Not sure what you want for an "inside story". He shot a Whitetail that he had been hunting for 3 years that scores (as written in the link that JTV posted to Dan Schmidt's story in D&DH) more than any typical Whitetail currently listed by the major record keeping organizations. And it's real and legit.
I don't blame him.
It would be hard enough to believe had it been done in mostly private Southern Michigan farm country but it is utterly ridiculous to stage the farce out of Traverse City.
It’s a shame the big bow model and synthetic scent company tried to cash in before everything became official.
And to think this all happened pre Photoshop!
Thanks for the analysis EF. When you talk...people listen :-))
As far as that map with the circles on it, well the solid circle in the middle is my house
Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to bring a few facts into the conversation. Those always get in the way of the legendary tales.
You would have to know the history between my dad and the guy offering him the $10k. Also, no other deer at the top of the records was ever required to be x-rated to determine its legitimacy. Why should one deer be held to a different standard.
Sorry my phone autocorrected your handle.
just because something like that dosnt show up in some book, dosnt mean some B&C deer arnt there ..
As for the x-ray offer, why agree to something that demeaning after the rack and skull plate had been examined by so many highly credible individuals who were willing to risk their reputations? The scorers and the conservation officer weren't just hillbillies who fell off a hay truck. If I was your dad and had a bad history with him, I'd tell that guy to stick that 10K up his wazoo.
TopGun, you should be careful or you will get yourself thrown off yet another forum.
One can guess and twist and tap dance all they want. Facts are facts, and not subject to mental state that you are offended somehow. You can't CLAIM it should have been a WR when it is fairly easy to submit it to panel measurement. You have to PROVE you have a legit WR to be entered..... NOT some ridiculous notion someone has to prove that it wasn't.... If you have any evidence that this was panel measured and entered as the WR I'd love to see it.
Otherwise it's just another local legend..... gone like bong smoke......
Maybe it was a record. He took his ball and ran away. I could care less that he was some recluse...... he put it out there as some WR. Not anyone else. Does not seem the action of someone who "doesn't care".
Has there been any relevant PROOF come up in all those years that say different? If so, I don't think there is some time limit on entry? Bring it on.....
I know a guy Gary Neumier, who lives in SW Wis and hunted for years in obscurity in NW Wis, he shot what the wenzel brothers at the time were killing, and he shot all of it on public land, never entered one animal,,,,,,, this past year he killed a 176, his best buck, at 8 yards,,,, the guy also said, just go hunt, and have fun,,,, lots of guys like that... they do not beat their own drums,,,,,, they never watch outdoor tv, and they for the most part, on not here on bowsite
LOL, He didn't need to "long arm" the photo :^}
Give the man his due ! His buck did not need "ground growth"
I did not see it, I did not check it by touching it. However lot's of folk's did, and I for one do not presume to think / believe those who did check it are all liar's.
Lot's of folk's have never published or entered their trophy's into any record book.
Nearly every person I know that has taken a very large deer seems to run into a boatload of unnecessary controversy afterwards, typically without merit and caused purely from jealously.
I know of one instance where someone broke into a house and stole a huge buck. Shoot it, get it in the truck, get it home and keep your mouth shut.
Like I said earlier, witness the most hilarious hunting pic in history. Hahahaha!
The buck is real. The question is about the circumstances under which it was killed.
Nick is right, I've been there, but most comments made me laugh. As for the Romp buck I could care less, I'm skeptical, but in all reality it means nothing one way or the other. If he truly didn't want the popularity, none of these pictures would've surfaced and sure as hell never would've been a recovery video..... at that time that was some real effort to showcase something. If it says anything, I killed my biggest the same year and had to have my film developed.
Haters gonna hate.
Here's the buck shortly after the 'kill' . The tiny sliver of 'skull plate' completely encased in bondo...antlers stickin' out straight sideways.....hahaha!
I wasn't there, so all I know is that a number of reputable, trusted men risked their reputations to publicly attest (and allow that to be published in national magazine interviews) that the rack was real. Seems like if it was fake there would be one person who actually held it who would come out and say it?
I, as would most, would love to see this rack resurface and one way or anohter put an end to the mystery. Heck maybe even bring the WR Typ back to the states.
* **I didn't say it did, although they like to know the general whereabouts the animal was taken. Look at all the BS that is just in this thread alone by people that don't know squat about the area Mitch shot that buck. I am not a liar when I stated what I did and if I can see two B&C bucks and one even bigger that made Book a mile from my place, but wasn't entered, isn't it enough along with looking at all the other huge bucks he shot up there? I don't know what to say other than there are a lot of jealous idiots in this world and it appears that Bowsite has it's fair share of them too!
All of this This discussion reminds of a quote by Abraham Lincoln,
“If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
Makes sense to me unless you believe 200 + policemen were trying to frame O.J.
There are some women I've talked to on the phone that sounded somehow "hot or beautiful" and then for whatever reason years later you meet them and it's like "dang I wish I never would have met her" lol, the Mitch Rompola buck may be that scenario that is fun left to the intrigue of it...
Maybe a few are jealous, but I wouldn't say most. I think most want to know 100% without doubt it is legit or bogus.
As for the legitimacy of the Hansen buck, all the controversy came by way of rumor. Which we all know happens, and some even a victim of it.. I'm one. No controversy about the authenticity of the Hansen or Beaty or Loven or Tucker rack. If I had a million dollar rack hanging on my wall I would've sold it and been staring at a nice replica, while I stroked the dividend checks, but I guess Rompola is already rich beyond his means. Or maybe he just doesn't care, if I were his son I'd talk some sense into my old man.
I've tried to put myself in the shoes of someone killing a world record animal. Not sure how I'd react. One of those things I don't think anyone can plan. I don't think I would like the spotlight very much, and it's a pretty sad commentary that simply by avoiding the spotlight some will assume you have something to hide.
Call me a hater, jealous, whatever. I'm sure he's a great hunter and all but being a great hunter doesn't mean you can produce a WR typical due to your hunting skills.
No one will ever know I guess, as a little research revealed he can't enter it. He signed a legal agreement that the deer was no WR or larger than the Hanson buck and he could make no claims as such. He was forced to put up or shut up. He shut up. For what reasons I don't know..... nor care. Again, was never panel scored nor entered. Done.
Other interesting notes.... apparently this "recluse" was also an official measurer for P&Y and B&C and a high ranking member in the CBM. They videoed the recovery in a time where the camera gear was not real common for the average Joe and was like lugging around a toaster oven. It was planned and arranged to be promoted.
Nawwww..... he didn't care about scores or records or anything like that. (actually being a scorer was a ruse I guess...) LOL!
A person can say many things about this infamous hunter and deer..... that he didn't care and was not interested in scores, WRs and such is not one of them.
Gordon has been around for quite some time, here is what he has to say. When the cards were on the table Rompola folded.... I guess he's a Kenny Rogers fan too!
Hunter: Mitch Rompola, Traverse City, Michigan Date: November 13, 1998 7:47 AM Hunting Method: Bowhunting From a treestand. Bow: CSS (Custom Shooting System) Signature Series Compound, 34-inch axle to axle, set at 58 pounds with Adjustable Pro-stop set to 30 inches draw with letoff adjusted to 75 percent. Arrow: Gold Tip 5-layer Laminated Graphite shaft, 5575 spine, full length 32 inches, crown dipped. Broadhead: Gold Tip Gladiator, 125 grain expandable, four blades Scent Control: Buck Fever Vanishing Hunter spray, Scent Lok Suit Scent Used: Mock scrape made with Buck Fever Synthetic Scent Shot Distance: 12 yards Distance traveled after shot: 70 yards Deer – typical whitetail, mature adult, 7 ½ years old (biologist aged) Weight, Field Dressed: 263 pounds, certified scales (estimated live weight 300+ pounds) Antlers: 38-inch outside spread, measured 216 5/8 inches net typical, by a respected panel of official Michigan measurers. Hmmmm.......
1. For a loner not seeking the limelight, Mitch sure had lots of sponshorships lined up from synthetic scents to his bow etc.....He also had his web site, lined up the interviews etc.... 2. Mitch sure has a pension for killing bucks with unusually wide racks and even wider spaces between antler burrs along with brow tines that tilt out which is also very, very rare. 3. Many of his "kills" have racks that don't seem to match the bodies. Having been a taxidermist, antler collector, antler repair guy some of his older deer look terrible. He seemed to get better at attaching racks over the years. 4. Ears can certainly droop but like the photo below, the muscle features change when the ear butt muscleature is cut through or damaged like from skinning back and attaching antlers.
I really wish Barry Wensel would weigh in on this since he and his brother Gene had several run ins with Mitch in the 1980's. Mitch DID WANT to be recognized and have notoriety long before he shot the supposed world record.
Barry truly believes Mitch is mentally ill and that could explain some weird run ins with the law on non-hunting related stuff. For folks that haven't, it's interesting to read antler collector , Larry Huffman's article on why he believes its phony bologna.
Admittedly, both Larry and Craig Calderone who each offered 10,000 (20,000 total) to have the rack X-Rayed have an axe to grind. It would cost antler collectors like Larry some money to devalue their collection and previously Craig had the Michigan state record bow kill which was featured in North American Whitetail.
