In August of 2009 I was lucky enough to capture a few trail cameras pictures of a very unique 3.5 year old buck. He had split G2’s on both sides and resembled a mule deer, so the name “Muley” was properly attached to him. On September 19, 2009 I had a really nice 9-point buck come in within bow range and filled my archery buck tag which made me a very happy hunter. In the next couple weeks I captured more trail camera pictures of “Muley” and was kind of second guessing taking that buck that early in the season with “Muley” running around. On October 6, 2009 it happened “Muley” paid me a visit and stopped to eat in a food plot at a mere 18 yards. After watching him walk off I vowed that in 2010 (if he survived) he would be #1 on the hit list.
Fast forward to December 2009 and low and behold he showed back up on on the trail cameras. He was fine and mean as ever taking out his dominance on a smaller buck. Now I know he had an excellent chance of making it to 2010.
The 2010 summer season rolled in with mineral sites, food plots,and trail cameras being #1 on the list of things to do. The trail cameras were key this year, as I bumped up to running 5 cameras instead of 2 like I did in 2009 . Adding 2 trail cameras to the mix with video capabilities really made this an exciting year. Then on July 6,2010 the first “no doubt” trail camera pictures of “Muley” were collected. He sure looked like he was off to a great start with long G2’s and a wide spread. Throughout the late summer “Muley” was caught on trail cameras quite often but never during hunting hours.Then late August he disappeared I was very nervous.
But then on Sept 28, 2010 “Muley” reappeared in the middle of our property minus his velvet. He then decided to take over the place as all the other “good” bucks I had on trail camera disappeared. He was everywhere; all ends of my land and on every trail camera I had out but he still refused to move during hunting hours. I learned a great mock scrape tactic and put it to use in one of the food plots “Muley” seemed to like best. As it turned out it was a deadly tactic.
It is now Mid-October and the pre rut is in full swing with bucks fighting and marking their territories. I now have lots of trail camera pictures and videos of “Muley” and am quickly becoming obsessed with him. Even though I have a good number of bigger than average bucks now visiting my mock scrape “Muley” remains #1 on the hit list. The October antlerless hunt is now upon us, it’s only a 4-day hunt and I wasn’t about to take a chance on encountering “Muley” without being able to shoot him again; instead I used this time to take my tractor in and blow the leafs off my walking trails so I could get in as quietly as possible.
On October 21,2010 I decided to roll the dice on a morning sit. I try to hold off going in for morning hunts because I normally bump deer on the way in. So this would be my first morning sit of the year. I headed up to the top of the ridge to the food plot/mock scrape stand that seemed to be “Muleys” favorite hang out. I like to wait until day break to head into my stands and today was no different. It was a chilly 23 degrees and the wind was calm, by the time I walked up the hill I was plenty warm. I Got to the bottom of my 17 foot ladder stand just as shooting time arrived. I hooked my bow on the rope and climbed up to get settled. I got all settled in and grabbed my bow, drew it back towards the food plot on my left to make sure everything was good to go. As I am at full draw I hear a buck grunt!
He is close and I was completely shocked to hear that so quickly but even more shocked to spot the buck headed my way at a mere 30 yards. When he cleared some saplings it instantly hit me which buck it was. It was “Muley!” I almost lost it but somehow managed to get myself a bit under control. It was all happening so fast. He was trying to get downwind of the mock scrape and downwind of me so I had to act and act fast. I stood and drew my bow as he was going past me on my right. I let him get into my shooting lane and settled the pin on him as he quartered away slightly before I let her rip; THUNK ! ! The arrow placement looked really good, if anything just maybe a touch back and low. I waited 30 minutes and in the meantime I got to watch another pretty nice buck feed in my food plot for 20 minutes. After he wandered off I went to check on the condition of my arrow. It looked great, my vanes and all were soaked with ruby red blood. It was now about 8 AM and had been about 45 minutes since the shot. I snuck out of there to get help and give him some time to expire if he hadn’t already.
We returned about noon and took up the trail. The 1st 100 yards or so was an absolute blood bath which led us to a bed with plenty of blood but no buck. We followed more blood for quite a ways and then lost it. Now I’m about ready to throw up but we didn’t give up and happened to stumble on him and jump him from another bed. Now figuring I only hit 1 lung we were committed to pushing him until the end .We jumped him 4 more times. One time on a circle I came over a small rise and he jumped up less than 20 yards away where in full view he ran over the next ridge. We backed out and called for another person that could come and assist us as well as carry a bow. Then I called for permission to go onto the neighbors land which was granted without any questions. Since we only had 3 guys on the trail and my 1 bow, we used our heads and waited for my buddy and his bow to arrive. Then we took up the trail again where I crested the ridge and slowly snuck down the blood trail with the second bow following yards behind me when I got to yell the words every hunter wants to hear “THERE HE IS AND HE’S DOWN”. I raced down to get my hands on him. Lets just say a group hug never seemed so manly. Then the photo shoot and the phone calls were made to let everyone know that this story had a happy ending.
“Muley” green scored 146 7/8 he had a 13 5/8 and a 14 1/2 inch G2 he also sported an 18 inch inside spread (I know I thought he was over 20 also) and weighed 189 lbs field dressed .
I know it was what I wanted from my 2010 bow season. But it will be very emotion checking trail cameras pictures now knowing he won’t be there. In fact I’m trying to hold back some tears right now.
Special thanks to my Dad and good friends Mark and Tony for the bloodhound work.
