That evening, 30 minutes before dark, we saw him standing there! My buck! He was on the edge of a smaller cornfield, again with his buddy, only a quarter-mile from where we'd seen him before. There were does all around the area, but at least the wind was in our faces and the corn was between us and him. I grabbed my CVA Apex and Larry grabbed his camera, and we set out for stalk number two.
20 minutes later, we snuck around the edge of the corn. Just before getting within sight, Aaron turned to me and said, “He's the one on the right.”
We crawled a few feet further and Aaron took one last look with his binos. I just tried to control my breathing and take my mind off of the deer's antlers that were almost as big as the last elk I shot!
“127 yards," Aaron whispered. "He's the one on the left. Shoot the one on the left.”
I moved forward and cocked the rifle. “You mean the one on the right?”
“No," hissed Aaron, peering at me with murderous eyes. “The one on the *$$!@!* left!”
"Boom" reported my muzzleloader as the white puff of smoke rolled over the open Kansas farmland. The shot had felt great, but it was longer than I really wanted to take with a muzzleloader and XS peep sights. With a guide there to watch the animal, I reloaded as quickly as my shaking fingers would allow. But it was unnecessary. The huge buck was piled up 20 yards from where I'd shot him. (You can watch it all unfold on AHTV.)
I walked up to my buck and it became apparent that he was in velvet! This is very strange for a mid-October mule deer. He was incredible! Because he was in velvet, however, his mass wasn't quite as big as we originally thought, but nonetheless, it is the biggest mule deer I've ever taken and a tremendous trophy.
Back at camp we celebrated and held the tape to him. He measured 187 inches and change. My quest for a huge mule deer buck is temporarily over, but the hunt for a Boone and Crockett deer continues on in big-buck producing Brown County, Illinois. I'll be bowhunting in the rut with the boys from Mossy Oak, and I can't wait.