Guide to Killing Monster @utahmulies

I love talking with legitimate DIY hunters. Special rights are reserved for the DIY hunter. DIY is short for Do It Yourself and is synonymous with hard work and preparation. In its simplest terms, a do it yourself hunt is “unguided.” You are on your own. You might solicit the help of friends and family; however, nobody is in the business of guiding you to your end goal. It is raw. It is difficult. It is primal.

Now let me preface by stating I have zero qualms with guided hunts. I myself have enjoyed guided hunts in the past. I hope to enjoy a few in the future. Reputable guides can provide an experience that is tough to replicate or match. That being said, this article is for the Do It Yourselfer!

There are not many DIY hunters that seem to produce year in, year out. If I stumble upon one, my interest is peaked. What makes them successful every single year? What strategies do they employ? What equipment do they use? How do they find balance in life given the time required to aggressively pursue a DIY hunt?

I stumbled upon @utahmulies on Instagram. Lance Harris is the man behind the @. His 2013 Utah archery general season Wasatch buck is an absolute standout. As you peal back the onion, you find that he has been successful with the bow more than just once. It is becoming a habit. From his stud archery bull on Utah’s Diamond Mountain, his Henry’s archery buck, and a few awesome Wasatch front archery bucks, I wanted to learn more.

I sat down for a Q&A with Lance to see what I could learn about DIY hunting utahmulies style. To say this article has some great advice would be an understatement.

When did your passion for hunting and the outdoors begin? It started with my Dad. I don’t remember a time that my brother and I weren’t following my dad around hunting. We were always hunting something, anything. During the summers we were out fishing, camping, and hunting. It all went together.

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Tell me about your first harvest big game animal? I can remember my first big game animal like it was yesterday. Me, my dad, and my brother were hunting in Southern Utah just outside of Mt. Carmel Junction. It was a rifle deer hunt. We had hunted hard for 5-6 days. We hadn’t seen anything we wanted to kill and it was our last morning. The truck was loaded. We were just going to watch for a couple more hours than head home. Really out of nowhere I glassed a buck feeding in an opening. He was just munchin’ on brush. Since I spotted him, I got first crack. We drove down the road and tried to get in front of him. Eventually we got out of the truck and ran further down the road to where we thought he would be. We split up. My dad and my brother went one way, I went the other. I found his tracks crossing the road. He had gone down in a ravine. I then heard him coming through the brush. He popped up at about 75 years down the hill and I jacked 2 shells into him about as fast as I have ever shot two shells in my life. I hit him both times before he even dropped. As a big 20” 2X3 with 3” eye guards, he was an awesome first deer and I was super stoked!

So what has been your most memorable hunt to date? That’s a tough one. I have a lot. It would have to be my big Wasatch buck. It’s mainly because of how much time I spent on that hunt. I came so close on a couple of other big animals. After all that effort, it meant a lot to kill such a huge deer with some of my best friends… to see an animal that size, public land, in our backyard. He is just a magnificent, big, old buck. To be able to harvest him with a bow after a few guys chased him with rifles just weeks earlier is crazy to me! I don’t know if I will ever be able to top it.

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Let’s talk about your bow, how often do you shoot it? As much as I can. You know as a kid there was a bunch of us who had bows. Our dads all bow hunted. We took our bows everywhere and would shoot in everybody’s back yard. That’s what we did. So I have always grown up with a bow but it has taken a long time to be successful. I look back at hunts when I was younger and there is no reason I shouldn’t have killed big deer. Whether it was inexperience or making the wrong move, it just didn’t work out. I don’t shoot every day. I don’t have time. It may be that I don’t make time. With family and work sometimes it’s tough. Obviously any bow hunter should shoot as much as they can. I try to shoot at least once a day but it doesn’t always happen. On average I shoot close to 4-5 a week.

