Big Horns......Gorgeous Buck

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There are mule deer.

Then, there are big mule deer.

And, then, there are those monstrous mega-muleys — bucks so big they cause hunters to have trouble sleeping at night.

Count 28-year-old Utah archer Jed Lowe in that last group, thanks to his Aug. 29 arrowing of a massive Colorado mule deer — a 10x11 velvet-horned monster non-typical that has an early green score as high as 277 0/8 inches gross and 273 0/8 inches net.

Keep in mind those figures are preliminary rough scores of the deer's rack; the Lowe buck must go through the mandatory 60-day drying period before an official Pope & Young Club score can be obtained.

But also note those same figures — should they be verified — stand to propel the deer to the top of the bowhunting record book as perhaps the largest velvet antlered non-typical mule deer ever tagged by a hunter.

While this story obviously will not cross the finish line until after all of the official scoring takes place, it actually began for Lowe earlier this summer, after a 10-mile hike into the Centennial State's high country at an elevation of more than 12,000 feet.

That's when and where the veteran hunter cranked up the power on his spotting scope and got a glimpse of a mule deer that would nearly take his breath away.

"I spotted him from really a long, long ways away," Lowe said. "I watched him the rest of the day."

Lowe, who has chased muleys with a rifle or bow in his hand since the age of 14, played a careful game of cat-and-mouse with the massive muley the rest of that day, never getting any closer than 700 to 800 yards away.

But as the day wore on, with his spotting scope cranked to the max, one thing became readily apparent to Lowe: He had found the deer of his dreams and one that he would spend his season hunting.

"I knew he was big, but I really didn't know how big (at first)," Lowe said. "But I got to look at him from some different angles and started adding things up in my head and the numbers just kept going up."

After the early-August scouting trip, Lowe admits the buck consumed his thoughts.

"Honestly, I couldn't think of anything else," Lowe said. "He haunted me those few weeks."

Needless to say, Lowe and his brother Matt found themselves deep in the backcountry when the Colorado archery season opened Aug. 27.

To the amazement of the siblings, the buck not only was located again, it was found in country surprisingly devoid of any other hunters.

"I figured that with a buck of that caliber, someone else would have seen him," Lowe said. "Surprisingly, we only saw one other hunter while we were up there, and that was an elk hunter."

Even so, that didn't mean that Lowe was able to make an early, aggressive move on the high-country monarch.

"We had him pegged down pretty good, but he wasn't presenting himself in the right place," Lowe said. "The first couple of days there was really no chance of getting in on him."

"He had chosen where to live very well," he added. "Above him were cliffs, and there was no way to stalk him from above. And there was very little cover to work with from below, so it was hard to stalk."

That finally changed, however, on Aug. 29.

"On the 29th he probably put himself in the best place in the basin," Lowe said. "It was still not a great option and was a tough place to try and stalk him, although I'm really lucky that it worked out."

But it wouldn't work out without a lengthy approach that forced Lowe to descend to the bottom of the basin and work his way carefully up the other side.

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a mule deer
By Lynn Burkhead associate editor

If ever there was such a thing as an unofficial world record, the Colorado mega-muley arrowed by Utah bowhunter Jed Lowe last month could end up being just that.

That's because unless Lowe chooses to have the antlers to his impressive non-typical muley stripped of their velvet covering, the buck can't claim an official world-record title.

"I would never think of stripping it," Lowe said of his buck that sports unofficial green scores of 277 inches gross and 273 inches net. "I love velvet bucks."

Pope & Young Club executive secretary Glenn Hisey explains the reasoning behind the organization's stance that velvet-antlered mule deer must have their fuzzy coating removed for official world-record consideration.

"Because it is harder to measure a velvet entry and to measure it accurately," Hisey said. "That's why we require them to be stripped to be recognized as an official world record."

Hisey indicated that the club will list velvet-antlered muleys in one hardbound edition of the P&Y record book, however. After that, the records are removed from the next hardbound edition of the book, although they're forever maintained in the club's archives and on the club's new CD version of records.

What about the Lowe buck's potential claim to the velvet-antlered non-typical mule deer throne once the official scoring takes place after the mandatory 60-day drying period is complete?

Well, remember that word unofficial?

"There is no official world record awarded (for this category)," Hisey said.

"Besides the difficulty in accurately measuring a velvet-antlered mule deer, a hard-horned mule deer and one in velvet are really the same animal, it's just that they were shot at a different time of the year."

"It would be wrong to have a (different) world record for the same animal, for the same species."

Even so, the Lowe buck appears to be a serious contender for the unofficial title as history's potential all-time best velvet-antlered non-typical mule deer buck.

That's because, the top such fuzzy-horned muley previously reported to the P&Y Club is a 12x16 non-typical buck scoring 264 6/8 inches net taken by Bruce Felker in Arizona's Coconino County in 1993.

Other top non-typical velvet entries into the P&Y record-keeping system include: a 246 2/8 inch buck in the record book's sixth edition; a 233 5/8 inch buck in the fourth edition; a 228 6/8 inch muley in the fourth edition; and a 227 3/8 inch buck, also in the fourth edition.

Keep in mind that all of this speculation about the Lowe buck's place in history is just that — speculation — until an official score is obtained after the 60-day drying period.