Additionally, supposedly Craig was pissed at Mitch as well since he believed Mitch had alerted scoring officials to a spotlighting violation when Craig had shined deer with a gun in the trunk. No deer was poached but it dethroned Craig's deer which on the contrary, had been well documented and plenty of skull plate and quality kill photos.
I really , really, really doubt Mitch killed a 38 inch wide whitetail and really, really, really doubt that his deer dressed out at 263 pounds.
I also think the "panel" of scorers that Mitch trained and hand-picked were bafoons for not demanding to inspect the encased skull plate that was trimmed narrowly down to a knats ass a week after the kill? I am highly suspicious looking at poor, grainy photos. How were they not suspicious in person???
It looks more like the color purple in the original stain job than the movie, "The Color Purple." It was later obviously re-colored and evened out. Larry believes Pottasium Permanganate was used which was very common at the time.
I know most people don't see the details in things and that's precisely why people buy, pay for and brag about atrocious taxidermy.....all the time on this site.
I can't ever remember and I've killed a ton of deer, elk, antelope etc......having ONE photo with blood running out of the deer's ear. But if you cut the ear butt muscle from the inside and lay the deer on that side......the arteries and cappilaries certainly could spew some blood.
Finally, think about live footage you've seen of an excited guy that is twisting and turning the rack of a giant buck he's killed. Mitch was EXTREMELY careful to NEVER move or pick up or twist the deer's head in his walk up video. Who does that?
In the inspiring words of Jim Belushi, "Pull my other leg, it plays Jingle Bells."
This was an obvious hoax, albeit a very poorly done, yet hilarious one. Cmon guys.
I'll let the masses decide.
See how this sounds? Congratulations on a world class buck if none of those apply to you :)
Scroll up and read his very articulate post!
Here is another one I have a few vids of.
Ain't that the truth in all respects, especially the haters comment!
The only thing Mitch didn't do is have it xrayed when those two guys started giving him all kinds of crap. He had a number of reputable people, including the area GW, look at it while it was still in his PU after he shot and recovered it. Then reputable people scored the rack. Milo Hansen, as far as I know, wasn't hounded to get his buck xrayed and it was accepted as the record, so why shouldn't Mich have been treated the same way? The Hansen buck was run all over the prairie up there before he happened to run by Hansen and get shot, whereas Mitch has shot a ton of huge bucks with archery equipment and yet many are haters just because he's better than probably any other archer in history!
It is probably the most famous buck of all time. The interesting thing is that it got MORE notoriety because of all the controversy and the fact that the hunter decided NOT to prove it was legit and said screw it. Personally, I like the fact that he just dropped the whole thing instead of trying to prove it was legit and go the "celebrity" route! It is probably the most talked about buck in history because of that.
Third, I'll come on to bowsite and offer a public apology to Mitch and his posse of fans.
My dad will be 70 this year. And he does still hunt with family and a couple of close friends. He shot another monster and very unique non-typical this past fall (again in that part of Michigan where that class of buck just doesn't exist according to some).
I love that the world record elk, came from a DIY local on public land in Montana,,, I hope the next world record deer comes out the same way....................................
There are enough people out there, trying to create one, that's for sure
The buck’s pics/video/story was all over everywhere - but when it came time to really put it in the public eye all of a sudden the hunter decides he will just become a “recluse” and clam up about it? Don’t buy it. A “recluse” would never have done all the stuff leading up to that point designed to gain the notoriety.
Rough Country’s post above did away with any lingering thoughts I may have had that it may have been legit.
This story has legs. :)
I am curious to see if this buck will ever be given the credit it deserves. I have no dog in this fight and don't have an opinion either way, but I feel if it is indeed a record, it should be recognized as such. If Mr Rompola indeed wanted to escape the speculation and publicity, I don't think that worked out for him.
The whole book was a good read and interesting how those guys bow hunt in their part of the country. 'Course some of those guys have since turned into law breakers in the eyes of many.
I killed a pretty big deer several years ago. I got him out of the woods at 9 PM. I had to check him in the next day, skin, take care of the meat, and drop the horns off at the taxidermists. I dropped him off at around 3. My taxidermists said by 7 pm the next day, he had heard from 4 different people, that I don't even know, that I had poached the deer. Jealousy is a bad thing. And, I cannot tell you the number of really big deer I have seen in garages, horn boxes, etc..., killed by very good deer hunters, that are HUGE. They just European mount or cut the horns off and do it again. God Bless men
His written agreement that he would not claim it as anything pretty much says it all.
Time to move on from the sideshow, nothing to see here.....
Honestly......if he's a happy man then good for him.
Time to move on from the sideshow, nothing to see here.....
To you, Ohiohunter, and all the others that have no idea what actually went on when Mitch shot that buck up here years ago I have to call BS and say shame on all of you that call yourselves hunters! I AM a rational person and for you to come on and say that any rational person should believe the BS that you and others are putting out that make the buck Mitch shot not an honest trophy can in plain English stick it where the sun don't shine!
Could it have been an honest above board WR? Who knows. There is no proof or facts that is was. That's not my fault. It's his. So.... as in the settlement he signed..... it was not.
All the rest..... I don't know what the scoring system is for Unicorn farts....... but would seem to be anything you wish it was.....
Good grief.... what the heck COULD have gone on that someone who went to such lengths to promote the deer...... awww, never mind.
And yeah.... I call myself a hunter. A bowhunter at that.
Please... if you.... or anyone.... know the FACTS.... PLEASE enlighten us as to WHY he took his ball and went home after setting all this up for the big CHA-CHING..... and you can drop all the "recluse" and other rationalizations. I want to hear....
com'on..... you can tell us......
I've been in the spot light, I know what its like, I've experienced what WV describes on a lot higher level. I probably would've had the cover of NA WT had Dale Larson not killed an absolute monster. I would've xrayed it in a heartbeat, I would've taken a polygraph.. all for free................... Rompola wouldn't do it for $20k!
topgun... Rompola signed legal document stating it is NOT the WR, despite any measurements. Thats more proof than your teary eyed post. What part of that do you not comprehend?
We probably wouldn't even be talking about it now if the hunter had proven it one way or the other. In an odd sort of way, I am kinda glad it is still a mystery! ;-)
This rack may be the real deal. He might have stabbed it, even fair chase outside of his tag authority or possibly season.
This would explain why no DNA allowed to compare rack to carcass. Imagine the problems he would have with the wardens, no hunting for a long time. He still could have jumped on the xray $ unless he cracked the skull, but there is probably no crime in that. Also explains why the drag had to be done by himself alone. This also explains why the witnesses all claim the rack is real. They cannot vouch for the circumstances of its collection. What date did he fill his 97 tag?
One way he could game that is if there are no samples of the carcass left anywhere, and he strips the mount down and has some professional put a new cape on it. He could supply the cape or buy it. That would legitimize why the dna is not a match. He excuse is the old cape had bugs and was rotting off.
He could very well have harvested the new world record, but maybe not legally. To actually be the world record it would had to have been legal. There in lies the rub. Same guy successfully bowhunting the same deer, but not playing by ALL the rules.
Just a theory. Perhaps when Mitch gets too old to hunt yet still has his wits about him he can explain what actually happened. I doubt he would do while he still wants to hunt.
If that's possible, naturally, somebody enlighten me.
Let's see that buck.
I lived, worked as a Land Surveyor and hunted in Burnett County for several years and know it well. I currently live in the next county south and still hunt in Burnett County at times.
The area where the Jordan Buck was killed has pretty infertile sandy soil and a lot of jackpine timber. It's not exactly the most fertile land in the country. Definitely nothing like Iowa or southern MN or WI.
There are some nice bucks shot in Burnett County but not many come anywhere close to the Jordan Buck. It just goes to show that big bucks can come out of relatively infertile country if they live long enough.
I would like to believe that the Rompola buck is real but I could also argue either side of the argument...
If the recovery video is real which shows his walking up on giant buck whose rack resembles the one on the photo, then there are a few things that I questioned. The video and and picture are two completely different types of woods which is not that big of deal. But the actual deer looks different and the rack in the photo looks like the antlers are way too flat and the deers antlers in the video are more realistically angling out the top of he deers head like every other deer I've ever seen. So here's my theory..
Mitch shoots a giant buck, potential world record. Videos the recovery and people see it and actually handle the deer in the back of the pickup. So he takes the deer home and since he cut the skull plate off so ridiculously small he broke the skull in half while handling it. (I've done this before on small bull elk by accident). So in a effort to repair it doesn't get it quite right, and ends up with some awkward looking antlers witha skull plate covered in bondo. Then he shoots another buck and replaces its rack with his WR rack hence the photo getting the awkward look and somewhat prooving the conspiracy theorists rights.
Now, to save face and not be called a liar and cheat and also the guy who shot the new WR buck but broke its skull plate, he refuses to get it X-rayed. So in turn, he did shoot a New Wr buts it's not he official Wr cause he broke the skull plate.
Good thing about this theory is everybody is a little bit right and Mitch is still a great hunter with some really bad luck.
