2013 monster Mule Deer

March 25, 2014 by  
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2013 Montser Idaho Mule Deer

Idaho mule deer hunting at its best

It pays off more often than not!

 

In the last issue, I talked about doing the right thing.  Doing the right thing when people were looking and when they weren’t.  I’m not necessarily talking just about hunting, but life in general.  I wrote about a buck that seemed to be the smartest I’ve ever had the chance to pursue.  I also spoke about one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make by walking away from him and letting him return to his normal routine just four days prior to season. So, did it all pay off; the sleepless nights, the second guessing myself wondering if I was doing the right thing? Would I ever see this elusive buck again with my weapon of choice in hand?

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With a 34 inch frame and 35 1/2 inch outside spread, this is the my widest buck to date!

 

The pursuit of this buck started on October 11, just four days prior to the season opener.  I jumped him while looking for the droptine buck I had been watching for the last three seasons. I, finally, had the droptine buck figured out and he was the number one on my hit list or so I thought. That all changed with the brief encounter I had with what I thought was the smartest buck I had seen to date.  When I jumped this wide buck, he never looked back, never slowed to walk, and didn’t stop running for two miles.  This never happens and I would have never known this about him if he wasn’t so darn big.  I couldn’t walk away from a buck of this width.  I had to see him again and try to get video of this monarch.  That’s when I decided to track him until I could find him and get a better look, which is when I realized he didn’t stop running for two miles.   Tracking was easy on the sandy desert floor as his tracks where huge, heavy, deep, and kicked up cupfuls of sand.  For two miles, I tracked a running, sometimes stotting, buck until he found a safe haven in a little draw tucked away out of the wind. Two and half hours later, I peeked over the edge of the canyon to see the widest typical set of antlers swivel and look in my direction.  I dropped back down out of sight to grab my camera, peeked back over the edge to set it up, and that was more than he could handle.  He was up and gone in a flash.  This time I decided my best option was to just leave the area and hope he would return by opening morning. I usually like to watch a buck and learn everything I can about them before I hunt him, but this buck never gave me that option.  This buck was different and smarter than any other mule deer I ever had the opportunity to hunt. I had to back out and hope he would return.  I couldn’t take the chance to bump him one more time and push him out of the country completely.

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Tagged out at 8 am opening morning. Sometimes it works to your advantage.

 

Opening morning found me perched on a high point a little over a mile from where I had seen him the first time four days earlier. As the sun started to lighten up the surrounding area, I put the 15s to work.  The first deer I spotted was the same deer I had lost so much sleep over.  My hunting buddy had the chance to shoot or pass because he won the coin toss. We quickly determined it was the same buck from a few days earlier.  We quickly field judged him and Rick decided to pass as he was looking for a buck that reached that 200 inch mark.  This buck wasn’t going to stretch the tape that far, as we were guessing he would score in the low 190s.  That’s one good thing about having a hunting partner who is stuck on that 200 inch mark, he passes on many bucks I am more than happy to shoot, this being one of those times. My mind had been made up for four days and I was not going to let this buck get away again.  In a matter of seconds, I had my pack on and gun out.  Rick looked at me and said “You’re  going to shoot him?”  Without any hesitation I replied, “See you in a few. I’m out a here”.

 

The sun wasn’t even up over the hills and I was making my final stalk on the widest typical framed buck I have ever had the opportunity to lay my eyes on.  He was making his way to his bed for the day.  If he reached it, I would have to back out and wait for another opportunity.  I had no choice but to cut him off on his way there.  Lucky for me, on the way to his bed, he found a lady friend he wanted to check before continuing on his way.  This allowed me to get within three hundred yards, but not close enough. I like to get close and I’m good at it. I circled around the rim, popped over and had him at 140 yards.  This was going to work as the doe was leading him straight to me.

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What? The smiles says it all……..

