack. Not to hard to make a rack even back in the 90’s.

    The deer could be legit. Everything just sounds fishy.

    I know Mitch had a deer that was largest typical in Michigan at one time. It was in a Michigan clubs record book. Just seems odd he wouldn’t want the money for a world record.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2169687

    What material would you make it out of to make it feel like bone? I know there are lots of replica deer at Cabela’s etc, but to me those racks don’t even look real.

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 780
    #2169690

    I am not sure what taxidermist use.

    I shot a buck in Kansas one year that would have been in the 150’s if he hadn’t been busted up and his right side was similar to his left. He broke his main beam off right at the G2 on his right side. Taxidermist said he could fix it and no one would know looking at it. I elected to leave the deer as it was.

    JEREMY
    Participant
    BP
    Posts: 2581
    #2169713

    I have a deer mounted at home that had 2 tines busted off. Taxidermist fixed them and nobody would ever know even if you told them which ones they were.

    basseyes
    Participant
    Posts: 2311
    #2169806

    Buck is fake as fake can be, no chance it’s real.

    The width of his bucks just raise way, way to much suspicion. Nobody else is shooting bucks that size in that country and the width is unheard for bucks in the state. Look at the record books dor Michigan and the width issues.

    He’s no recluse. Bizarre guy? Yeah. Recluse? No. He was trying to make a name for himself. Nobody who is a recluse wants to be in front of the camera ever, especially as much as he was trying to show he could pee farther than anyone else. He was willingly trying to build a brand.

    Not allowing it to be x-rayed, but claiming it’s the world record, suspicious.

    Signing away legal rights to say it’s not the world record, suspicious.

    Burns up in a fire, suspicious.

    No reclusive person I know would ever be filmed talking about the bucks they’ve killed unless they liked that kind of attention. Then to all of a sudden to not want the attention at all, suspicious.

    The pics of the one domesticated pen raised buck that has the identical rack, suspicious.

    Blood coming out the ear, suspicious.

    Him having zero desire to prove it or clear his name, bizarre. The reclusive argument holds no water because he had no problem being interviewed in the past talking about all his skills and trophies. Why would that reclusivity all of a sudden kick in if everything was above water legit? Again, suspicious.

    His legal troubles do not help his case at all, but aren’t proof of any wrong doing, but…does show some character issues. He was the one to claim the size of the buck. Then signing legal papers willingly, suspicious.

    If it was all legit, he’s a fool.

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 6762
    #2169826

    I’m far from the most informed person on the subject. I remember hearing about it and just reread 3 articles on it and looked at some pictures. I’m leaning about 70/30 that this buck is NOT legitimate.

    If someone wanted to prove its legitimacy, there were simple options that weren’t exercised that could’ve happened without further putting the guy in the limelight:

    -take additional photographs that show different angles, better resolution, close ups, etc

    -take up that offer for X-ray imaging

    -bring in one unbiased, certified judge to measure the deer and inspect in with multiple witnesses present (later when the major legitimacy issues persisted versus only immediately after the harvest)

    -submit to a recorded polygraph test once questions started to gain traction

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 780
    #2169841

    A world record animal would be panel scored. A single scorer can not score the deer for the record books (Boone and Crocket, Pope and Young).

    The panel members have to agree on the score.

    Well put BassEyes. I want to believe in this deer but as you stated way to many suspicious factors to the story.

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 16976
    #2169845

    Never heard of this until I read this. Now reading multiple articles, just leaves me with lots of questions.
    Going on and looking at other records that milo Hansen buck is huge. And the 2nd largest buck taken in north America being near Danbury is cool to see it was within 30 miles of my house. Never seen that before. But I have seen similar head gear on local bucks before which is the neighboring County to Burnette

    Justin riegel
    Participant
    Posts: 754
    #2169850

    If you want to listen to in depth dive on this Check out the Deer Hunter Podcast.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2169920

    A world record animal would be panel scored. A single scorer can not score the deer for the record books (Boone and Crocket, Pope and Young).
    The panel members have to agree on the score.