Guess what, I still don't care... I'll wake up tomorrow morning just as I did this morning with zero concerns regarding this topic.... wish I could say the same for you.
Mitch knows the truth as does God. It'd be downright spectacular to see Mitch come out and prove the naysayers wrong if the buck is real. WyoBowHunter, if Mitch is really your father, I commend you for speaking up on this site and tolerating the venom the way you have.
I said I was done posting, but this post of yours shows how big of an ahole you are when you make those kinds of comments to and about me now. You're a brave SOB with a keyboard. I may be 70 but come at me with that shit face to face and you'll be picking your teeth off the ground! I've been back and forth with wybowhunter by PM, know exactly where he lives now, and he's just sitting back laughing at the thread to keep from crying with you bunch of jackwads and all your theories that are getting even more ridiculous since my last post. He knows the truth that it was a legitimate kill and why Mitch did what he did, but why come on here to let you rip him apart like you have his Dad?! As far as that snow theory if you don't live up here and know the crazy weather patterns it's just another BS stretch. I'm in a spot where we get hammered and you can go a mile or two and the ground is bare! Yes, I'm pretty emotional when I know what the truth is about this whole situation and then have to read all this BS and trashing of a guy that can probably hunt better in his sleep than the whole bunch of you when you're out in the woods, LOL! Mitch was and still is a killing machine at our age with so many P&Y and B&C bucks that it's unreal and he didn't shoot them at night or out of season, or any way other than through legal means. You bunch are just pathetic and need to get a life! PS: If the person who questioned the identity of wybowhunter had done a name search for free on the net to verify it, he would see that Kevin Mitchell Rompola is the son of Mitch and now lives in the state of Wyoming, not to be confused with the Wyoming that's a suburb of Grand Rapids, MI.
If Mitch's son really is here I'd like him to tell us about that snow photo and perhaps share it.
You say that money isn't everything. That's right it's not, especially if you are already rich. Mitch wasn't and isn't rich and the kind of money the WR would mean could have given him whitetail bowhunting heavens and equipment, and wherewithal to hunt trophy WTs for the rest of his life, to to mention his sons. Very little pride swallowing would have been involved and if anything he would have extracted sweet revenge on all the naysayers. All the stuff about droopy ears and blood is indeed irrelevant, but not the x-ray issue and the non compete agreement. If he was so prideful, why sign that? If called to court, bring the rack in as your evidence, end of story. Where is the natural pride anyone would have to fight back and show all the skeptics they were wrong at least one final unambiguous time even if you were sick of the controversy, it would take very little time and effort to have the x-rays done, as much effort as buying a few groceries at the local market. The rack is fake.
***That is quite the hypocritical post when in one sentence you agree that money isn't everything and then turn right around and say how great it would have been if he had a lot of money to pursue his passion---yadayadayada! FYI the only unusual circumstance that started that whole mess were the two jealous jerks that were harassing Mitch due to previous run ins with him. The big money involved was strictly what Hansen would have lost if his buck would have been dethroned and I hope everyone knows what shit you go through when lawyers get involved and the money they want for their services. Mitch doesn't and hasn't ever needed a wad of money to hunt big whitetails, as he's been doing it his entire life right up though the big NT he shot near TC last Fall with what most would probably call meager money he lives on. FYI Kevin moved out to Wyoming just to be close to the great elk hunting he can do every year as a resident out there when he fell in love with calling in big bulls during the archery season when they're rutting.
Either that or the man truly is irrational. Regardless, I'll side with Occam's Razor - the simplest explanation is usually right - especially when money is dangling like low fruit for basically no work at all other than driving to a nearby x-ray facility/dentist or doctor's clinic.
Topgun..Funny you just so happen to be the same age as Rompola... as his son exclaimed. And you sure do sound awfully worked up over a bunch of guys speculating about a 20yr old deer... fyi everything discussed on here will not impact anyone's life whatsoever, well maybe you and your health, but thats not our fault. Sounds like you and Kevin have quite the relationship, I suggest you strengthen that bond before its too late, now turn off the computer before you stroke out.
Edit... Dave, I like that quote...... do you think we can drive this thread to 500??? do you think topgun will live to see it???
That's some funny shiz right there!
***You are one work of art and I guess that's because you're a friggin Buckeye, LOL! Stay with your daily job because you'd starve as a comedian if you're so interested in having money! So now you're questioning my age too! FYI my birthday was 8/16/47 and I was born breech. Would you like to know the Hospital where I was born too, LOL? I also have never met Kevin, but just struck up a quick conversation with him by PM when you jerks started dissing his Father! I'm glad I've been able to tell you to stick it because if I were Kevin I don"t know what I'd be doing abut now after reading all this BS you guys are coming up with. All I can say is that he is one cool cucumber staying out of this and I wish I could, but when I read shit I can't stay quiet and have to call people out that have no idea what really went on up here after Mitch shot that buck.
HOLD UP ON THE BUCKEYE SLURS...... This could get to be a revolting topic for Michigander's !
Look I for one believe the Game Warden, the scorers, along with the other folks who saw who handled and deemed the buck to to legitimate. Those officials and folks had no vested interest in lying or perpetrating a hoax.
Just because no one saw it previously or another one hasn't been seen means nothing. Has anyone seen another "Missouri Monarch" in that area of St. Louis, or did anyone ever see another "Hole in the Horn" buck in that area or so on and so forth ?
THIS POST needs to be put down or moved the Community Forum so those who wish to vent, bad mouth others can have their go at one-another.
Fellow's let's leave this alone, at least for another year !
Then topgun had to go and have an aneurysm.
On an unrelated note, cant believe this sucker is still up......tic tok tic tok....
From: WyoBowHunter 26-Feb-18 Jaquomo, Not sure what you want for an "inside story". He shot a Whitetail that he had been hunting for 3 years that scores (as written in the link that JTV posted to Dan Schmidt's story in D&DH) more than any typical Whitetail currently listed by the major record keeping organizations. And it's real and legit.
I see it could be hard for some to understand that money is not everything. I could make twice the amount I do if I were to take travel jobs in other states. Instead, I stay local to avoid the hassle. Ten years later, people still question me why I walked away from outfitting. It was easy money, and I controlled a decent amount of land. They can't understand that I hated baysitting "hunters" that didn't understand that KS deer hunting is hard sometimes, that I couldn't hunt with my friends and family, and that some guys are just plain hard to please and a pain to be around. I discovered it is a greed-driven business with a fair amount of instability. I find far more joy hunting my own land and other states and countries and with friends and family.
Re: Money isn't everything, almost everyone agrees but $100,000 to much much more for the trouble it would take to have a dentist x ray the rack is just not going to be passed up except in exceptional circumstances.
I have no bone in this argument really, as I think the whole thing about so called world records, especially typical racks is as absurd as a big mouth bass world record. I agree 100 percent with your stated sentiments about just enjoying work and family vs. trying to get rich.
You said to assume the following.........."Consider this, if the odds Romola would turn down 6 figures $$$+++ because of pride or too much hassle let's say is 1 in a 1000; if the odds are a buck like this is killed by a bowhunter and not a rifle hunter is say 1 in a 100; if the odds are the buck came from that area of Michigan are say 1 in a 1000; if the odds are the antlers really are real given the extremely unusual configuration esp. the brow spree which I believe is the greatest or one of the greatest ever record is 1 in a 1,000,000 - then we are looking at odds of .001 x .01 x .001 x .00001 = 1 in a billion or whatever (my little calculator went bonkers and quit..."
I say assume it happened and if so that makes it 100% true. There is not an opinion on this that matters above as to if it is real or not. What we think does not change what actually if factually real.
out of all there posts all but one, Kevin's, is a suspect opinion. Nobody but Kevin is in a position to be lying or telling the truth.
Mysteries are always a bit interesting, that's all. I have no dog in this fight.
I tried to cut and paste this. If it didn't work , maybe someone could assist me.
It's a 48 second video of Mitch walking up on this buck in question.
Very little adds up, other than some people who are claimed to have said the rack was real. In perspective, it's just an interesting mystery to many of us and to solve the mystery, a few things would need to be investigated vs. just accepted.
Well which one was it? That struck me as odd. IMO if I had people that I didn't care for offer me $20,000 just for a x-ray im laughing and taking their money to the bank! He gave interviews but wouldn't verify the rack through a x-ray. Case closed.
No doubt he's a excellent hunter with a passion for whitetails. But think he got a little caught up in everything and saw big money. Money will make people do crazy things
The one thing that I do agree with ohiohunter is that I also consider the Jordan buck to still be the "fair chase king of the hill". The Hansen buck was chased all over the prairie up there until it finally ran by Hansen close enough to get wacked. I don't call that a fair chase situation, and yet B&C scored the deer and made it the new WR over the Jordan buck!
