Stephen Tucker, 26, bagged the deer while he was muzzleloader hunting in Sumner County, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The buck had an unusual set of antlers with 47 points. His rack was unusual enough to catch the attention of Dale Grandstaff, a captain for TWRA.
"When I first saw the buck, I thought, 'This is going to be a state record for sure,' because it had about the same number of points as our standing record," Grandstaff said. "But it surprised me when I measured it and it went above 300 inches."
Grandstaff measured the antlers at its farthest points using Boone and Crockett Club requirements for non-typical racks. The rack measured in at 313 and 2/8ths inches. That score fell to 303 and 3/8ths inches after accounting for deductions defined by Boone and Crockett.
"That is something you just don't ever expect to measure as a certified scorer," Grandstaff said.
Tucker told The Tennessean that he bagged the trophy deer two days after he first fired a gun in its direction. The buck got away Saturday after Tucker's gun misfired.
He spotted the deer again later that day, but thought he was too far away to fire a clean shot.
"My thinking was the second time I saw him was as far away as he was and as big as he was, I wanted to make sure that I killed him. I didn't want to cripple him," he told The Tennessean. "I said to myself, 'If I cripple him, nobody will get to kill him.' The last thing I wanted to do was be the guy who crippled a deer like that."
Tucker spotted the deer again around 6 a.m. Monday. He fired a shot from about 40 yards away, killing the buck.
A hunter in Sumner County bagged a deer with antlers that measured 244 and 3/8ths inches in 2000, setting the state's record for non-typical racks. An Iowa hunter holds the world record for non-typical racks after bagging a deer with antlers that measured 307 and 5/8ths inches.
The antlers on the buck taken by Tucker will be measured again in January, after a required 60-day drying period, to determine whether the rack breaks the state or world records.