 

I crawled across the rocks trying to reach my final shooting area.  I paused for 15 seconds to take off my bino pack because it was catching on the rocks and slowing me down from reaching the edge.  When I looked back up they were gone.  Had he seen my movement and left the country?  I frantically searched the canyon and saw no buck or doe.  My eyes caught movement to my left. I turned and looked and there stood two coyotes.  Maybe it wasn’t me; maybe it was the dogs.  That would have been the best scenario as the buck might not leave the country if that is the case. I glassed up to where Rick was standing to see if he could help in my search.  When I got Rick in the glass, he was pointing down.  I continued glassing the canyon, and saw nothing with antlers, however I couldn’t see the bottom of the canyon because of the roll in the hill.  Panic was starting to set in when off to my right, standing broadside at 120 yards, was my quarry. He was standing there looking down canyon at the coyotes, which allowed me to swing around to the right to set up for the shot.  Fifteen seconds later, my sites were settled on his vitals.   With the pull of the trigger, he humped up and ran ten steps where he fell over dead. All the stress over the last four days was over by 8:00 am opening morning.  The stress had turned into jubilation in less than 30 minutes. I waited for Rick to join me before I made my way to the downed buck.

The site of this Idaho mule deer will never get old.

The site of this Idaho mule deer will never get old.

 

As Rick made his way over it all starting to settle in, the accomplishment of what had just taken place.  The smile on my face was growing with Rick’s every approaching step. Knowing the decision I had made four days earlier might have been the hardest I have made, but standing there now it made it all feel so easy.  The buck was everything I had dreamed.  He has a 35 inch frame and is just shy of 36 inches outside.  With a gross score of 192 inches and mass all the way up, this buck has all the wall appeal I had expected.  Everything went absolutely perfectly and it all just fell into place, which never seems to happen.  From finding him, walking away, finding him again on season opener, Rick passing on him, the perfect stalk and shot, all before the sun broke over the canyon wall was incredible.  My hunts have never happened like this before.  I have harvested most of my bucks on opening morning, but none of them bucks I knew so little about. It made this one all that more special. It taught me that sometimes the right decision might be the hardest to make and sometimes playing out of your comfort zone can be the right thing to do.

I love it when I can include my dad on the hunt.

I love it when I can include my dad on the hunt.

 

Thanks for everyones help getting this deer on the ground.  Rick, Matt, JJ, James, Travis and my Dad, these memories will last forever and you helped make them become a reality.  I owe everyone of you! JJ thanks for letting me know this buck was there, and I owe you some tile work. It looks like jogging pays off for more than just your health. You see, JJ told me she ran into a very large buck with the fuzzy stuff on its antlers, the first of September, while out jogging with her dog. On October 11th, I ran into that buck while out looking for the droptine buck.  It was only 800 yards from where she said she had run into it.   It was buck she had described and I must say she described it to a tee, from the shape to every point on its head. I will never doubt you again as you described it better than most deer hunters I know. I knew as soon as I saw it, that it was the buck you told me about, there was no mistaking the shape and size of his headgear. Thank you all.

 

Monster Idaho Mule deer!

January 26, 2013 by  
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Jim Carr Whacks a Great Idaho Mule Deer

 

My Muzzleloader Buck

By Jim Carr

My hunt began in late October with the hope of catching deer in their
migration and at the beginning of the rut.  I started out high in the unit with snow already on the ground trying to see if the migration had started.  I covered miles of territory and saw only eight bucks with the best being a 160 typical with a six inch drop tine.

In the late afternoon while hiking up a ridge, a storm blew in and visibility
reduced to less than 50 yards.  It snowed a few inches during the night and in
the morning I headed up a ridge with high hopes.  I was met with fog.  Over the next few days, I covered a lot of country and while I saw several bucks everyday, it became apparent that the migration hadn’t started.  The temperature had risen into the 70’s.  It seemed that everybody was hunting the top end of the unit, so I decided to head into the lower rocky canyons.  While I didn’t see many more deer there, I never ran into anther hunter .

On the  evening  of day 6, with about one hour of shooting light left, I spotted a couple of nice bucks under
some rim rock.  One looked like he was a shooter, so I covered the distance quickly and came out on top of the rim rock with the bucks 50 yards below me.   The big one was pushing 30 inches and had good backs, but  his main beams seemed a bit short.  I guessed him at 180 inches.  I watched him for about 15 minutes, feeling very indecisive, until the wind made my decision for me.  It changed and as he winded, took off . Just before dark, I noticed a canyon off in the distance that looked promising.