But, for the record, innocent until proven guilty doesn't apply in this case. When someone makes a claim, the burden of proof is on them, as proved in this case in court. And also for the record, I would LOVE for this story to be true, I WANT it to be true, but me wanting and you believing doesn't make it so. So, again, this approaching 300 post thread means absolutely zilch
Topgun nope, I get it but I don't think you do. The explanation is simple. You're right in the sense that Mitch should be presumed innocent in a court of law or even public opinion to a considerable extent. But if he wanted the buck to be a WR, he would need to meet certain requirements and those requirements can include x-rays and submitting the rack to B & C (since his bow was not legal for P & Y). He exercised his rights not to do that. He also folded on the Hansen challenge for whatever reason. He doesn't have the world record, bottom line. The reasons why are legitimately open to debate, some proponents on both side have valid points, but it's not the WR buck period.
"As for Rompola, I believe that he fabricated his antlers. The coloration of the Rompola antlers is very suspect. Back several years ago, it was common practice to use Potassium Permanganate to stain antlers. This product produced a brownish/purple color. Today’s experts actually paint antlers using modern techniques. As I have said, some are so good it is almost impossible to detect. They no longer use Potassium Permanganate.
Old antlers turn somewhat yellow. Some more than others depending on where they have been hanging. If they have been hanging in a smoke filled room they can be quite discolored.
If you examine the photo of the Rompola buck you will notice a yellow tone on the three longest tines. These tines change color about three or four inches above the main beams. The color of the tines where they join the main beams is a brownish/purple color like that of Potassium Permanganate staining. This color is also quite evident from the skull out past the brow tines. The same stain or color appears where all of the tines join the main beams.
Another thing that is very suspicious is the distance between the burrs. I am the owner of the Legendary Whitetail collection. I have personally measured the distance between the burrs on most of the 84 trophy heads in this collection. This list includes the Jordan, Hole In The Horn, Breen, The Mel Johnson and many more. The widest distance I have found between the burrs on any of these trophy bucks is 3 ¼”.
The Rompola buck is said to have a 38” outside spread. Using this dimension as a basis, it is very easy to calculate the distance between the burrs. On the Mitch Rompola buck the distance between burrs comes out to 4 ¾”, a full 1 ½” greater than any buck in the Legendary collection. That would mean that the skull on the Rompola buck was almost 50% wider than any previous world record buck."
"I'm Bored, REALLY Bored"
Plenty of controversy. Good ole Milo and the boys ran that buck down with a truck. I always look for truck as method of take in the book, but they must just have that for Milo.
My only though on that big buck is being that freaking wide, how did he walk 10 feet in that cedar swamp?
That's a tough label to shake.
This second pic sure looks like he put a rack on a doe.
LBT, ya' that pic does look like "an arrangement..." Well, here's a buck I took. He hit the ground so hard one of his antlers came off. "Well, what should I do now for the photo?" *Just but 'em back in place...you can improve him a little, but don't get too greedy...*
Nick Muche's Link
Author’s Notes: The following story is Mitch Rompola’s first-hand account behind the amazing chain of events in his three-year quest that lead to him bow harvesting his mega-buck. Unlike many previous articles on Rompola that focused on negative speculation, this author offers you an inside look at Rompola the deer hunter and the incredible depth of his passion for pursuing big whitetails. Mitch opens his complex world of bowhunting whitetails not to boast of his accomplishments, but to pass along 40 years of whitetail wisdom to help you, the reader, better understand the keys to successfully pursuing world-class deer.
Our lives represent nothing more than the results of statistical probability. It’s all a game of odds, really; jobs, spouses, the lives we lead, the deer we shoot.
Oh sure, we affect those odds somewhat every day by our actions and try to chart the course of our destinies. But try as we might, just what are the odds of any particular hunter taking the biggest whitetail of all time?
Consider that each year some 11,500,000 deer hunters go afield and only one of those fortunate hunters bags the biggest deer ever measured once every 40 to 50 years.
So how has just one man in his span of 40 years of hunting, harvested with a bow and arrow, close to 20 record-class bucks, three state records and probably the biggest typical whitetail ever taken with a gun or bow?
Quite simply by stacking the odds in his favor far beyond the limits of statistical probability.
A master architect of his own success, Mitch Rompola began beating the odds when he was 9 years old. Armed with only a recurve bow and undaunted confidence, he waded into a cattail marsh to take the biggest deer ever arrowed in Missouri before 1958. Mitch topped his 153-inch monster five years later by arrowing a 206-inch non-typical when he was 14. And by the time he reached 18 and left home for Michigan, he had tagged three record-class whitetails.
Thrown into a foreign environment of hunting the cedar swamps of northern Michigan, Mitch realized the odds were against him now. So he set out to topple the obstacles of probability through an understanding of the deer he hunted.
Even as a teenager he knew secret to bowhunting bucks anywhere hinged on a solid foundation of understanding through scouting. So he waded into the tangled cedar swamps scouting endlessly until he knew the whitetails as well as they knew each other. While the rest of society, including many a wanta-be expert hunter, went about their daily lives of work, family, recreation, friends and watching television, Mitch roamed the woods for miles, backtracking deer through the snow and logging their patterns.
Spending an estimated 200 to 300 days per year scouring the countryside and relentlessly interpreting deer sign, Mitch recorded everything related to the sign he saw. His log books read more like the chronicles of deer than a man. They contained every scrap of information including; rubs, scrapes, trails, sheds, sightings, how deer interacted and reacted to other deer, to other hunters, wind direction relative to movements, patterns relative to terrain, all the way into the psychology of why particular deer did what they did when they did it. The years of mounting log books with their associated maps and aerial photos only hinted at the compilation of understanding that grew behind the dark, predatory eyes of Mitch Rompola.
Simply by spending 100 to 1000 times more effort scouting than the average hunter, Mitch vastly skewed the odds of success in his favor. But the real key wasn’t in the scouting time alone. It hinged on the cumulative lessons they offered to an ever-inquisitive mind. Armed with both his vast knowledge base and refined hunting skills, Mitch entered a life-consuming pursuit of big deer that perhaps only one in a million hunters would consider let alone commit their life to. Many a hunter could imagine the passion that would drive Rompola, but few could comprehend the depth of recluse man who lived their dream.
Yet, however extraordinary his commitment as a deer hunter, Mitch modestly scoffs, “Oh, I suppose anybody could really get to understand deer that much if they were willing to spend the time and effort.”
The big “if” is in fact what separates Mitch from the rest of the deer hunting world. And it’s that big if that helped him in tallying more record-class bucks with a bow than anyone in Michigan history, including taking the current state record typical, a massive 183 5/8-inch 12-pointer that he took in 1985.
So maybe it’s not so statistically remarkable that if any hunter in North America could conceivably take the world’s biggest typical whitetail, it should be Mitch Rompola. But then again, there’s the vital role of the deer and its habitat in the equation, and ultimately connecting both hunter and deer. That’s where probability appears to have fallen into the hands of fate.
Urban expansion forced Mitch in the summer of 1994 to look for a new hunting spot. He wasn’t happy with the long drive to a remote area owned by friends, but he was encouraged by all the components the new spot offered for harboring big bucks.
Irony or fate also changed another facet of his hunting that year. A long-time skeptic of deer scents, he tried a new concept in deer lures, a synthetic scent invented by a local hunter, Kevin Kreh. “I had tried most of the deer scents over the years,” said Mitch, “and experimented with different scents where I had lots of deer. But I got such mixed reactions and negative results with just 1 ½ year old naïve bucks, I would never try that stuff on a mature whitetail that I have put a lot of time into and risk a negative reaction.”
So when Kevin approached Mitch with the idea of trying his Buck Fever Synthetic Scent, Mitch became more reluctant than ever. “Synthetic scent? I thought what kind of a crackpot do we had here? But Kevin had killed big deer over it so out of curiosity I tried it and was shocked at what happened. The deer literally tore the place to pieces during late spring when they were totally out of the rut. I knew this was really unusual behavior. So I tried some behind the house and also got excellent hits.”
Armed with a scent product he felt he could trust, detailed maps and an unquenchable thirst to learn all he could about the new area, Mitch began deciphering the subtle deer sign there. The new spot offered a remote blend of twisting ridges that dumped in a vast cattail marsh, an ideal security hideout for reclusive bucks.
In addition to his usual scouting and logging tactics, Mitch began to develop a new technique of patterning bucks using the synthetic scent. Through trial and error, he learned how to create synthetic trap lines that helped him key in on specific spots where he might ambush a big buck. “It was mostly by accident that I learned how to effectively use the synthetic scent. At first I began putting it in a lot of areas to see where I would get the best hits. Out of 50 to 100 synthetic scrapes I found that some barely got hit while others got hit hard. So at first I used it primarily as a scouting tool to help eliminate low percentage areas. That really helped me learn about the bucks in the area. But it was a big parcel of land and I knew it would take a couple of seasons before I could hunt it effectively.”
Again, Mitch was using statistical probability with the scent to focus his efforts. Just one more method of stacking the odds. And they began to pay off when during late archery season that year he tagged a 125-class buck from another area over one of his Buck Fever scrapes.
Near the end of the 1995 season, he began to understand the complex patterns of big bucks in the new spot. One snowy day while heading into his stand, he caught a glimpse of what the area had to offer. “I only saw this big buck for a second before it vanished into the cedars. It was huge. Then I saw where it had dug up the dirt and scattered it on top of a foot of snow while making a scrape. That big guy was still actively in the rut that late in the season.”