What do you do to simulate the varying conditions you may run into as a bow hunter? We built a course up on the mountain. We take our own targets up there and shoot uphill, downhill, realistic shots. We don’t just practice flat land. I have never had a flat shot in any hunting situation. We also try to always practice at our max. If your max is 50 or 60 yards, spend the majority of your time at 50 or 60. Unless I am setting up a bow, I rarely shoot 20, 30, and 40. It is usually 80, 90 and 100. I don’t do this so that I can kill an animal that far but when you get used to shooting 80, 90, 100, the shots at 30,40,50 are that much easier. The other reason I practice out that far is because it makes your closer shots that much better. At long distance any variance in form makes a huge difference and is magnified. Longer distances teach you to hold your form and follow through. It gives you the knowledge you need to tweek or adjust your set up. Also, if I hit an animal at 30, 40, 50 and it runs to 80 and is still standing, I have the ability to put another arrow into him and anchor it.

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What would you say is the max ethical distance with a bow? Going back to distance and practicing, everybody is going to be different. Factors such as draw length, poundage, and arrow setup vary and that comes into play. For me, I have a longer draw length. I am shooting a really heavy arrow (Easton FMJ). I practice 80,90, and 100 consistently. Every situation is different, I have killed animals at 40 yards. I shot my antelope last year at 84. I don’t like shooting that far but that situation happened so fast. I ranged him 3 times because it didn’t seem that far. The reality was I was confident in the situation. I knew I couldn’t get closer because of the terrain. I had practiced that distance. When I drew and held, I wasn’t shaking all over the place. I was confident in my hold and I center punched him. He didn’t even flinch until it was too late. If I can keep it 60 and under, they’re dead. But again, everyone is different. You have to go with what makes you comfortable. If your max distance is 50 yards, great… stick to it. Don’t use the justification that “oh it’s a big buck or bull, l’m gonna shoot 80 yards just because it’s a “big racked” animal. I hate that. We owe these animals more respect than that. Just because it’s a big deer doesn’t mean you have to just start launching arrows.

I’ve noticed in social media you enjoy bow fishing, how does that prepare you to hunt big game in the fall? Everyone needs to start bow fishing. There are so many carp in our waters. They destroy habitat. They ruin breeding grounds for walleye, catfish, and bass. They just tear up the ground. They muddy the water and they’re fun to shoot. Its legal in Utah and it’s a lot of good practice. There is a point when they become dumb like a rutting mule deer. When they’re spawning they’re up in the shallows and you can schwack a whole bunch. A lot of the times you have to use your bow hunting skills to sneak up on them. I was out just recently with my boy and we spooked a few cuz we were talking or Nixon wasn’t walking quietly. They don’t just sit around and wait. You have to be quiet. It’ll keep you on your toes. It’ll also keep your arm strength up. You can get your family out and do it. You just have to have a fishing license. It is a lot of fun.

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How do you include your young kids in your passion for hunting? Anytime I get my bow out, my boy gets his bow out as well. He loves it. He has been shooting little toy bows since he could pick them up. He will be 5 in December. I have had him on a lot of hunts with me. When my wife was working, that was often the only way I could go. Luckily, family has been willing to come up and watch him while I’ve put a couple stalks on some deer. I will also put him in the back pack and take him bow fishing in the summer. That’s another good thing about bow fishing, it’s easy to get your kids and the family involved.

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Talk with me about your success the last couple of years. What if anything is different in your approach to hunting and how has that made these last couple of years a huge success? The biggest thing is preparation. Spending time watching animals and patterning them. You need to know where they’re going and what they’re doing. Whether I am hunting or not, I love watching animals. I love watching elk, antelope and deer. They are amazing animals. I love watching them especially when they are growing big velvet antlers. Patience is another important key. Once you have patterned these animals, you’re best equipped to know when and where to move. That process takes a bit of patience. Sometimes you gamble and you lose but that’s the fun of the chess match. Lastly, when stalking an animal… plan your route. It will change but you do have to be ready for change. Very few times does it work out perfectly but still have a plan and adjust to change.

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If your plan doesn’t work, how often do you think you can bust a big game animal before you’ll never see it again? I busted my Diamond Mountain elk and his cows opening morning yet killed him 2 days later in the exact same spot. They have their patterns. From my experience, the big game animals I’ve hunted come back to their same spot. In 2013 the deer I was hunting (before I killed my big Wasatch buck) I had 4 times at under 90 yards. I never could get a shot. Something always happened. They busted me or they winded me but they always came back.