I spent a long night thinking about why I passed that buck.  The next morning I got up early to make the long hike across the lava
rock to the canyon before light.  Luckily, there was a full moon so I was
able to make it to a good glassing spot. Right away, I spotted a couple nice bucks about a mile away.  I took my spotting scope out and put it on the largest buck.  I knew right away I had a shooter. I ran through a couple small canyons and looped around to get get around the backside of the buck.  I came out above the
deer which was it was to picture perfect.  I developed a case of buck fever and made
a irrational decision, thinking he was going to bolt any second.  Instead
of getting a rest and ranging the buck, I somehow decided he was
farther than he was and hurried the muzzleloader to my shoulder.  I
shot over his back (I later ranged it at 100 yards)

 

The deer bolted and
were quickly 800 yards away.  They didn’t know where I was but they were
on alert for about 20 minutes.  They headed across the canyon towards
the west facing rim rock where the deer bed down in the
mornings.  At this point, they were about a mile and a half away. I did
not take my eyes off of them as I snuck closer because I was going to kill this buck

There was no way I wanted to think about my screw up for the entire next year.  All of a sudden,
the deer reversed direction and headed up a gully and out of my sight.  I
had crossed that gully before and knew once they got too far I would
not be able to find them, so I ran to cut them off.  As I got to where I
thought I would be ahead of them, I went to the edge just as the first
deer was coming into view.  They were in high sage and moving quickly, so I
had to stand to get a shot.  I ranged an opening at 130 yards and as
soon as he hit that opening, I  shot once.  As the smoked cleared, I saw the
other deer topping over the hill.  I quickly reloaded and went down
where I had last seen him.  I had a sick feeling that I had lost him, then I almost
stepped on him.  He was up from his bed and out so quickly, I pulled and shot.
There was a pop delay and then a boom which meant I had missed.  Now, I was in hot pursuit and because
of the thick brush and rocks, I did not want to let him out of my sight.

I had never loaded a muzzleloader so fast.  I don’t even know how much of my
charge got in the barrel.  It reminded me of a scene in the movie Last of the Mohicans
where the main character is loading his gun as he was running. As the buck
went across a rock ledge, I was able to pull up and drop him at about
10 yards. My first shot had hit a little farther back than I would
have liked.  On the pack out, I had to thank God for all that he has
done for us and this beautiful place he created.  I thought about one
of the reasons I love hunting so much is you never know what is around
the corner.  Your worst hunting day can turn into your best in a split
second.

A couple huge archery mule deer!

September 17, 2012 by  
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Seems this could be the year of the archer!

 

Here are a couple of my favorite deere that have been harvested this year!  The first is Randy Ulmer’s Nevada buck.  Randy is no stranger to killing huge mule deer with his bow!  For year he hunted with Greg Krogh and killed some of Nevadas biggest deer.  Don’t know much about the deer other than it was harvested in Nevada.  As I here more I will let you know!  Congrats goes out to one of My idols  Randy Ulmer!

Randy Ulmer is no stranger to posing behind huge mule Deer!

The second buck I know absolutely nothing about!  I do know that it is Thomas Baker behind the deer!  I’m assuming he was the guide and the deer was taking in Wyoming.  Just a Guess as Thomas talks up what he can do in Wyoming.  Maybe he finally got it done. I really like the width, mass and stickers on  this buck.  The mass and width make it one of my early favorites so far this year!

I just want to know where the Jack Russell is?

First Lite clothing on the cover of Muley Crazy Magazine!

September 14, 2012 by  
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Local Ketchum company graces the cover of Muley Crazy Magazine!

 

First Lite in the spot light….

First Lite, A local Kethum company, hits it big time with the cover of Muley Crazy Magazine, sharing the cover with a 221 inch monster mule deer harvested in southern Utah.  I dropped in to the headquarters of First Lite the other day on my way to hunting camp and the guys were headed out the door to hunt for themselves.  they did stick around for an hour to show me the ropes and what they had on the plate for the upcoming year.  they are working on some great stuff.  Before I left I raided the selves that hid way back in the corner of the building, Didn’t think they would miss it much if they didn’t know it was there.  I grabbed a couple different under garments and a few hats.  I grabbed a Liano in the ASAT camo and wore it for the first three days in camp and loved it.  Marino wool is my new gig.  I love it, soft, wicks away moister, warm in the mornings and cool in the afternoon.  It doesn’t get any better than marino wool as a base layer.

