By Lynn Burkhead|
ESPNOutdoors.com associate editor
After a year of good-to-superb precipitation trends across much of the western United States, it appears as if the 2005 big-game hunting season is off to the record-book races.
That's because Internet hunting site and message board chatter has lit up the World Wide Web in recent days with talk of big bull elk, mule deer bucks and pronghorn antelope bucks having already fallen to archers out in the field.
Two of those animals appear to be highly impressive world-class mule deer taken by bowhunters.
The first, a velvet-horned non-typical mega muley, was reportedly taken on the opening weekend of the Colorado archery season.
ESPNOutdoors.com has spoken with a Utah taxidermist who has green-scored the buck's rack as a 277-inch gross non-typical and a 273-inch net non-typical with a spread of 38 6/8 inches.
To put those numbers into proper perspective, the current Pope & Young Club world record for a hard-horned non-typical muley is a 1987 Colorado buck that was taken by bowhunter Kenneth W. Plank with a net score of 274 7/8 inches.
While Pope & Young 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.
Again, to put the above numbers of the reported 2005 Colorado mule deer buck bow kill into historical perspective, another glance at the P&Y record book is needed.
That peek at the 1999 fifth edition of the P&Y record book shows a 264 6/8 inch velvet-antlered muley at the top of the non-typical list for that scoring period.
ESPNOutdoors.com has been unable as yet to contact the bowhunter for details about his hunt.
The second mega-muley that ESPNOutdoors.com has learned of was reportedly taken last month by expert bowhunter Randy Ulmer.
If that name sounds familiar, it should be since the Arizona-based Ulmer is a regular archery participant in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, a frequent contributor to major bowhunting publications and TV shows and one of the country's top mule-deer hunters.
While ESPNOutdoors.com efforts to contact Ulmer about his reported Nevada muley have not been successful, the deer is being widely discussed via Internet posts on the Bowsite.com and MonsterMuleys.com Web sites.
Those posts including one from a well-known hunting guide give unsubstantiated reports that the Ulmer non-typical muley reportedly has more than 20 scorable points, a spread of more than 32 inches and a potential score in the low 240s range.
With three giant Western big-game animals already reported the two mule deer mentioned above, along with the Lacy Harber bull elk from New Mexico taken Sept. 7 it does indeed appear as if the 2005 season is off to a grand start.
Stay tuned to ESPNOutdoors.com as we inform you of future trophy news.