So you weren’t specifically going after your big Wasatch buck? I wasn’t. There were 3 other bucks in there that I was hunting. Big 4 points, 170-185. I hadn’t seen the big one yet.

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So did you wet yourself the first time you saw him? When I walked up on him… yea. Honestly, I didn’t realize he was that big even when I shot him. Long story short, I went in to find one of the three bucks we were hunting. My friend Wyatt spotted some does on a ridge but he didn’t see any bucks with the group. He decided to glass a canyon to the south. I knew there should be a few bucks in there because I’d been hunting them since August. This is mid-November. I pulled my spotting scope out to see if I could spot those does he’d seen. It was the middle of the rut. There should have been some bucks with them. It was 1500 yards away. It was first thing in the morning. I spotted the does and later a little four point that came between the does and ended up laying down on the skyline. As I zoomed in on him I caught movement on the right edge of my scope. I adjusted my scope. I couldn’t make anything out but I knew there was a deer in there. A minute or two went by and he finally moved his head. I was guessing a 185-190 buck. You know, a solid stud buck. Little did I know he would end up at 222 2/8”. It was long distance and early in the morning so I didn’t get a good look. All I knew is he was a shooter buck. I ran over and told Wyatt. We got everything set up. I threw my Be The Decoy on my head and I set out to get above the deer. They ended up going down a little draw. I went past them and he was down with his does about 200 yards. He was in knee to waste high brush and I didn’t have any cover to sneak in on them. I waited and watched to see what they would do. As I am waiting I peeked back in the canyon and noticed he was now about 40 yards above his does looking back down on them. He started walking back up that draw to where I had originally seen him. I remember thinking – What are you doing? Where are you going? I don’t know if he had already bred all those does or they just weren’t hot. Maybe he was just heading off to find something else. What I do remember thinking was “you gotta move now.” I ran up the ridge as quick as I could. Wyatt said from his perspective he could see us both moving up the hill in tandem. I came up into a flat and began guessing where he might cross. I knelt down, knocked an arrow and looked over and just that fast he was coming out of the draw. He looked right at me and didn’t miss a step. With the Be The Decoy on he kept on coming. I grabbed my range finder and ranged him. He was about a 150 yards and came up to 75 yards. He then started to turn and go up the ridge instead of right at me. He went behind a little tree and when I drew back, he stopped and looked at me. He didn’t seem nervous. He looked at me in the mood of “hey what’s up?” I don’t know if he thought I was a doe he’d just left but he was not nervous at all. I settled my pin as best I could and let one fly. I initially hammered him at 65 yards.

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You just traveled to Arizona and accepted a Pope and Young award for that buck, tell us about that award? (www.pope-young.org) Yes. So for the recording period of the 2013-2014 he was one of the biggest animals harvested with a bow and recorded worldwide. He really is a DIY public land beast.

I see a lot of pictures with the Be The Decoy product on your head. What is your association with Be The Decoy and does it really work? (www.bethedecoy.com) So I got to know Be the Decoy with my involvement at Hunter’s Nation. We giveaway a Be The Decoy every month. As a result, I got my hands on one. I’ve used other decoys (Heads Up Decoy and Montana Decoy) and was pretty impressed with what you can get away with if used properly. What I like about Be The Decoy is it’s on your head and you really don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to mess with it while trying to hold and operate your bow. It is already there and it is already in place. It is a familiar object that big game animals recognize. Yes, they do work. I have used it on elk, deer, and antelope. I think it works best on elk. It seems like you can get away with a lot more on elk. Deer it works really well. With antelope, I felt it gave me enough time to get a shot but that was about it. Antelope are pretty sketchy as it is but it gives you time to sneak in and get a shot off. On my Diamond mountain elk hunt I used it. Before a wind change, I had a big bull and his cows look at me 4-5 different times only to go back to feeding. They definitely work. Owners Branden VanDyken and Mark Renner are great guys as well. I have got to know them over the last couple years and I support their product. Used properly and in the right season, they are very effective.

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What is Hunter’s Nation? (www.huntersnation.com) You pay $20 for a one year membership. Every day you are entered into giveaways some of which are valued at as much as $700+. At the end of every month we give away a fully guided big game hunt. By being a member, you also get discount codes with a lot of our partner companies. You can get discounts with a lot of the outfitters we line up as well. It really is a no-brainer.