And it's also obviously contingent upon no other, bigger fuzzy-horned non-typical mule deer buck being killed this season by a bowhunter. To that end, already has received word of another potential 270-plus-inch non-typical mule deer buck that may have been killed by an archer, this time reportedly in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

Of course, that's another story for another time.

Until then, stay tuned to for the very latest information as the already-amazing big-game hunting season of 2005 continues to unfold.

And all the while, Lowe had to be painstakingly careful to avoid a misstep in the rocky terrain that would alert the buck and send him — and his 170-inch, 4x4 typical muley sidekick — packing.

"It probably took at least four hours," Lowe said of the stalk. "My brother was behind the spotting scope the whole time while I was stalking."

In fact, Lowe gives great credit to his brother — first, for allowing him the initial crack at the deer, and, second, for giving him hand signals from afar that helped Lowe successfully stalk the deer.

"He was gracious enough to allow me to get the first stalk at him," Lowe said. "My brother is a pretty good guy."

Finally, after the tedious stalk, Lowe proved that he, too, is a pretty good guy, at least with a compound bow in his hand.

That's due to his rigorous practice routine (Lowe shoots several times a week, year-round), and to a bow tuned to perfection by the gang down at Sportsman's Archery in Salt Lake City.

When Lowe's moment of opportunity finally arrived on that Colorado mountainside last month, the bowhunter came to full draw and made good on the shot of a lifetime.

"It was perfect," Lowe said of the shot. "He went down within 60 yards."

With a monster buck of dreamlike proportions laying motionless, Lowe sat down to take it all in, sharing the moment with only the rustling alpine breeze and the crowing magpies overhead.

"It was just overwhelming," Lowe said. "I saw him go down; but I still gave him the 30 minutes, although it was hard to wait.

"After a while, I looked at my brother. He could see the deer down through his spotting scope and he was waving his arms.

"It was kind of a humbling feeling to kill an animal like that. I felt a profound sense of gratitude and respect for the animal."

Odds are, plenty of other hunters will have a little respect for what could be one of history's best-ever, velvet-horned, non-typical mule deer.

Taxidermist Jay Ogden is one such person.

"For anybody who likes mule deer, this buck will take your breath away," Ogden said.

With initial green measurements showing a width of 38 6/8 inches, a 212-inch gross mainframe, an overall gross score of 277 inches and an overall net score of 273 inches, it is easy to see why.

To put those numbers into proper perspective, the standing Pope & Young Club world record for a hard-horned non-typical muley is a 1987 Morgan County, Colorado, buck that was taken by bowhunter Kenneth W. Plank with a net score of 274 7/8 inches.

While the P&Y Club doesn't have a permanent record category for velvet antlered mule deer, the club does record the top such fuzzy-horned animals for each record-book scoring period.

The Lowe buck, depending upon its final official score, should do well against all other velvet antlered non-typical entries, perhaps even well enough to be the unofficial world record for the specialized category.

(Editor's note: the 1999 fifth edition of the P&Y record book shows a 264 6/8 inch buck atop the velvet antlered category for non-typicals.)

Regardless of where Lowe's buck ends up ranking in a historical sense, he knows where it ends up in the place that matters most — in the recesses of his hunter's heart.

"The score, it's a nice way of measuring the deer, but that doesn't mean everything to me," Lowe said.

What does mean everything to the hunter is simply enjoying the noble pastime of hunting mule deer, especially on their rugged turf in the spectacular high country of the American West.

"I think that there's a reason that people call it God's country, because that's what it


THunter said:
Don't know why it is, but velvet antlers do NOTHING for me. I'd strip it off in a heartbeat!

It will have to come off before the deer can be scored anyway.


Senior Member
THunter said:
Don't know why it is, but velvet antlers do NOTHING for me. I'd strip it off in a heartbeat!

I'm with you on the fuzzy antlers. The buck is awesome and am not taking anything way from that, but it sure would look better, to me at least, if it had shed it's fuzzies.
That is awsome!!! I will take a deer like that any way it comes and love every minute of it.
I think the velvet is cool. There are just not many opertunities to see or harvest bucks in velvet.


Senior Member
Nice Buck

THunter said:
Don't know why it is, but velvet antlers do NOTHING for me. I'd strip it off in a heartbeat!


Could be a 350+ Whitetail and someone would still comment on something wrong with it :huh:

I'm gonna pass on this one cause it's still in Velvet ::ke:

not much that Brother could do about that Mule being fuzzy,
I would take it in a heartbeat :shoot:

Awesome buck by any means :clap:


Senior Member
im with you saddaddy...never fails someone to say something negative...say what they will but we know they would shoot it velvet or not...there just mad they didn't kill it


Senior Member
Could be a 350+ Whitetail and someone would still comment on something wrong with it :huh:

I'm gonna pass on this one cause it's still in Velvet ::ke:

not much that Brother could do about that Mule being fuzzy,
I would take it in a heartbeat :shoot:

Awesome buck by any means :clap:
Saddaddy, I would certainly take it as well, who wouldn't? I did not read where anyone said they wouldn't. It is absolutely awesome, so awesome in fact, that a simple comment about preferring antlers without velvet shouldn't even be considered as a negative comment about it. With so much velvet on such an awesome rack, it begs to be commented on. Nothing more nothing less.