After multiple days in the backcountry, a hunter in Wyoming has bagged the mule deer buck of a lifetime. The massive muley, still in full velvet, was killed by Bo Gardner, and according to his guide Thomas Baker of Buro Crazy Outfitters, the deer was about 10 years old. “When me and my son first found the buck in July, I forgot about everything else and lived with this deer,” Baker said in an Instagram post. “Staying at a distance and watching him was so special, and I had to pinch myself all the time realizing what I was watching!” He said the deer went completely nocturnal sometime during the month of August. After that, his sightings were usually limited to about one to two minutes per day.
Baker continued to camp out in close proximity to the deer (which he nicknamed Zuez)—and even watched a large tom mountain lion unsuccessfully stalk the animal—before his client Gardner was able to join him in the Wyoming mountains. “Bo took it to another level,” he said, in a post about the hunt. “I am committed, but Bo went far beyond that. We hunted him for 14 days every day. I told Bo we had to hunt extremely smart and wait for Zuez to make a mistake.”
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Baker went on to say that Gardner—hunting with a bow before the rifle opener—had the gigantic buck within 40 yards at one point before a herd of elk blew his stalk. Eventually, rifle season opened in the area where they were hunting, and Garner was able to seal the deal when it did. “The fog rolled in and out [and] I spotted a bedded buck! I called Bo and said I might have him. This buck was still in velvet and we knew most of the deer were rubbed out already so my hopes were high thinking it was him,” Baker said, in his post. “It was a long shot across a canyon.”
Judging by Baker’s Instagram photos and videos, that shot yielded one of the most impressive muleys of the 2022 season. In one video, Gardner can be heard saying that he spent ten nights in the backcountry in pursuit of the non-typical monster. In other photos and videos, all posted to Baker’s Instagram account, there are at least two visible drop tines protruding from the mule deer’s rack, but it’s impossible to say what this beast might score, or how many points it might be sporting, until further details emerge. Field & Stream will continue to follow this developing story.
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