Undaunted by the big bucks that eluded him there, Mitch took advantage of the harsh winter of 1996 when the vast marsh froze over. Suiting up like a Navy Seal ready for a mission, Mitch donned his scouting outfit and headed for the remote swamps and ridges. “The only way that I can successfully do all the continuous scouting that I need to and not be scent-detected by these big bucks, is to employ TOTAL SCENT CONTROL. That means that I’m totally covered with rubber from my neck to my toes. I wear strictly rubberized outerwear including rubber gloves, boots, chest wader liners, and a rain suit top. Plus I spray myself down with Vanishing Hunter. That knocks down any remaining scent. I simply can’t leave any scent when I’m out there walking around and setting up my synthetic scrapes. Because if I leave human scent around my synthetic scrape areas, those big deer aren’t going to put up with that for one second.
“Scent control is one of the biggest problems that foil average hunters. They put up their one stand, toss out their bait and they think they’re pretty well set up to hunt. Then they go in and hunt it during the wrong wind currents without proper scent suppression and they’re being patterned by the deer. It’s supposed to be the other way around. And soon their hunting spot isn’t that productive.”
Walking the ridges and frozen swamps that winter, Mitch began unraveling the secrets of the big bucks that called the marsh home. He soon learned their recluse bedding hideouts and the narrow travel corridors where they crossed creeks and ridges. But the most important revelation came when Mitch fit the pieces of the puzzle together relative to how the bucks approached and left their bedding areas. “I realized that I had been hunting the wrong side of the ridges,” said Mitch. “I needed to be more on the northeast edges if I was going to intercept these big bucks. Their patterns showed that 90 percent of the travel skirted the northeast and southwest edges of a natural clearing in there.”
Now armed with this new information, he began refining the crucial details of exactly how the big bucks would approach their bedding areas in the mornings and where they would leave in the evening. Like a general plotting a coming battle, Mitch meticulously mapped out every detail of the buck’s movements, and when the snows finally melted, he once again began laying his synthetic trap line.
“I spent the entire next spring moving all my setups and my Buck Fever synthetic scrape lines to the east sides of these ridges. And boy did it make a difference. Those bucks started hitting my synthetic scrapes like you wouldn’t believe in March and April.”
Like an attentive gardener, Mitch tended his synthetic scrapes throughout the spring and early summer. By mid-summer they had grown into raw patches of torn earth yet things of beauty to a buck hunter like Mitch. But his biggest surprise at the buck’s response to his synthetic scrapes came unexpectedly when he was checking them one cool July afternoon. “I saw a deer standing down in the meadow. I had my video camera so I started sneaking down there. As I got close I saw that it was a nice buck. Kneeling down, I zoomed in on the deer with my video camera when sudden it put its ears back and another big buck walked right into the viewfinder. Then they actually got up on their hind feet and started clubbing the heck out of each other with their front hooves.”
Mitch recorded the unusual event on his video camera as the two magnum bucks in velvet fought with their hooves. Finally, the big 8 point clubbed the wider racked 10 or 12 pointer in the nose and the fight ended with both bucks disappearing into heavy cover. Now more than ever, Mitch knew the area held at least two dandy bucks.
As fall colors hinted at the coming season, Mitch kept refining is synthetic scrape setups and concentrating on the ones that offered him the advantages of scent and sight. But the terrain and wind currents challenged him at every turn. “My problem was I had three big ravines coming down into points and flattening out into a giant cattail marsh where the bucks bedded. That created all kinds of tricky wind currents and thermals. So it was very difficult to setup in some of these areas.”
Despite the buck’s advantages, Mitch discovered that his most productive setups blended proximity to the buck’s security areas with their curiosity over nearby synthetic scrapes. “I try to think like a big deer as if I were in their hooves and how I would travel knowing people were out there trying to get me. They actually travel the way I would to be elusive enough to avoid or detect hunters during daylight. Most of their travel is in fact nocturnal. These big bucks aren’t about to travel a quarter mile or more to a food source in the daylight. By the time they get there, it’s dark. But what I did find out was that if I got close enough to some of their bedding areas with my synthetic scrapes, they would come out enough to check these key scrapes close to their bedding spots.”
Forever the statistical tactician in his hunting, and with the 1996 season soon approaching, Mitch wanted to know exactly how long it would take him to get from work to his hunting spot. So on September 18 he timed his drive, and as he drove down a two-track near his prime area, he spotted two deer walking along a ridge. He grabbed his binoculars. As the second deer came into focus, Mitch’s hands suddenly became unsteady. “I’ll remember that day the rest of my life. I thought, my gosh BIG BUCK isn’t even the word for this thing. When it turned and looked away, I saw clearly how wide the rack was and thought I was seeing things. It was the widest spread deer I had ever seen.”
As Mitch watched the massive buck, he began jotting down the details of the approximate size of the rack on a scrap of paper. When the buck finally ambled over a ridge, Mitch walked over to check for sign. There, in the soft sand of a trail, lay another significant clue to hunting the giant buck – an odd shape to the right front foot of the buck, a track “fingerprint” that would allow Mitch to further detail its movements.
That evening Mitch tallied up the rough score on the scrap of paper then rechecked the unbelievable total. “I came up with something easily in the 190’s and close to 200. But I have a tendency to field judge deer on the small side, so I knew I had a good one. Now all I had to do was get him.”
Mitch knew it wouldn’t be easy arrowing the buck. But he never imagined it would take another two years.
PART TWO – MITCH’S DATE WITH DESTINY
Author’s Notes: Even with the emerging, well-documented information about this story, sadly, some writers persist on speculating in their wallows of negative conjecture. It would appear that either the anti-hunters have disguised friends calling themselves pro-hunting writers, or some writers are so pitifully spiteful about information they lack the professionalism to obtain — or worse, that they’re content to defame the image of hunting in their tabloid attempts to sell a few copies of their publications.
So why did Henry Ford invent the Model T? Or Leonardo da Vinci paint the Mona Lisa?
The same reason Mitch Rompola harvested the biggest typical whitetail ever taken with a gun or bow.
Romantics call it destiny. Realists call it the precise juncture of opportunity, time, space and the dedicated human element capable of turning a dream into reality.
Whatever the definition, it seemed that destiny began unfolding her plan on September 18, 1996 when during a scouting trip, Mitch Rompola spotted the biggest buck he had ever seen during his four decades of bowhunting big whitetails.
Besides getting a good enough look at the sprawling rack to know it would score near 200 inches, Mitch also discovered that the buck imprinted a telltale track with its slightly deformed right front hoof.
Mitch guardedly shared the news of the giant buck with a few close friends. Just before season, he set up a stand over one his hotter synthetic scrapes that had grown to over 12 feet across that was being hit by several good bucks. His first evening over the scrape gave him a chance any hunter would envy.
Hooves in the leaves snapped Mitch to attention and he readied for the shot. A huge buck ambled past at 12 yards. Mitch held off on the giant 9-pointer, hoping the wide racked buck would soon follow. But by dusk, the first day’s hunt closed without seeing the monster buck. Mitch mused how the image of the wide racked buck had now changed even him. “That 9-point was one of the biggest typicals I ever let walk past me. And I would soon regret passing him up that evening.”
October 12 again found Mitch near the scrape overlooking the marsh where he suspected the massive buck bedded. Just like 40 years earlier on his first deer hunt, Mitch Rompola heard the clattering of legs in the cattails. Seconds later, a massive 12-point rack floated through the evening shadows. Painfully slow, the giant buck worked around the clearing closer to Mitch. After 15 minutes, the deer had moved within 30 yards and Mitch readied for the shot of lifetime. The tip of his arrow began to quiver like a bird dog on point. “Boy did I get excited then, because I thought, man, I’m going to get a crack at this thing. Its rack looked so wide as it was looking around I just about started coming unglued. It’s been a long time since a deer has unraveled my nerves like that, but this deer sure did a number on me.”
Mitch raised the bow. Fingers tensed on the string. He took in a long breath to steady his nerves. But suddenly the massive buck tensed and threw back its head as the huge 9-point Mitch had passed opening day charged off the ridge. Mitch stood stunned as the 9-point dipped its head, eyes wild, nostrils flared, and chased after the wide racked buck. Both huge bucks disappeared into the thick cover in a hail of breaking brush. Moments later, the dominant 9-point strutted back toward the ridge where it had been guarding “its” scrape.
Fearing that the 9-point would injure the massive 12-point if given another chance, Mitch now turned his attention to the ridge behind him where the agitated buck was now tearing up every bush in sight. Mitch grunted softly on his Bow Grunter call.
The commotion stopped. Ten minutes later he grunted again. This time hooves began stalking toward him. Mitch knew from the deliberate walk that the deer was attempting to pinpoint the grunt. Again, his fingers tensed on the string as he quietly waited. Heavy hooves slurped through the mud only yards behind him. As the buck finally emerged from the thick pine boughs, the string’s twang broke the silence. The giant 9-point wheeled and bounded into the shadows for the last time. The pecking order over Mitch’s scrape had just changed. “I shot him as much out of anger as anything else because I was so upset that he ran that wide racked big buck off. He actually had 10 points; 9 points typical with a 2 ½-inch sticker point on one of his back tines. He was lot better than I thought and ended up scoring 168 and some change.”