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What is your weapon of choice? Weapon of choice would be a bow. What do you shoot? (www.g5prime.com) You name a bow, I have shot it. As for the last couple of years, I have been shooting Prime. This year I have the Prime Rival and I am excited to see what I can put down with it.

When you go hunting, what are 3 essentials that you do not leave home without? (Excluding your weapon). 1. Binoculars: You can do without a spotting scope. It’s nice to have, but your binoculars… I don’t go anywhere without my binoculars. Even when you are in close, it’s nice to see holes or trails in order to develop a plan. How important is quality of optic? You can get by with anything; however, in early morning or late evening scenarios the quality of optic can make a big difference. Clarity and visibility is important. So binoculars would be my #1. 2. Range finder: If I was hunting strictly with a stick bow I wouldn’t worry about a range finder. With a compound bow and my set up, a range finder is a must. I shoot a single pin Sure-Loc site. I have a site tape. I range it and dial it to whatever yardage I am shooting. If its 43 yards, I set my pin for 43 yards. Do you lose valuable time in that process? In my opinion, no. I have been shooting a single pin site since 2008. It does take some getting used to if you are used to a multi pin setup. For me to range, set my pin, draw and shoot I feel I am just as quick as someone shooting a 5 or 7 pin. In my opinion it is more accurate because you only have 1 pin to focus on. You have a bigger site window. You don’t have all those pins taking up half your site. Plus the accuracy is a huge draw. Like I said, if you are shooting 43 yards, you set it for 43 yards. If you are shooting 45 yards, you don’t have to split your 40 and 50. 3. Gear (clothing): Whether it is Sitka, Kuiu, Core 4 Element, First Lite or Kryptek, there are a lot of great companies out there. It makes a big difference. These companies provide top end gear. They have layering systems. You can regulate your temperature as you are hiking or layer up to sit and glass. You need to have the ability to layer properly with material that wicks moisture well. A lot of these lines are built with spandex so it stretches. It moves with you. You don’t have the bulk of some of these lower end clothing lines. I don’t think it makes you a better hunter, but it does make you more comfortable and able to hunt more effectively.

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How much preparation and time really goes into killing a big high country mule deer or elk? There are guys that get lucky. They happen to wander into something. Congratulations! That never happens to me so preparation is almost year round. I try to stay in top shape as far as endurance. I am shooting my bow year round. I am working on my form and I try to really get to know my equipment. I am hiking in the mountains. In 2010 I drew a henry mountains archery tag. I was probably in the best shape of my life. I was doing a lot of running, a lot of pushups, a lot of shooting. I remember my dad told me, “you’re not gonna out run these deer.” I told him, “I know but when I get up to them I don’t want to be out of breath. I don’t want to be huffing and puffing so that I can make a shot.” You really are never gonna out run these deer. They live there and it’s just physically impossible. So between cardio, shooting, and scouting, it’s almost year round.

I notice you are often with the Mt. Ops team, what is your association with Mt. Ops if any? (www.getmtnops.com) It’s a fairly new company but I have known those guys for a while. Casey and Jordan are some awesome guys that have the same passion for the outdoors that I do. Their products are awesome. I am not sponsored by them and I am not endorsed by them. I do use their products and I notice a big difference in my cardio and my hiking. I notice a difference off the mountain as well. Take a Blaze energy shot and hang on because you’ll have energy for the rest of the day.

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How do you find balance between work, family, and chasing big game? You marry right. My wife puts up with a lot but she knows and understands that I have grown up with it. It’s not something I can just stop doing. She definitely needs a high five, a pat on the back, a props, whatever you call it for all she puts up with being married to me. But yea it’s tough. Before we had kids it was so easy to sneak out but then you have kids and your responsibilities change.

