We may just have a new World Record velvet non-typical mule deer buck, reported The Pope and Young Club today. They won't be sure until after the special panel they're convening right now can verify it, but Justin Gordon's buck deserves a second, third, and maybe 15th look.
If you're not familiar with Pope and Young (P&Y), that organization keeps records for fair-chase game animals taken by archery. (For animals taken with firearms, the organization of record is Boone & Crockett.) Furthermore, if you're not familiar with what we mean by "velvet," it refers to the fuzzy antler covering that deer shed as fall turns to winter.
The lucky and skilled hunter who took this buck, Justin Gordon, is a resident of Colorado. "“Where do you begin when describing an archery backpack hunt into the phenomenal Colorado backcountry that culminates in the harvest of one of the most unique mule deer ever,” he said. “To find an animal this rare in such a remote and beautiful setting can't be described merely once in a lifetime. It is against all odds for a deer like this to reach full maturity. Where this buck spent its summers, the migration corridors it traveled, and the winter habitat it occupied all further reduced the likelihood of a buck of this caliber to grow old.
Five days into the 2018 archery season, the buck was first spotted by a friend with whom I shared basecamp,” added Justin. “The buck was a "spooky" deer, always on the move and rarely hanging around past the dimmest of predawn light. Several days after we initially spotted the buck, we were fortunate to have the deer present an opportunity for a stalk. After a couple of hours, I found myself inside 27 yards of the bedded buck. When he stood, he presented a steep quartering away shot. The arrow flew true, and the buck died after a very short run downhill.
Although I knew he was unique, it wasn't until several months after the hunt that I realized how unique. While he doesn't have the largest frame for a mule deer, it is a rare animal that carries around 150 extra inches. Several months after the hunt, I also learned that the buck has a P&Y score more than 100 points higher than I had guessed. One of the few mule deer on record scoring over 330 inches. The Gordon buck is a genuinely unique specimen, and I hope that through P&Y record keeping, the deer can be appreciated in perpetuity.”
The preliminary score of Justin's mule deer is 338 7/8 inches. Justin's incredible buck has 28 points on the right side and 19 points on the left. The Special Panel to measure this potential velvet World Record buck will convene on October 28th in Lehi, Utah. If the Special Panel verifies Justin's mammoth non-typical mule deer, it would be the first velvet non-typical mule deer World Record recognized by the Pope and Young Club.