Despite tagging the big 9-point, Mitch’s thoughts remained focused on the sprawling 12-pointer. Spending countless hours the rest of that season dogging the odd shaped track, Mitch learned more of the buck’s secrets without avail. He ended the 1996 season more committed than ever to tag the buck the following year.
During that winter Mitch continued his relentless scouting and backtracking the giant 12-pointer. He learned where the buck set up its approaches to its bedding areas and revealed more locations where Mitch should setup morning stands.
Again, Mitch continued to use his Buck Fever synthetic scrapes to help monitor the buck’s patterns. He also raked out places on the runways the buck was using to reveal certain repeatable patterns of how the buck traversed his domain.
During the summer of 1997, Mitch began using an experimental scent dripper to dispense his Buck Fever synthetic scent. The programmable dripper, made by a local friend and accomplished deer hunter Dean Broecker, allowed Mitch to scent up his main scrape without disturbing the site. While checking on the dripper one day in late July, Mitch was greeted with one mighty welcome sight. “I noticed movement on top of a ridge and it was him; the big wide buck in velvet. His rack was already way out past his ears. He had been laying up there watching me and when I stopped to look at him, he just walked over the ridge and disappeared.”
Mitch bowhunted the area the first two weeks of October without spotting the giant buck. Nonetheless, he felt confident with his setup and the synthetic scrape being hit. And upon returning from his annual hunt in Michigan’s UP with friends in late October, he headed for his setup.
When leaving his truck for the woods, Mitch usually sprays his boots with Buck Fever to help lay down a scent trail as he walks into his stand. But this Sunday morning he was anxious to get back to the site before sunup and didn’t take the time to scent his boots then. Instead, he waited and put synthetic scent on his boots at the scrape site that had again been freshly hit. After squirting scent into the fresh scrape and on his boots, Mitch walked over and climbed into this stand.
Later in the grayness of first light, a blocky shadow drifted through the timber. Wide beams ticked against the brush as the buck moved into the scrape and dipped its head. The buck immediately picked up Mitch’s boot scent and zeroed in on the trail, heading right for Mitch. “I got ready for the shot and saw that it wasn’t the wide12-point but a real nice buck. He tracked my synthetic scent trail right to my stand like a bloodhound with his nose to the ground. I drew and let him come until he was standing directly underneath my stand. He looked up and our eyes met, I released the arrow.”
The big buck slammed to the ground as the arrow hit spine and heart. Moments later, Mitch suddenly realized he had seen this buck before – on videotape. “He was a nice 13- point that I had videotaped fighting with the 9-point in July of 1996. He scored 150’s typical and 160’s non-typical. A real nice buck.”
Mitch kept scouting and relocated the wide rack’s odd track near a clear cut in some pines. Forever the opportunist hunter, Mitch moved right into the area and setup one evening. He watched as the giant buck negotiated the sprawling rack through the pines. Though he didn’t get a clear shot, Mitch noticed the rack touch two particular branches on each side of the antlers. He returned the next day and measured the distance between the branches “They measured 34 inches wide and that’s when I really knew how much wider he was than I originally thought. I was actually embarrassed to tell anybody I was hunting a buck with a 3-foot spread because it was so unbelievable.”
Though Mitch kept tabs on the buck without seeing it, firearms season came and went, and both the buck and Mitch moved into heavier cover. With the seasonal change in the cover and buck’s pattern, Mitch moved into a ground blind that served mostly as an observation outpost to help him pinpoint the buck’s new movements. Mitch sat one morning until after 9 AM and figured the buck wasn’t going to show or had already passed through unseen. But as Mitch picked up his bow quiver and snapped it back on the bow, a haunting apparition rose from the nearby cover. “There he stood, 30 yards away, looking right at me. He had apparently bedded before I had gotten in there and I had snuck in without him hearing me. I knew I wasn’t going to get a shot, so I took out my camera and zoomed in on him. I focused with him looking at me and snapped one photo before he turned and just walked away.”
Mitch later projected the photo on paper and scaled the projection to fit the 34-inch spread. With the scaled image, it didn’t take a skilled measurer like Mitch long to tally over 200 inches on the buck’s rack.
In the winter of 1998 and entering his third year of patterning the buck, Mitch cautiously avoided scouting the buck’s bedding areas. Though he was tempted to look for its sheds, he was afraid of tampering too much in the old buck’s security cover and possibly scaring it off.
During the summer of 1998 Mitch continued tending his synthetic scrapes and looking for some sign of the big 12-point. But by late October, without so much as an encouraging track from the old buck, Mitch began to think the unthinkable; a poacher, dogs, a wire fence or possibly a car had taken the giant buck quietly, without a trace.
Disappointed at the grim possibilities and slogging back to his truck after another uneventful morning hunt, he noticed a flicker of gray in the timber. Mitch froze. Massive antlers swayed in the sunlight. And in another frozen instant, Mitch’s spirits soared. “It was him, alive, and looking bigger than ever. He stepped out on the two-track looking in the direction of my truck, looked down my way, then just walked over the ridge and disappeared. Boy, was I ever happy to see him again.”
Now more than ever, Mitch committed to trying only for the giant buck or nothing at all. Despite two other record-class bucks, a magnum 10-point and a wide racked 8-point that began hitting the scrape and following the patterns of the giant 12-point, Mitch focused on the one chance of a lifetime that had eluded him over the years.
But terrain and wind at his prime setup seemed to work against him at every turn. “First, I knew I had to set up near his bedding area because most of his travel was in fact, nocturnal. That’s why I set up my synthetic scrape close enough to his bedding area that he could come out to check it. A buck like that isn’t about to travel a quarter mile to a food source in the daylight. By the time he gets there, it’s nighttime.
“The other problem was that three big ravines came down to points and flattened out into the giant cattail marsh where he bedded. That created all kinds of tricky wind currents with the surrounding hilly terrain. Besides paying attention to the thermals, I controlled my scent by using Vanishing Hunter. I spray it on my outerwear, exposed areas, hair, and mouth. That allowed me to hunt some of these areas that I normally couldn’t at all.”
On November 3, Mitch slipped into his evening stand overlooking an area near his synthetic scrape. On its apparent date with destiny, the giant buck materialized from the thick cover and moved into the scrape. Without a chance to shoot directly to the scrape, Mitch again grabbed his camera and snapped a photo of the buck as it lifted its nose toward the synthetic dripper. As Mitch looked through the camera viewfinder, he realized with a start that the buck was leaving the scrape, coming toward him. He put down the camera and grabbed his bow.
Screened by the thick cover, Mitch waited until the buck paused broadside at 20 yards. He drew in a deep breath, again trying to calm the swelling nerves. Despite the decades of shooting huge bucks, all the times he had seen this giant whitetail and the focus of his life’s energies for the past three years, buck fever began to nibble at the edges of his consciousness.
He looked past the sprawling mass of antlers and focused on the spot behind the shoulder. The graphite arrow leaped through the shadows. The buck jumped. Three bounds later it stopped. Mitch strained to see the hit, the weak legs, the buckling hindquarters. But the buck simply wagged its tail and casually walked into the tangle of spruce.
For a moment Mitch stood there, his mind struggling to accept the cruel reality of what his experience knew – he, Mitch Rompola, had somehow missed the shot of a lifetime.
Numb with disbelief, Mitch climbed down and walked over to where the buck had stood. There lay his arrow sticking almost straight down in the ground, clean as it had been moments before. “It must have deflected off some brush that I didn’t see and the arrow dropped right underneath him. It never touched him.”
Mitch tried to find comfort in the fact that the buck didn’t appear overly startled by the missed shot. Like Mitch, the buck was more confused than anything.
He got the photo developed and stared down at the picture; the buck’s nose lifted toward the synthetic dripper, the rack spreading into the tangle of branches as if the expanse of beams and tines were part of the forest.
Now hoping beyond hope for yet another crack at the buck, he continued to hunt every day. But as the early bow season drew toward an end, Mitch tried to quench the rising fear that he might never see the buck again once the crack of rifles filled the woods.
On November 12, he slipped into an evening stand near the scrape where he had taken the now haunting photo. As evening shadows lengthened, a mass of antlers emerged from the cattails. Mitch tensed, but then lowered his bow when he recognized the 10-point and 8-point that often followed the wide rack. The bucks emerged from the swamp and moved into the synthetic scrape. They pawed around the scrape and glanced toward the ridges before disappearing back into the cattails. Mitch turned to the sound of hooves coming off the ridge. “Here he came, the big 12-point. He walked right into the scrape but didn’t offer a shot. He appeared to be checking out what those other bucks had been doing in the scrape then followed their trail into the cattails.
“As big as he was, I never saw him being aggressive towards any other deer. He was strictly a loner to the point of actually being shy He would hang around near the outskirts of other deer but never with them. Plus, he always walked away and never ran, even if he spooked. It was as if it was an effort for him to even walk. And every step was thought out like he knew exactly where he was going.”
