In the pages of whitetail hunting history, there is no doubt the Luke Brewster buck is something incredibly special. The antlers of this once-in-a-lifetime deer sported 39 scorable points, with all the width, mass, and spread a hunter could ever hope for. This animal took the bowhunting world by storm when it was harvested in Illinois back in 2018. This incredible non-typical whitetail is not just the archery world record—it's also the largest wild whitetail deer ever killed by a hunter with any weapon, period. Considering that the whitetail world was only two years removed from the harvest of Stephen Tucker's 312 3/8-inch Tennessee monster, many hunters likely thought it would be some time before we saw another 300-inch whitetail take a permanent dirt nap. Then Brewster came out of nowhere and shocked the world. This is the story of this monstrous buck and why many of us may never see another deer of this caliber fall to a hunter in our lifetimes.
The Hunt For Mufasa
If you ever wondered how someone can possibly keep control of their nerves sighting down a buck like this, Brewster credits his time with the U.S. Marine Corps. The Virginia resident spent plenty of time training on the rifle range, along with two tours of duty in Afghanistan. In fact, Brewster didn't start deer hunting until after he left the Marines. He went on his first bowhunt at his dad's farm in Illinois in 2015 and was hooked immediately.
According to North American Whitetail, Brewster had some great mentors for his first hunts in Ron Waggoner, and Brent and Justin Cearlock. The hunters had a prime location in Edgar County, Illinois, which sits on the state line with Indiana. Coincidentally, that same year, the group got the first photos of the buck that would later come to be known as "Mufasa." At that time, the buck was believed to be about 3.5 years old, and 150 inches typical. The hunters hoped the buck would make it through the season because they believed it had a ton of potential.
That belief was something of an understatement. In 2016 and 2017, the buck started packing on extra non-typical antler. He had developed some wild kickers and flyers on his left antler in 2017 when one of the hunters, Justin, finally got a chance at him. Unfortunately, his shot missed the deer completely after striking a limb. Obviously, the miss was crushing. At the time, it was believed the buck would score around 200 inches.
"It was a bad day," Justin said in an interview with SELFILMED. "I still to this day don't know. I missed bad."
Justin's pain was Brewster's fortune, even if none of the hunters knew it yet. None of the hunters were prepared for what this giant buck became in 2018. Mysteriously, the buck was something of an enigma, not showing up on camera each year until well after the season started.
"We don't have any trail camera pictures of him in velvet since he always popped up in late October or early November after the local crops had been harvested," Brewster told North American Whitetail.
When they did finally get the first photos of this magnificent whitetail buck in 2018, none of them could believe it. The buck had grown a massive jumble of tines. The buck's left side had some of the wildest kickers and flyers ever seen on any deer. They quickly knew they had something special.
Fast forward to Nov. 2, 2018, which ended up being Brewster's date with destiny. After an uneventful morning hunt, Brewster and his buddies met for breakfast. The other deer hunters chose an area that was closer to where they were getting photos of Mufasa. Brewster chose a treestand he'd never hunted before. In fact, it hadn't been hunted in years. Brewster had some difficulty even finding it at first, but eventually he settled in to wait.
The hunter didn't have to wait long before he saw some does that fled the scene just as quickly as they had arrived. At first, Brewster thought maybe they had winded him, because the deer seemed nervous. That's when he noticed another deer to his left at only 30 yards. It was Mufasa, and he had somehow managed to sneak up on the hunter!
"He walked right over the trail I had trampled over trying to get to the stand," Brewster said in a video with ElimiShield Hunt. "He gets to a scrape I had ranged at 26 yards and starts licking the branch above him and pawing the dirt. By that point, I had my bow and picked a spot on where I wanted to shoot him."
At the shot, the buck ran off and quickly disappeared. Brewster initially worried the shot from his Hoyt RX-1 had been a little high. However, he had nothing to worry about, as he found a heavy blood trail. The Grim Reaper Whitetail Special expandable broadhead he was using had done its work. The buck was lying dead only about 40 yards from where Brewster had last seen him. With that, one of the greatest whitetail deer ever seen in the wild was down for the count, and the record books were about to be rewritten.
Just How Big Is the Brewster Buck?
Brewster didn't quite realize the magnitude of what he'd done until he started getting calls from reporters, and the story went wild over social media. It's not surprising when you start looking at the unbelievable score sheet of this animal. The non-typical buck has main beams of 27 4/8, and 24 1/8, respectively. His longest tines tower over 12 inches. He has a third circumference measurements of 5 and 4 inches. His inside spread is 20 inches.
However, it's the abnormal antler that's the most impressive. This deer grew 53 2/8 inches of abnormal antler on his right side and a staggering 133 2/8 inches on his left for a total of 186 4/8 inches of non-typical antler. When you add it all up, it comes out 337 1/8 inches gross and 327 7/8 inches net. While most deer lose score upon a panel scoring by measurers, the Brewster buck is the rare buck to gain inches. In fact, the entry score was increased 7 2/8 when the buck was officially measured by Pope & Young Club officials in March 2019.
With that score, the Brewster buck easily dethroned Mike Beatty's 304 6/8-inch non-typical to take the top spot as the new world record whitetail with archery equipment. The deer also immediately moved into the No. 3 all-time slot in Boone & Crockett Club's record books.
To put things in perspective on how rare a deer like this is, the Brewster buck is only the seventh known wild whitetail deer to net over 300 inches non-typical. The only other big bucks ahead of the Brewster buck are the 328 2/8-inch "Hole-in-the-Horn" buck, which was found dead in Ohio back in 1940; and the 333 7/8-inch "Missouri Monarch," which was found dead in Missouri back in 1981. Behind the Brewster buck in the No. 4 spot is the 307 5/8-inch Tony Lovstuen buck taken with a muzzleloader in Iowa in 2003. At No. 5 is the 305 7/8-inch Timothy Beck buck taken in Indiana via shotgun in 2012. Finally, rounding out the 300 club is the Jerry Bryant buck, a 304 3/8-inch monster taken with a crossbow in Illinois in 2001.
Considering there have only been three deer over 320 inches net in the last 80-plus years, that makes Luke Brewster's accomplishment in harvesting this rare deer even more impressive. Bucks of this caliber just don't come along every day. While the number of 300-inch buck harvests does seem to be increasing as more hunters take on quality deer management practices, it's probably going to be a very long time before we see another deer net in the 320-inch range. Knowing that, it's safe to say the Brewster buck has earned its rightful place in the pages of the big game record books along other legendary whitetails.