    My understanding was that was the purpose of the 3 official scorers that inspected and scored the buck originally. And they all stand by it, along with the Reservation CO that saw the buck immediately after it was killed. That’s good enough for me, but understand the skepticism.

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 780
    #2169946

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Michael Best wrote:</div>
    A world record animal would be panel scored. A single scorer can not score the deer for the record books (Boone and Crocket, Pope and Young).
    The panel members have to agree on the score.

    My understanding was that was the purpose of the 3 official scorers that inspected and scored the buck originally. And they all stand by it, along with the Reservation CO that saw the buck immediately after it was killed. That’s good enough for me, but understand the skepticism.

    They didn’t inspect the skull cap. Which has me intrigued on why they wouldn’t do that.

    A skull cap can not be cut in half.
    Boone and Crocket will accept a broken skull cap. However Pope and Young will not.
    A simple inspection of the skull cap before scoring began would have went a long ways.

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 780
    #2169947

    Never heard of this until I read this. Now reading multiple articles, just leaves me with lots of questions.
    Going on and looking at other records that milo Hansen buck is huge. And the 2nd largest buck taken in north America being near Danbury is cool to see it was within 30 miles of my house. Never seen that before. But I have seen similar head gear on local bucks before which is the neighboring County to Burnette

    The Jordan buck is #3 now.
    The Huff buck was shot in 2021 and scores 211 and change. It was shot in Indiana.

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 10714
    #2169954

    This Rompola buck was debated for years back in the early days of the interweb and hunting forums. Also, back in the day, every hunting publication tried to get a look at it and interview Rompola and got nowhere. He was way, way too cagey right from the beginning.

    It’s not legit. IMO the guy faked the buck and then discovered very quickly just how difficult it would be to get away with the fake and get it legitimized by getting it in the record books. So he gave up and went underground.

    To me it means nothing that the rack was scored by whoever. Scoring can only be legit if it can be established that the rack has not been altered and Rompola refused all efforts to that end.

    basseyes
    Participant
    Posts: 2311
    #2169965

    X2!

    The reclusive deal doesn’t hold water. He had it scored by 3 people and the tribal co saw it, so why couldn’t anyone else? If he was so reclusive nobody would have seen it or scored it to begin with. To many things don’t point to a reclusive person. Shady and slippery? Most definitely. A reclusive person doesn’t belong to a club that scores bucks, then all of a sudden crawls in a hole.

    Youbetcha
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 2209
    #2170171

    There is a meat eater podcast with the huffbuck guy on it.

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 16976
    #2170240

    Holy heck is that a freak

    big_g
    Participant
    Isle, MN
    Posts: 21629
    #2170897

    I remember when this happened… was bow hunting in Bemidji and it gave me visions of BIG BUCKS !!! The fact he wouldn’t then and won’t have it x-rayed today tells me its fake. Absolutely no reason not too.. except one. smirk

    topshotta
    Participant
    Posts: 73
    #2170912

    I hope Rinella makes a documentary on the topic, as he indicated on the podcast. I have always thought it was a fake rack attached to a dead buck but if you watch his footage of the deer’s recovery, the neck seems to move naturally when he moves the rack. I think a deer would be stiff by the time you could attach the fake rack.

    Don Meier
    Participant
    Butternut Wisconsin
    Posts: 1485
    #2170990

    Rompola is a scammer period . I have followed this since he made the claim in 1998. Detroit Free Press had several articles on his claim to fame . Yet this was not the first time he tried to defraud in the hunting world . He also used to be a mail carrier until he got fired . I would not believe a word he says , he has a ton of baggage .

    Youbetcha
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 2209
    #2175108

    There was a new picture of the rompola buck posted to facebook recently. Keep this thread alive

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2175110

    There was a new picture of the rompola buck posted to facebook recently. Keep this thread alive

    Interesting, I have not seen that yet. I watched a youtube video with Steven Rinella and he said that Rompola used to have a website where he had pictures of lots of big bucks and interestingly enough several of them at similar racks to the giant. They are all gone now.

    Youbetcha
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 2209
    #2175112

    Theres a FB page called rompola fan page or something like that where it is. Lots of guys posting pictures of deer they killed showing droopy ears as well. Kind of wild.

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