Goliath

1997-2004

Goliath passed away at home on December 6, 2004

See more about this amazing deer http://www.doublediamonddeerranch.com/goliath/

 

Here is the story of this amazing deer

By Dan Majors, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The buck stops in Clarion County. DNA tests have confirmed that the giant stag known as Goliath -- missing since he was deer-napped in the dead of night in October 1999 -- has been recovered.

Goliath was purchased about six years ago by Rodney Miller, owner of Wild Bunch Ranch deer farm about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, when the animal was only a few days old. Miller and his wife, Diane, intended to use him to breed other deer.

"We bottle-fed him from then on up," Miller told The Associated Press.

At the age of 2, Goliath already showed the promise of a well-pointed prodigy, weighing 260 pounds and sporting 28 points, each representing the number of tips on an antler. The deer-breeding community was abuzz.

But on Oct. 20, 1999, someone cut a hole in the fence of Goliath's pen, shot him with a tranquilizer, and carted him out in a pickup truck.

The Millers offered a reward, but for years they feared they'd never see their dearly departed deer again. Goliath was either working as a stud on someone else's farm -- or he was a trophy looking down from a wall over someone's mantel.

Then, two months ago, four members of the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association were making their appointed rounds when they stopped by Jeffrey Spence's White Oak Whitetails deer farm in Reynoldsville, Jefferson County. There they saw a massive buck weighing about 375 pounds with an incredible 50 to 60 points. (The largest whitetail deer on record was a 48-pointer taken in the wild.)

Something about the deer, however, looked familiar. Some photographs were taken and shown to the Millers, who immediately recognized the face of the fawn they once bottle-fed.

And so there they were -- deer handlers and attorneys representing Miller and Spence -- gathered on Aug. 17 to collect a court-ordered tissue sample from the deer. A test that last week, according to Ronald Elliot, Miller's attorney, proves that the deer found on Spence's farm is, in fact, Goliath.

Elliot yesterday told Dan Nephin, a reporter with The Associated Press, that the DNA evidence won't be considered until an Oct. 27 hearing in Jefferson County Court.

Miller is also making a claim for any semen taken from the buck and any money made from selling fawns or semen. The suit, which does not accuse Spence of stealing Goliath, claimed that Spence bred the deer and has about 40 fawns from it.

Spence's attorney, Troy Harper, has said previously that if the deer is Goliath, Spence acquired it "in the proper manner," but he wouldn't say how. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Regardless, it appears as though the Millers are the winners of the big buck. And that's the point. All 50 to 60 of them.