After a fitful sleep that night, Mitch crawled from bed the next morning and headed for his spot. During the drive, he noticed the increase in vehicles at cabins and hotels. Only two days now until the crack of rifles filled the woods and sent the giant buck running deep into his dense hideout, or worse, maybe one of the gunners might get lucky and… Mitch pushed the unsettling though aside. He parked his truck and headed for his stand.
As fingers of light began to stitch the outlines of the marsh below and the ridges behind him, Mitch glanced down toward the scrape. His dark eyes looked past the network of branches, wondering if the bucks had already hit the scrape.
Suddenly, heavy footfalls on the ridge above gave him the answer. Mitch snatched his bow and turned to the sounds now bearing down on him too quickly. A tangle of antlers came toward him. He barely got poised for the shot as the now familiar 8 and 10 pointers veered slightly around his stand and passed at 12 yards.
As the two smaller bucks disappeared into the cattails, Mitch positioned his feet solidly on the stand as he collected his senses. He stared at the hillside, his eyes locked on nothing in particular.
Hooves carrying 300 pounds of buck announced what Mitch knew before he saw it. Next came the sprawling tangle of antlers through the timber toward him, supported remarkably by one very familiar deer following the same trail as the other bucks had used minutes before.
Mitch stood poised, bow up, focused yet again on the spot he wanted to hit, pushing back all other thoughts except the shot. The buck’s head passed behind a large tree and Mitch made the crucial movement of drawing his bow unseen. Onward came the deer, looking bigger than life as it passed at the scant 12 yards.
The buck stepped clear of the tree. Mitch centered his sight on the massive body, now quartering away.
The arrow sliced through the morning air.
Powerful muscles responded too late.
Sprawling antlers carved a three-foot swath into the brush for the last time.
After a long moment, Mitch gasped for air, realizing he had been holding it since before the shot. The hit was unmistakable this time, solidly in the vitals with a resounding crack as the broadhead hit the far shoulder.
Mitch blinked as if to be sure it wasn’t all a dream. But he knew he wasn’t dreaming as the impact of his three-year quest surfaced and his knees became too weak to stand. He sat down, replaying the shot over and over in his mind until his legs could again hold him. Wobbly, he climbed down and inspected the hair and splashes of red where the buck had bolted.
Finally, Mitch shook himself free from the trance of what he had done and headed for home. He knew it was going to be a long day and he needed to share the news that would soon rock the world of hunting. “I was so excited that I had to tell my girlfriend I had actually shot the deer this time. Plus I needed to let her know I was okay because we have a pact that if I’m not back by a certain time, she would come looking for me. And I didn’t want her to send the National Guard out after me.”
Though tempted to take up the trail, 40 years of bowhunting savvy had hardened Mitch’s resolve into the responsible decision on such a buck; give the deer some time before tracking it. He slipped out of the area and returned home. He also knew the magnitude of what he had just accomplished and wanted to get his video and still camera to document the recovery.
Mitch returned with his recovery gear and began by recounting the story from his stand to the recording video camera. With the camera continuously recording, he then took up the sparse blood trail. Just beyond a large scuffmark in the leaves, Mitch saw the fletching of his arrow sticking up over a small rise. As he pointed the video camera in the direction of the arrow, and walked over the crest of the rise, there lay the enormous deer.
The sight of the fallen buck, dissolved away Mitch’s usual stony exterior as a flood of emotions washed over him; the bittersweet rush of excitement flavored with the humility of what he had done. The photos he later took, with his characteristic somber pose, only hint at the feelings beneath. “Even with all the big deer I’ve taken, that moment still gets to me. I always regret taking the life of a mature whitetail buck. They’re just the most beautiful and magnificent animals, and there’s nobody who respects them more than I do. And especially one like this that I’ve hunted so hard for several seasons. This buck showed me quite a bit of humility as most of them do. When I’ve spent so much time working on him, hunting him and understanding so much about him, it’s tough when you realize that all of that has finally come to an irreversible end.”
Mitch knelt beside the deer. His 35-inch Gold Tip arrow had penetrated 18 inches with the quartering away shot. One of the blades of the Gladiator head had broken where it had lodged in the far right shoulder.
For the better part of the day, Mitch muscled the huge deer, a body length at a time, over the remote ridges. Finally, with exhaustion tapping the last reserves of his adrenaline, Mitch slid the deer up a special loading ramp into the back of his truck.
As any proud hunter would do, Mitch showed his deer to a few close friends that evening. The next morning, the news began spreading faster that a jack pine wildfire. The parade began at first with admiring friends, including several official measurers. But by late afternoon, the carloads of curious strangers, were quickly growing out of control.
By Monday morning, Mitch’s phone began ringing non-stop. The media had got a sniff of the story and swarmed upon him relentlessly from across the country. By Tuesday, the media onslaught hammered Mitch into seclusion.
Mitch knew enough about scoring big deer to know that his buck could possibly rewrite the history books when the time was right. But the media wasn’t about to wait for drying periods, official scoring, Mitch Rompola or anything else, and immediately began bannering the deer as “The New World Record”.
Overnight, Mitch’s personal pride at taking the deer began turning into bitter regret as much of the media, lost in the vacuum of accurate information, began dredging up tabloid style stories of their own that personally attacked Mitch and the deer from every conceivable angle. Suddenly, what could had been scores of positive wildlife management and hunter impressions to the public, turned into a rampage of negative speculation that blackened the eye of Mitch and hunters everywhere.
Much of the irresponsible media remained indignant and actually blamed Rompola himself for his poor portrayal in print. Didn’t the fool know that once he shot the big deer, the entire three-year story, the nearly 50 years of his private life, even the unscored rack belonged to them — to the world? What a fool Mitch was to even think he could maintain some shred of control or sense of direction over his life.
Dismayed at the whole affair, while unrelated tragic events transpired in his personal life, Mitch withdrew even further into seclusion. “It’s a darned shame the way it’s all turned out. I don’t regret shooting the deer as much as I do presenting it to the media. What really hurts is the fact that I have two grown sons who have to hear all this misrepresented junk that happened years ago that doesn’t have anything to do with this deer or my life now.
“It’s odd how some hunting writers and hunters can accept a lucky hunter getting a deer of this size on some deer drive because that doesn’t challenge their egos. But because of my past bowhunting success and the fact that I hunted this deer for three years, they end up becoming jealous critics. But in the end, now that I’ve told the whole story, how people judge me and what I’ve done, is now up to them.”
So why did Henry Ford invent the Model T? Or Leonardo da Vinci paint the Mona Lisa? Or Mitch Rompola arrow the biggest typical whitetail ever?
Romantics call it destiny.
Realists will flatly say, “Because they could.”
Author’s Notes: Hunters interested in learning more about the science behind the Buck Fever Synthetic Scent System that Mitch used to harvest his mega-buck and many others, visit the Buck Fever Synthetic web site at http://www.hawgslimited.com or those wishing to order Buck Fever products direct can call 800-522-2728.
FACTS ABOUT THE ROMPOLA BUCK
Hunter: Mitch Rompola, Traverse City, Michigan Date: November 13, 1998 7:47 AM Hunting Method: Bowhunting From a treestand. Bow: CSS (Custom Shooting System) Signature Series Compound, 34-inch axle to axle, set at 58 pounds with Adjustable Pro-stop set to 30 inches draw with letoff adjusted to 75 percent. Arrow: Gold Tip 5-layer Laminated Graphite shaft, 5575 spine, full length 32 inches, crown dipped. Broadhead: Gold Tip Gladiator, 125 grain expandable, four blades Scent Control: Buck Fever Vanishing Hunter spray, Scent Lok Suit Scent Used: Mock scrape made with Buck Fever Synthetic Scent Shot Distance: 12 yards Distance traveled after shot: 70 yards Deer – typical whitetail, mature adult, 7 ½ years old (biologist aged) Weight, Field Dressed: 263 pounds, certified scales (estimated live weight 300+ pounds) Antlers: 38-inch outside spread, measured 216 5/8 inches net typical, by a respected panel of official Michigan measurers.
Nick Muche's Link
Nick Muche's Link
Forget the buck.....it would be interesting (and funny) to go back in time and identify who the first perp was that floated the droopy ear theory.
Compare it to KSrancher or Cheeseheads deer and you will notice the top line of the ear either even w/ the eye or above, Rompola's drops at least an inch or 2 below the eye. Its not the ears, its the ear.
This is absolutely a mature DOE! with shed or cut off antlers being held up to her head. It's a short haired deer with a rounded female, slender, face and the antlers are being held too far over the edge of the head. There are no Pedicles!!!
A buck and doe face look NOTHING alike if you look at the hair patterns and hair thickness on a buck forehead versus a doe.
(have no clue who this dude in the photo is...pulled it off google)
I am nobody from nowhere and not in the trophy world in any way. I personally wouldn't consider submitting anything short of near the top of the heap. And I don't have that, yet. I don't expect to ever have that because of the efficiency around here where small parcels are over saturated with hunters that are willing to take off any small buck. I never did and do not expect to go on guided/pay hunts. My days of chasing whitetails elsewhere are for the most part behind me, probably. Since this was brought up here recently I have read a bunch of the then contemporary stuff reported and many discussions had all over the place since then.
