Imagine bagging your first ever trophy buck, taking it to the taxidermy shop, only to find out that somebody stole it?
This is the type of nightmare that would keep hunters up at night.
And unfortunately for one Maryland hunter, this nightmare became a reality.
However, the story has a happy ending…
Dave Richmond recalled the wild story of how he shot arguably the biggest whitetail buck of his life when he was 14 back in 1998. However, him and his dad took the buck to the local taxidermy shop, only to find out that days later the buck had been stolen by thieves.
But, with the help of social media and helpful people, he was able to retrieve the buck mount in 2012, 14 years later.
He discussed the wild story with Outdoor Life:
“The whole tale is really amazing. I was 14 years old when I shot the 14-point buck. 14 years pass, and a 14-year-old kid locates my buck and I get it back.”
Richmond also recalled the day he first saw the whitetail back in ’98, while hunting with his dad Dave Sr:
“It ran in front of us at only 20 yards, and it was unbelievably big. I was just getting into hunting, but dad knew what to do when the season opened three weeks later.”
As soon as Maryland’s shotgun season arrived, they were sure to try to hunt down the massive 14-point buck.
Sure enough, they spotted the buck again, and Richmond bagged it.
They weighed the 14-pointer at 240-pounds, and they took the head and cape to a taxidermy shop.
However, they got a call right before Christmas from the taxidermist that somebody had broken into the shop, and stole the buck.
Although they had suspicions about the taxidermist’s story, they had no choice but to file a police report, and hope it resurfaced somewhere.
14 years later in 2012, still upset about the buck (as he should be), Richmond was talking with some hunters at another taxidermy shop about the unfortunate situation.
That’s when somebody suggested he post about it on social media, and that’s exactly what he did. He shared the photo on a deer hunting page, saying:
“Does anybody know anything about this deer I killed as a boy? It was stolen in 1998.”
Sure enough, days later he received a message from an anonymous hunter, who was ironically 14 himself, saying:
“I know where your deer is.”
He shared photos of the 14-point mount, and it was the same deer. It was sitting in a gun shop in Baltimore County, not far from Richmond’s home.
So, he got in touch with a police officer, who was also a hunter, and the officer confirmed that the buck in the gun shop was Richmond’s.
“Your deer is on the wall inside. Let’s go get it.”
They went back and forth with the shop owner, and the officer let it be known:
“We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”
They then took the buck to the taxidermist who originally told Richmond it was stolen back in 1998, and asked to speak to the owner face to face… the man refused.
Sounds like he might’ve pawned it off for some quick cash with a very convenient excuse about it being stolen.
Either way, the buck is now sitting on Richmond’s living room wall, and he even tipped the 14-year-old who reported the buck a $300 gift certificate to Cabela’s.
“I never quit looking to bring him home. The 14-year-old kid in me never gave up.”
Ya gotta love it.
@whitetailobsession Insane story about my giant 185 inch buck that was stolen from the taxidermist! #deer #hunting #bucks #taxidermist #taxidermy #theft #bigbucks #buck #whitetail #wildlife #taxidermylife #whitetailobsessionoutdoors ♬ original sound – Dave Richmond