What a remarkable record it is!
Roger Ritchie's 1968 white-tailed deer still ranks as the highest scoring non-typical whitetail ever taken in North Dakota. The true monster buck boasted 31 points on massive beams, the likes of which most hunters will never be fortunate enough to see in the field.
Today the renowned trophy is in the impressive collection of Bass Pro Shops, where it continues to drop jaws and thrill all deer hunting enthusiasts who see it. The buck's remarkable journey started on the Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge. It was at that Mountrail County location where Ritchie bagged his trophy.
Submitted Photo - - The Nov. 22, 1968 edition of The Minot Daily News contained this photo of Roger Ritchie and his record-book deer. The deer is still the highest scoring non-typical whitetail even taken in North Dakota.
Submitted Photo - - This old black-and-white view shows the Ritchie buck after it was mounted for display. The buck is now the property of Bass Pro Shops.
"From what I'd heard, he'd seen it a couple of times but didn't know it was that big until he got it," said Gene Ritchie, Minot, brother of Roger Ritchie. "He was stationed in the military here and always hunted here. He was an avid hunter, a real avid hunter."
The deer was featured in a photo in the Nov. 22, 1968, edition of the Minot Daily News. The entire story was limited to a short caption under the photograph. At the time, actress Jane Fonda was starring in "Barbarella" at Minot's Empire Theater, Lolita the Snake Charming go-go was drawing crowds at the 13 Club, Goodyear was selling 13-inch "Suburbanite" passenger tires for $17.95 each, an order of onion rings at King Leo's was 30-cents and a smorgasbord meal in the Gold Leaf dining room at the Parker Hotel was $1.90.
From then until now, the Ritchie buck has not been topped in North Dakota.
Just the facts
Roger Ritchie's non-typical whitetail
+Taken: Mountrail Co., 1968
+Score: 254 6/8
+Rank: #1 North Dakota
+Main beam right: 28 3/8
+Main beam left: 27 0/8
+Inside spread: 20 2/8
+Points: 14 right, 17 left
World's Record non-typical whitetail
+Taken: St. Louis County, Missouri, 1981
+Score: 333 7/8
+Main beam right: 24 1/8
+Main beam left: 23 3/8
Inside spread: 23 3/8
Points: 19 right, 25 left
The Ritchies grew up in Cumberland, Md. Roger Ritchie was later stationed at Minot Air Force Base. He also worked at Harvey Enterprises, a well-known gun and outdoor store located just west of Minot. The store has been closed for several years.
The Roger Ritchie buck left North Dakota for Denver in 1971 and shortly thereafter journeyed to Maryland where Ritchie married his second wife. Within a year the man who owned the state's greatest whitetail trophy was killed.
"He was my older brother," said Gene Ritchie. "It was maybe 10 months after he got married that he was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1972. He was run off the road, went down into a ravine and it took several days to find him."
For a number of years the record-book deer remained with Ritchie's surviving wife in West Virginia. It was there that the buck attracted the attention of the trophy seekers at Bass Pro Shops.
"She sold it to Bass Pro about four years ago," said Gene Ritchie. "It was Rich Henson of Henson's Fur and Taxidermy who mounted it."
How much Bass Pro paid for the legendary buck is unknown, but other trophies have been known to sell for several thousand dollars. More importantly, the wonderful whitetail will continue to be seen by thousands of people every year a lasting legacy to a North Dakota hunter whose name will always be associated with one of the top whitetails ever taken in the United States.