Hard facts (undisputed) seem few. I make no claims about what I am putting out here, the things can be found with go-ogle. I might mention that something seems legit to me. You may feel otherwise. To save us all the brain strain I will not create a foot noted reference of what I read but rather mostly will work from memory (some approximations will be made) I welcome clarifications/corrections. If you actually know something tell us.
I am going to lay out a numbered list of issues/items of what I see as possibilities and then correlated numbered discussion of how they look to me including what it would take in my mind to clear it up.
1) Mitch indeed killed the new world record on the morning of Friday 13 Nov 1998, fair chase with a bow. Everything about it 100% legal and legit.
2) snow photo: Mitch Collected that rack in Dec97 or Jan98 and claimed it was from the 98 season because he didn't have tag authority or it was late out of season, and so he had to put it on another body in 98. The rack is authentic but illegal.
3) Similar to 2 except the rack was modified to add spread by skull separation and rotation.
4) Similar to Snow idea but he found the sheds and mounted them.
5) Similar to 1 except the rack was modified to increase spread or something.
6) Totally Fabricated rack unlike any 1 actual deer. Used for the 97 snow photo (or not) and later on the Friday 13th buck. Possibly retaliation aimed @ B&C.
7) I must have missed something you tell us.
Some of things claimed by others which I found on the way to here:
Mitch has been offered $10,000 x2 to have the rack x-rayed, not even sure it has to pass for him to collect.
Mitch has refused to allow DNA analysis to compare the rack to the carcass.
Supposedly more recently it is claimed the rack/mount has been destroyed in some sort of fire event (D&DH Editor Dan Schmidt | December 10, 2017), contrary to a previous claim it was stored in a vault for safe keeping.
Mitch in an interview said he never looked for sheds in the 3 years of chasing this monster for fear of spooking him out of his known bedding area, the fringes of which he was working.
Mitch signed a deal with Milo to avoid a lawsuit the terms of which might not be public (?) But indicate that for no compensation he will not claim his rack is a new world record unless he gets B&C on board or Milo's record is other wise usurped. This is ostensibly because Milo's money faucet was slowing down with the news of new record out there.
Mitch had caused another Michigan hunter's state record disqualified, which had bested Mitch's own top listing, based on something in the other hunters character.
Same hunter later helped get Mitch ousted from his various scoring positions because of his (non-hunting related) legal/character issues. This dealt a blow to Mitch's public participation/cred/standing in the sport.
The 8 x 10 'snow photo' was taken in December 97 of the THE live record buck bedded in snow, full body. Gordon Whittington September 22nd, 2010 North American Whitetail Magazine claims it is indistinguishable from the next year version which he claims is unlikely to occur. Anybody have proof that sort of thing happens? I personally have tracked the development of wild ones and they always change noticeably. I have seen farmed examples where they show progression yearly. (other peoples presentation, not personally)
I haven't been able to find many photos showing various angles for the Friday 13th buck. The way it is mounted seems as if the halves were rotated forward to verticalize the tines ( opposed to tilted forward or back) while the head is laid back resulting in nearly horizontal snout. I tried to verticalize on skull racks laying around here and snouts always end up pointing down significantly. I realize his mount is only a cut out piece of skull placed in foam, and everyone is free to portray the relative rack position to the face as they please in a mount. But that same position is in the field photos. To me it is oddly horizontal and out the sides, unlike any of mine. Not ALWAYS but mostly brow tines tend to slant in, but these are straight up, as if the beams were relaxed off to the sides by their weight. To get a similar look on mine I'd have to unplug the beams, plug them back in lower and farther back and rotated forward, all actions increasing spread. Or break the plate and reposition accordingly. This is how sheds often appear when laid on the ground for a photo, way more spread than life position.
Also, I have never seen the beams come back down lower than the base of the beams. To get that view I have to rotate my skulls so far forward that the snouts are vertical or past vertical and tilted back! Does anybody have skull with the relative rack position as his?
Racks come in all sorts of sizes, shapes & configurations, but this is unlike anything I have encountered.
1) This would be a great outcome. All we need is x-ray and DNA. I haven't heard any reasonable explanation that he would forgo the title and money. Doesn't have to submit to B&C either, just prove it is real, he already has legit scores far as I can see.
2) This could be shown by xray and DNA but unlikely to be consented to in this scenario. Proving this proves a poach - making this a nice example of the species but poached.
3) Ditto but probably not even THE record minus all that spread.
4) Well, nice antlers and nice gag. Perhaps could win the shed title. Xray and DNA could help determine if this is the case. Not even a poach if donor carcass properly registered. Probably only the gender needs to be accurate back in 98. What were the MI tag/reg laws like back then?
5) Not a crime sans claims, but no World record. Xray & DNA figures this out. Of course no need for dna if the xray shows the plate problem.
6) What a prank! Perhaps no legal repercussion if no lines crossed. Xray and dna figures this out. Of course no need for dna if the xray shows a big fab. But then he'd never consent, he'd just say so through uncontrollable laughter. Gave B&C a good cage rattling and wow'd the rest of us as well.
So was this a naturally grown fair chase legal and legit rack from the animal in question?
I can't imagine that is the case. I cannot wrap my mind around not claiming the title and all attendant. Mitch might have merely led some folks on, and they ran with the ball. No wonder they kept so quiet afterwords. Who would want to emphasize being an unwitting dupe? One solution, assuming the Friday 13th buck is legit and Mitch simply refuses to give B&C any satisfaction, is to start his own buck hall of fame and have the same reputable scorers from all the various organizations do the scoring. Every entry gets x-rayed automatic and he starts out by filling the club with his racks and opens it up for everyone else. There are probably no shortage of people who would like to be listed additional places or who do not care for either B&C, P&Y, or whatever State, county or local club. He could be competitive with the other clubs on the basis of many specific categories: various let offs, weapon types, cross bows, trad, Muzzleloaders – whatever. This would give him both the top overall category and the 75% let off bow division. His club alone would have the overall world record. Quite the way to stick it to B&C. He wouldn't even have to be involved much in it other than ownership and control unless he wanted. His wealth from his top buck could easily cover getting the club started and still sponsor his future. He would be fully vindicated and recognized for the sportsman he is.
Hell. If it proves real I'll run the thing for a reasonable cost.
They mentioned the brow tines being far apart, not for the reasons I discussed. And lots of ear droop. Check out this photo. No where near the tine mass but sorta similar to Mitches deal. Dragged out of the swamp alone, weighed 232 on my Hansen scale, brows wide apart and ears drooping despite being hung upside down. I'll have to check the old live photos and vids to see if this guy was droopy alive.
My claim at the time was that in order to hang a deer like this all you need is a 4 block tackle and a pail of magic apples. He wasn't taken over or even near any bait or tree or even food plot, shot off a doe. Doe = best buck attractant ever made. The pail was staged for the photo.
Doorknob, thx. for your analysis.
Bottom line, after all this time, who gives a flying burrito? But it is something to do while waiting for the water to go down and the fish to move up.
So why would 4 men stick their necks out to support a fake? If you spent years as a deer scorer, wouldn't promoting a fake discredit the whole trophy scoring system? Then all of the time and effort you have wasted was in pursuit of a bunch of meaningless BS. That they would support a hoax seems as unlikely as the alternative - a man turning down six figure offers for the chance to prove the naysayers wrong.
Maybe a more likely scenario is the man who had the most to lose if the Rompola buck was proven legit either paid Rompola off or threatened him or his family. This theory, and it is only a theory, would be supported by the signing of the document that preserved the other buck as the WR. To me, those pieces fit together and explain what has been reported better than the assumption that the four who examined the buck all lied to support a hoax,
I was not there, so I am not going to second-guess the opinions of four knowledgeable people who actually saw the deer and examined it closely. Still, questions remain...
One antler too far out of the side of the skull and the other damn near out the top of it.
It'd be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.
whats it gonna take to get this to 500
I think its real................................................................... real fishy.
He chose to kill it with a mechanical because of its inherent design advantages!!
“When a World Record hinges on your broadhead, use a broadhead with hinges!!!”
That should do it.
Are there pictures of the “Rompola Buck” ... possibly in a pickup truck with crowds of people around immediately following its removal from the hunted area? There should be dozens of witnesses to that buck before it could be altered. Are any of these people Bowsiters?
On a buck of this magnitude .... a possible world record.... how many times is it green scored in the first week ? There should be dozens of people that saw it within the first 48 hours. Anybody on Bowsite witness an informal green score ?
And what purpose does it serve the owner of a possible world record to remove the antlers from the complete skull? Who does that? Who would risk cracking a skull plate on a potential world record ? Who would mount it before the sixty day drying period for an official score ? Are there any Bowsite members that would do what Mitch did?
I still say the he broke the skull plate by accident.
What? Most whitetails killed in bow season are shot at around 20 yds. Gene Wensel killed a buck that scores higher than the Rompola buck, it just wasn't a typical. Objectively vs. stylishly, it was a bigger buck!
If the Hansen buck was basically run down, as I have garnered from this thread, and killed, does this not matter, to BC? If true, ethically, I would be embarrassed. But, then again, I’m sure Ole Milo, has made a bunch of cash. Somebody, set the record straight.