It’s a little on the spendy side but you must way out the benefits you get when you buy their products.  You can wear one of their shirts for three or four days before you have to change it, compared to the average camo that you need to change daily.  Something about marino wool that bacteria does’t grow very well on it.  Therefor, no body oder! Right out of camp I would have to climb 1,000 vertical feet to get to were I was hunting.  By the time I reached the top I was soaking wet and within five minutes I was dry as a bone.  even with the cool morning temps the wool dried very quickly.  I would give this product a 10 out of 10.  The only problem I see is that I don’t have enough of there product.  All in due time though.

Greats  group of guys with a great product.  Check them out at First lite.com  I promise you won’t be disappointed in their products.

 

 

Jerry Harbottle is on a roll again!

September 14, 2012 by  
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Jerry Harbottle downs a great Colorado Muzzy buck!

 

Jerry Harbottle is once again in the spotlight!  He continues to harvest monsters deer ever year! I asked him what his secret was to killing some of the countries largest mulies every year and he stated ” It’s my watch.  I flash them with the watch and they can’t stand it.  It drives them crazy and they have to come and check it out”.  Well I don’t don’t know what to believe….He keeps smacking the big ones so he is doing something right.  Watch or not…He shot this one at 25 yards.  I think I’m going to get me one of those big fancy watches one day!  Keep up the great work Jerry.  I’m looking forward to a story here in the near future.  Congrats big guy!

Short G2’s  I don’t know if I would have shot it.  Should have let it grow another year…

 Love the mass and the eye guards. 204 inch gross mulie with the smoke pole.

 

Antler junkie Gear makes it into the Store!

July 12, 2012 by  
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Antler Junkie Gear finally makes its debut!

New to the Antler Junkies Store is a line of apparel.  Form Hats to tees these are a must have for the ANTLER nut in your household.  Check them out here

S and S Archery hooked me up!

May 15, 2012 by  
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Steve Speck of S and S Archery outfitted a my new test bow!


 

All that it took was one phone call to Steve Speck of S and S archery and I was headed his way with the new Martin Rytera Alien XT in hand.  You see Martin Archery, via Jason Erdmann, sent me a new bow to test out and write about on muledeercountry.com and Archerytalk.com.  Not a bad deal, get a free bow and write what I think about it.

The boy and I love the UPS man.  Here we admire the new bow that Martin Archery sent our way!

The unfortunate problem is that Martin’s lack of accessories left me wondering how I was going to set this bow up to shoot.  Thats when Steve stepped in and said” bring it over I’ll help you out. No problem!”  I was taken back a bit.  There wasn’t the ackward silence on the other end of the line or the what are you going to do for me response that you get so many times when looking for help, just “bring it over, I’ll help you out.”  What a pleasant surprise, you see, I have never had so much as a conversation with Steve in the past and for him to do this for me was huge!  These are the Kind of companies I like to do business with.  I’ll refer all of my friends and acquaintances to S and S Archery from here on out.  You need something for back country hunting give Steve a call or go to his site he can hook you up.

Steve Speck with S and S Archery finishing up with some of his handy work!

 

So lets see what S and S archery hooked me up with?  First he hooked me up with one bad ass site. it’s a  Montana black gold Ascent archery site, This is the site that I had in my head that I should design.  Looks like I’m to late, once again my life story.  Then he added a Vaportrail limb driver arrow rest.  Which I have to say is very different than any I have used in the past, but seems to be working fine.  Then to help balance and take some of the shock from the shot away he added a B-Stinger sport hunter Xtreme 6″ stabilizer.  Then to finish the bow off he tied  in a peep sight and a loop.

The finished bow!  Still needs a few more accessories, so I’ll be heading back to S and S archery to finish it off!

