Want to see the biggest mule deer in the record books?
Not everyone thinks of mule deer with the same reverence as whitetail deer or even elk, but there have still been a slew of impressive records scored by these big-eared deer on the Boone and Crockett scales.
Indeed, mule deer trophies can be every bit as visually striking and numerically impressive as any other type of big game animal, and the Boone and Crockett Club has proved that fact by tracking mule deer records separate from whitetail records for many years now. Since we’ve already looked at the six biggest whitetails and the six biggest elks ever scored on the Boone and Crockett scale, we decided to do the same today for mule deer.
Like with both of those previous lists, this list is split into two parts, with the first three deer records representing typical mule bucks and the latter three records speaking of non-typical scorers.
View the slideshow to see the biggest mule deer ever measured by Boone and Crockett officials.
Doug Burris, Jr., 1972
Forget whitetails: the record holding mule deer scored a 226 4/8, handily trumping the 213 5/8 score that rules Boone and Crockett’s typical whitetail record. Taken by a Texan named Doug Burris, Jr. on a 1972 hunting trip to Proven Canyon in Colorado, this is a buck that reiterates – for the millionth time – the importance of patience and perseverance in the deer hunting sport. Burris and his buddies typically took annual hunting trips to Colorado, but they weren’t all that serious about it. Legend has it that the group treated their vacation time as a “poor boy” hunting trip, sharing all of their gear and just having a good time. Still, despite the “just for fun” nature of the trip, Burris still passed on a dozen or so bucks in search of “the one.”
His patience paid off when this monster wandered into his sights. With a single well-placed shot, Burris made the buck his. After bringing the buck back home to San Antonio, Burris took it to his taxidermist, who measured it and scored it on the Boone and Crockett scale. It took a few months, but eventually, Burris’s buck was crowned as the biggest typical deer of all time – a title that the antler spread still holds with commanding grace to this day.
Lars Svenson, 1950s
Some hunters work for a lifetime at landing a slot in the Boone and Crockett record books. Other hunters truly couldn’t care less about broadcasting their deer hunting prowess. The second biggest typical mule deer of all time falls into the latter category.
Scoring a 218 4/8 on the B&C scale, this buck – killed in Saskatchewan in the 1950s by a hunter named Lars Svenson – was and is an impressive beast. Svenson never got the buck scored, and it remained un-scored for several generations. Now, the buck has its rightful place in the record books, but no one knows the circumstances – or even the exact year or date – of the hunt that brought Svenson into contact with his legacy buck.
Speaking of hunters who didn’t care to get their antlers scored by Boone and Crockett, the hunter of the third biggest typical mule buck of all time cared even less than Lars Svenson. In fact, this unknown hunter in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area left the head of his buck behind after he killed it. A ranch hand found the head and took the antlers, hanging them in a local saloon for a short time. Eventually, they made it into the hands of a taxidermist, who had them scored by a Boone and Crockett representative. The buck landed a nice round score of 217, becoming a world record holder for a number of years in the mid-twentieth century.
Ed Broder, 1926
Killed in Alberta, Canada in the 1920s, this world record non-typical mule nearly tore a family apart. With a score of 355 2/8, it’s completely reasonable that anyone who laid eye on this buck’s head and antlers would want to own them. Ed Broder dropped the buck in awe of the rack it had. His kids were in awe too, so much so that when Broder died and left no will indicating who should take over ownership of his belongings – the buck head included – one of his sons (Don) made off with the head without telling his siblings.
That was 1973. In 1997, the siblings came back and filed suit against Don for stealing what also belonged to them. He wouldn’t tell them what he had done with the record-breaking buck’s head, so the judge in the case held him in contempt of the court. Turns out Don had pawned the head on eBay for a jaw-dropping $170,000. The judge ordered that Don split the earnings from the buck with his siblings, and everyone went home happy. Mostly. Don had to use most of his share to pay for his court contempt charges, and we’re betting the family never quite buried the hatchet. This story raises an interesting question though: if you knew that killing a world record buck would result in family estrangement, would you still do it?
Even though no one knows for sure when, where, and by whom this deer was hunted, there is little doubt that the second place non-typical mule is a legend of epic proportions in the deer hunting world.
Given to a British Columbia governor by a Native American hunter in 1892, this buck became a world traveler when the governor (a man named Sir Edgar Dewdney) decided to ship it oversees to show it off in an Austrian exhibition. Somehow, despite its travels and age, the buck managed to survive until the 1990s, when it was finally scored by Boone and Crockett and crowned as the second biggest non-typical mule deer ever. With a jaw-dropping 47 points, this buck scored an impressive 339 2/8.
Alton Hunsaker, 1943
Legend has it that this mule deer – killed in Utah’s Baldhead Canyon in 1943 – resided in a range of random locations before taking up its proper place in the Boone and Crockett record books. From a pool hall to a hardware store, Hunsaker’s buck was, for many years, a staple in a range of businesses throughout the western United States.
The score of 330 1/8 will ensure that the buck goes down in history despite some of its more day-to-day residences.