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Beau Knutson's 284-inch World Record Archery Mule Deer

Since the first time I drew a tag I have had an obsession for big gnarly mule deer. From early summer to late fall all I can think about is out smarting big old muleys. This year started out much the same as every other year, but I had a buck in the back of my mind that I had first seen three years ago. I had come across this deer bedded in a slough bottom with two other bucks: one was about a 190” non-typical in full velvet, another was a 180” typical with dropping beams, and the last was a 150 class youngster. Archery season was open so I backed out and made a plan. I circled back down wind and snuck up behind a rock pile that would easily put me within range. When I got to the rock pile I poked my head out and ranged the deer at 25 yards. They were lying there totally unaware of my presence. I figured my best chance was to draw my bow and step out at full draw.  When I was standing at full draw the 190” velvet non-typical was still lying in his spot while the 180” typical was standing broadside at 25 yards. I made the decision and sent an arrow through the big typical. He was a great deer and I couldn’t pass up the shot. 

Beau Knutson's world record archery mule deer

Perfect patience--that’s what it took to get this deer. The treturous stalk was worth it. This toad tapes out at 284 3/8 SCI and 267 3/8 P&Y, placing it as the new archery world record non-typical muley.

After that day I was all tagged out and didn’t know anyone with a draw tag to go after the other buck so I kind of forgot about him for the rest of the year. The next season I came across the big non-typical while I was harvesting. I was hunting with archery tackle again and every time I found this deer he was bedded in areas where I couldn’t get within 100 yards with my bow, so I had to leave him alone. This was tough to do; he had put on a fair bit of horn and was now in the 215” range. I had many sleepless nights in October and November thinking some lucky hunter would stumble upon him in muzzle loader or rifle season. Luckily, the area he chose to call home was within 5 miles of my house and not that heavily hunted, so I kept an eye on him for the season and he made it through. 

In 2012 I got back on him early in the summer; we just happened to be coming home from my daughter’s ball game and I saw a deer way off in the distance that looked like it had a drop tine. I raced home, dropped off my wife, grabbed the spotting scope, and Mackenzie and I headed back to see if we could find him. We got back to where I had last seen him and there was nothing to be seen. We glassed back and forth and nothing, he had disappeared. We waited for about an hour and finally we caught a glimpse of him sneaking through a low spot trying to get to the other field. At first I thought it was a totally different deer but after he sky-lined himself I knew for sure he was the buck I was looking for, and he had pushed out an 8”drop tine off his right side! 

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By Steve Alderman

hi58 md salderman01

As we stood to leave, a monster 6 x 7 rose from his bed. The heavy, dark horned mule deer had been lying in the shadow of a Palo Verde waiting for the perfect time to breed one of the does that circled him on the dry desert floor. I froze in disbelief. This was the kind of deer I had heard many stories about when trying to catch the rut in the Sonoran Mexican desert. The deer and I stared at one another as I, ever so slowly, raised the gun to my shoulder. He started to turn to follow his harem of does out of range of my muzzleloader, but with the hammer pulled back, I put pressure on the trigger and the white smoke filled the crisp morning air. As I rounded the cloud of smoke, I could see the buck that up until this moment in time I had only dreamed of. He was lying motionless on the ground a mere 80 yards away. It was a surreal moment standing there looking, not only at my dream buck, but the dreams of so many trophy mule deer hunters across the country.

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Unsuccessful - Didn't Draw a Tag? Now What?

 hi70-md-pkendall-02The most dreaded word of the spring. Draw results are starting to roll in from across the western mule deer states. Mule deer hunters are obsessively checking their email inboxes to see if they got lucky and drew the mule deer hunt of their dreams. Odds are, you’re not going to find yourself as one of the lucky few to have an Arizona Strip or a Henry Mountain deer tag in your pocket. Pretty good odds you might not even find yourself with a Wyoming Region G, or any other number of popular deer tags in your pocket. If you’re really unlucky, you didn’t even draw a deer tag for one of the many Utah general deer units. Sometimes life just isn’t fair! Hopefully you’re a savvy hunter and you have a backup plan. Landowner tags are always a good way to guarantee a hunt if you have the means to afford them. Colorado, Utah, and Nevada seem to offer the best options for guys willing to spend some money on a guaranteed tag.

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