So to say I was a little taken back by Steve’s generosity would be an understatement.  When I looked at my bow I was very grateful, but I still wondered if the stuff he outfitted me with was worth a darn and when asked he said “rest assured it’s exactly what I have on my bow setting right over there.”  Sure enough, he didn’t go cheap, he went with the same great accessories that he uses on his own hunting bow.  Shocker number two!  I know two times in one day and from the same guy, unheard of right?  Not from Steve Speck and Sand S archery, it’s just how they do Business.

Check out some of Steve’s and Pure Elevations other handy work at pure-elevation.com

Well its getting pretty late need to head to the gym and prepare for the Bogus Challenge 3D shoot and the Train to Hunt Challenge Course!  See you on the hill June 23 and 24. A Special thanks goes out to Steve Speck for  his gracious sponsorship of Creekside Productions.  Thanks Steve…..

 

One Great Season!

February 22, 2012 by  
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Chasing big mule deer is a year round job!

Being successful chasing mature mule deer is never a two week adventure.  To be successful you need to make it a year round pursuit!  You need to work so you can afford to hunt. Thats a bummer, I know. The fun part is being in the hills and experiencing the sights and sounds that only the vast openness of the hills can provide.  That’s right, the peace and quite, the sound of the whippoorwill singing his little lungs out, the bugle of an elk breaking the evening silence, and most importantly the call of the majestic mule deer.  The call of the majestic mule deer?  Yea, thats right,  the call of the majestic mule deer!

MB Ranch Kings awesome new shooting bench, one of the many new products I have been given the task of trying out! A new Wasatch rifle with Thompson’s long range scope, adorns the shooting bench

As we all know, mule deer aren’t very vocal except for the occasional grunt of a buck or the mew of the fawns or does trying to locate one another.  Most people have never heard a mule deer and probably will never hear one.  This call that I refer to is our internal call, calling on our souls to do what our ancestors have done for years!  Hunt and eat that wonderful protein. Hunting has evolved from a must to survive to an outdoor recreation needed to

Prototype of MB Ranch Kings new table to ground shooters rest!

help control the herds from disease and overpopulation. A sport, family vacation, sustinence , or just plan enjoying the great outdoors,  whatever your reason is, to be successful year in and year out you need to take it seriously.  You need to up your game!  If your are hunting just to enjoy the great outdoors and spend time with your friends and family and you don’t care if you harvest an animal, my hats off to you.  I think that is the major reason why we all hunt! However for me, its the challenge of harvesting a mature buck on his turf that drives me.  I’m talking about a buck that is at least a four to five years smart.

I was lucky enough to attend the grand opening of Kuiu. Extreme clothing and packs for the hard core hunter.

To kill or be involved in the harvesting of big mature bucks year in and year out, you need to eat sleep and drink mule deer! Sometimes that means restructuring your whole life!  Finding a new job, making less money, spending less time with your family, early morning and late nights.  You need to treat it as if it is your job and you want to be the best at it.

Hanging with our neighbors at one of the shows, Pat and Nichole from Driven TV

When the economy took a down turn, I was forced into making a life change decision. I couldn’t afford to go back to school and a I wasn’t willing to move out of State and make less than half of what I was used to breaking my back setting tile.  So, I decided to focus my efforts on something I was good at and enjoyed, filming mule deer and creatively sharing it with others.  We are still living pay period to pay period, but at least I love what I’m doing and hopefully in the long run we won’t have to rely on my wife’s income to help support us.  Needless to say, the last year of my life has been an adventure.

Selling Outback Wildlife feeders at many of the largest sportsmans shows around the country.

It all started last year at this time when a good friend of mine was in a pinch.  He called me to ask me if I could fly down to Texas and help him out for a few weeks driving around the southern part of the United States delivering feeders.

Outback Wildlife Feeders headed to Colorado.

I agreed and little did I know it would turn out to be the smartest thing I have done in years. Over that three week period we talked about turning our passion for mule deer into a productive job for me. Filming all of our hunts and trying to make it on the big screen would be my new job! Outbacks microwave oven and barbecue/fire pits are a couple items I’m trying out! (pictured is the microwave)

A dream come true!  Little did I know over the next seventeen days I would work 16 hours days  with one day off driving from Florida to Colorado and everywhere in between. My idea for the show was to portray how hard we had to work at our everyday jobs to get this done. I knew I worked my butt off doing tile, putting in 60 to 70 hours a week and I knew Rick work hard, but I had know Idea how hard he actually pushed himself. Wearing many hats, Rick puts in easily over a hundred hours a week so he can support his family and chase mule deer four months out of the year.