Another big help was Brad Juaire for his “spot on” tracking advice via cellphone. And then to drive down here to take pictures. You truly are a great friend.
Meet Dad, Mark, Tony, me, and “Muley”
A few more
The Video Sorry for some reason the music is hit and miss
A GREAT report Pat!!!
Really enjoyed following the journey, Thanks for sharing!
Congrats on living the dream!
That’s just plain awesome Pat Nothing sweeter than matching wits with a mature buck that you have so much history with and making it a successful story. Way to go man
wow what a story!!!!!! congrats pat!!!!!!
Amazing buck Pat!!! Even better is the life-long memories generated because you spent a year honing in on him and it wasn’t just a random encounter. Also have to give you props for your great storytelling abilities. Through all of your updates throughout the summer to your memoir of the life and death of “Muley”, I feel as though I was right there to watch it all unfold!!!
Once again, congrats on an amazing buck!!!
Awesome buck Pat you put a lot of hard work into this buck and it paid off big time in a very well deserved trophy!!!
I’m betting there wasn’t a single member one here not pulling for you on your quest for “Muley” They say you get out of what you put into it and that makes the outcome the sweetest thing. Thanks for sharing this special animal with all of us and congrats on a true trophy!
btw- those G-2’s are unreal in length and MASS!
Awesome read Pat Congrats on your quest of Muley that had to be the of the most exciting days in hunting life CONGRATS
Awsome Pat, I’ve been on a lake away from home for the last 4 days, I saw this on day 2 and have been dying to see him on the big screen CONGRATS YOU EARNED THAT DEER!!!
WOW Great job Pat
Wow! What a fantastic story and buck 2 go along with it! It sure sounds like u have a lot of great friends and family! Congratulations again pat on a terrific buck!
Great buck!!! Even better history and story. The whole story from start to finish kicks butt! You put a plan together And stuck with it. Congrats and keep up the great updates.
Good job Pat!
Great job, congrats again!!!
Too Awesome, Congrats!!!
Congrats Pat! Simply an awesome buck. All your hard work this year certainly paid off. Congrats again!
Great story with a better ending. I wish I could get one too hang around. They all leave when the.velvet comes off. Way to go again
A great ending to an awesome journey. He looks so much bigger on the ground than the pix. It’s kinds bitter sweet though I’m glad ya got him but I’m gonna miss hearing about him and seeing him on the trail cam. Congrats again Pat BTW what form are ya going with for the mount?
way to go gut,what a buck,congrats,
Awesome tribute to a fantastic buck.
Way to go.
Wow – he’s a monster. Congrats Gut on a your trophy. All the work paid off.
That’s awesome Pat. Big thumbs up to you bud
Good for you Pat. That’s awesome! He’ll look great on the wall with memories for the rest of your life.
Awesome job Pat and awesome report Wish I could have made it over to with you guys ! Big congrats bud
All of your hard work has paid off. I am glad you didn’t give up in the recovery efforts. Nice buck and great story.
AS Uncle Ted would say, “The beast is dead, long live the beast!” Congrats again Pat on a great hunt and even a better story. Like everyone has said previously, you deserved Muley and worked hard to get him. What a great way to end your archery season!
Congrats Pat on a well deserved Buck.
Great job Pat! Can’t wait to see how the mount turns out! What pose did you choose?
Incredible! All the photos and video of the beast is amazing. Congrats!
Great job Gut!!!!
Congrats Pat! Glad to hear all of your hard work paid off.
Congratulations buddy! Awesome report, video and of course the buck named Muley! It just doesn’t get much better than that! As deer hunters we sometimes get attached to the bucks that we pursue and have a history with. This one is exceptional since you have a two years worth of pictures, videos and that encounter in 2009. I personally got to see Muley while taking some pictures and he’s even better in person! Congrats again and be sure to take some time to pay tribute to such a magnificent animal!
Congrats on a Great Buck Pat!
Pat… I don’t even know how to start.I read alot of your posts even before I was a member Of IDO. Then Joel Started Talking about this Guy “Pat” and how dedicated he was to Everything from his food plots to His dedication as a hunter and outdoorsman. I have very closely followed your Journey with Muley. I allways looked forward to a report or an email from you letting me know how close you were getting to having him patterned I along with everyone on this site have been pulling for you to put your tag on him I know that there will be some Highs and lows in the next few weeks when you are checking cameras or spot a big deer But I am looking forward to your next challenge I would hate to be the Buck that you decide to tag next
Pat, I congratulate you on your dream buck and I think I speak for everyone when I say we are very lucky to have someone like you that is so dedicated to IDO and for being a great roll model for all outdoorsman
Couldn’t have said it better myself Pat. Thanks for allowing us to tag along this fall, really looking forward to next bow season already for you over there!
Thanks everyone for your kind words I’m glad you enjoyed my hunt for “Muley”
He will be mounted semi upright with a right turn and right ear back left ear halfway back. So as soon as you walk in the door he’s looking at you
I still pinch myself everyday to make sure I’m not dreaming. With all the split G2 bucks I am seeing it won’t be long and the pursuit of Muley 2 will begin. And I can’t wait
Way to go Gut !!! I got your phone msg, somewhere around Glendive MT, friday night,when I retrieved my phone from my overnight bag…from the back of the truck I can’t wait to hear the story in person and buy you a couple for a job well done
Happy Muley day
What a GREAT story and AWESOME deer.!! …rrr