Mr. Whitetail (Larry Weishuhm), Rick Meritt, and myself discussing the new show ideas over dinner.

Over the next month I will write on the awesome experiences, people, products, and opportunities I have been involved in over the last year. What a year it has been!

Idaho Fish and Game to kill Thousands of Deer!

November 11, 2011 by  
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Idaho fish and Game commission gave the game department permission to kill thousands of deer on the winter range!

 

Yesterday, the commission approved the killing of 500 doe from the Bennett hills winter range.  The  two hunts of 275 tags each will start in December and run through the end of the month.  This hunt was concocted after a fire tore through the winter range in August of this year.  The first proposal was to kill 2000 head.  The local and the state biologist feel that the lack of feed will stress the deer into having a poor fawn crop or even the possibility of starvation.  These are both possibilities, I agree.  Were I disagree is with the solution.

Killing 500 does is not going to take the stress away from the other deer looking for food!  It is going to stress the deer even more with the thousand plus hunters driving around flinging bullets into the herds. The deer will be on their winter reserves as it is and now  you’re going to chase them for 30 days and through some lead at them.  Makes total since to me.  Yea right!  There will be some deer die, they do every year.  Maybe even a few more, but I’m willing to take my chances that it won’t be 500 more.  It’s not like the winter range was even close to carrying capacity as it was.

Sure 60,000 acres is a ton of habitat, but deer aren’t stupid they will find food.  The deer only need to move a couple miles one way or the other to find suitable food.  Most of them will gather in the fields to forage on left overs.  It might cause a huge increase in depredation claims but that is part of the game.  It’s nothing new. The fish and Game  can have my tag fees and put it towards a depredation claim.  I will be buying a tag along with hundreds of other concerned hunters just to turn them back in at the next commissioners meeting!

Killing 500 does this year is truly  harvesting 1,500 deer this year because they will be already bread and carrying twins.  Over the next six years that is 26,000 deer that could have been born. Sure you need to factor in that all deer don’t have twins and some deer die ever year due to harvest, winter, predation and other causes.  But, even if you take half that number its 13,000 deer that they are taking away from the sportsmen and women of this great state.

Just my two cents.  I would love to hear yours.

 

For more info on cost of application and how to apply, check out the post on the forum page under Idaho. Lets make a statement and let them know we are done supporting this kind of nonsense.

 

Steve Alderman

Robb Wiley and Bryan Ingram

October 8, 2011 by  
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Robb Wiley and Bryan Ingram Team Up for a Giant

Robb Wiley and Bryan Ingram Team to harvest one of the Largest bucks to ever come out of Wyoming!  When I say largest, I mean largest!  I have held this buck and it is flat out amazing!  I would like to first congratulate Robb Wiley for his dedication to stay with this mule deer for the whole season and then let Bryan harvest him!  You have to hear Bryan tell the story, you actual feel like you are there.  Bryan gets so excited telling the story, it’s awesome to see a guy get this excited over his deer.  He will be on cloud nine for the rest of his life!  This couldn’t happen to two better guys!  Bryan thanks for bringing that giant by the camp!  It was good seeing you again.  I can’t help but chuckle when I think of you telling your once in a lifetime experience with Robb, the horses, and one tremendous buck.  Thanks for the permission to use the pics.  Take care and I look forward to sharing stories again!

Steve Alderman

Bryan Ingram and his giant Wyoming mule deer! It grosses over 260 inches.

Robb Wiley owner of Nontypical Outfitters with Bryan and his giant!

The mass of this buck rivals the Buck of Justice!  Congrats Robb….Couldn’t happen to a better guy.

Yours truly with  the lucky hunter!  I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to hold this buck!

And a kiss for luck!

Talk about goose bumps.  This picture gives them to me!  Thanks Bryan…..

 

 

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