If you could pick any 3 tags in the state of Utah, what would they be? I am hoping I draw Antelope Island this year! Ok, excluding Antelope Island? To be honest even if I drew an Antelope Island tag it wouldn’t mean as much to me as my Henrys or Wasatch bucks. It’d still be fun. That being said, a Henry’s or a Pauns deer tag would be at the top of the list. I love to hunt everything but if I had the choice, I’d hunt mule deer. It’s what I grew up with. I do love elk. I love listening to them scream. Deer do not make noise. To kill high country mule deer, it’s a chess match. It’s a game of wits. You can’t bugle them in. That fact to me puts a mule deer up higher on my list. They don’t make noise. Now, I have killed an elk but I want to kill a stud. You know a 350-360+ bull. A San Juan or a Monroe elk tag would be awesome. I have never killed a bear or mountain lion so last of all I’d say somewhere for a bear or mountain lion.

There is often a bitterness towards big money and guided hunts. What is your prospective on spending big money to hunt big game animals with a guide? I would definitely fit in the group that is a little more proud of the DIY. I have no problem with people utilizing and paying for a guide service. If you have the money to do it. It doesn’t affect me one bit. It can make a lot of sense if you have the time and money to hunt multiple states. In the end, someone that can get in there and do it themselves ranks a little higher in my book.

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What would be your advice to someone that wants to get into hunting the western states and high country big game? A few things I would say. First, be in shape. Do yourself a favor and get in shape. You owe these animals the respect of being in your best shape. That is often necessary in order to get close and make an ethical shot. It is often required to get that animal out of the back country after you shoot it. Do not leave meat behind because you couldn’t physically do it. I pack the meat first and leave the head and cape last. More motivation to get the tasty meat taken care of then come back for the rack. Second, buy the best equipment you can buy. If you are a bow hunter and your max budget for a bow is $300-$400, buy a $300-$400 bow. Practice with it and know it. If it’s a rifle. Again, buy the best equipment you can buy. Lastly, have fun. We get to enjoy some amazingly beautiful, rugged country. Don’t make it about the score of the rack. If you kill an animal, whether it be a 2 point, 3 point, 4 point or a 200” deer, respect it. You killed it, respect it. Don’t use the excuse “well it’s not the biggest deer on the mountain.” There will always be bigger. If you kill a 2 point. Awesome, you killed it so be proud of it. Own it. If you’re gonna be ashamed of it, don’t pull the trigger. Go out and have fun and respect every animal you kill.

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Wyoming’s Top 10 Monster Mule Deer of 2014

I spent nearly every summer as a kid in the backcountry of the Wind River mountain range in Wyoming. My line tightening to the welcome grip of monster trout kept me coming back each and every year. I was 5 years old the first time I made that 26 mile round trip trek. Each time one of those big ole’ trout would fly into the air, I’d yell to my Dad, “it’s a keeper!”

To say this list has some “keepers” would be an understatement! In 2014, Wyoming produced some absolute giant mule deer. These bucks are in no particular order so be sure to vote for the #1 buck at the end of this article.

A special thanks to key contributor Jeremie Lewis. Many of you may know him on Instragram as @wyohighcountry. This Top 10 was made possible by his knowledge and expertise on Wyoming Mule Deer. If you are not already following @wyohighcountry, get over to Instragram. He is a “must follow!”
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Josh Dimmick

1. Josh Dimmick: You could say I am partial to matching inlines. Evan Ault and I chased a very similar buck for 2 years in Utah. Evan was lucky enough to harvest that buck in 2014. With very similar characteristics that buck could pass as this old monarch’s little brother. Josh’s smile says it all! At 218″ he should be smiling. What an awesome buck. Well done Josh and congratulations on a magnificent buck.

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Rick – Non Typical Oufitters

2. Rick: Dubbed “Snag” this buck is one of my favorites out of any state in 2014. As if this buck’s drop tine isn’t enough, its mass and character is unmatched. This should not be a surprise to anybody that follows Robb and Brenda of Non Typical Outfitters out of Alpine, Wyoming. These guys could single-handedly put together a “Top 10 Wyoming” list featuring bucks harvested solely under their watch. If you plan on hunting mule deer in 2015, be sure to call Non Typical Outfitters at 307-654-0000. Visit them online at www.nontypicaloutfitters.org. The story on this buck is awesome! Get it here

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Diana Berger

3. Diana Berger: What an absolute giant buck! This list keeps getting better and this buck fits in well. The past year has been a great year for the women! Utah’s Top 10 Monster Elk of 2014 is evidence of that. Diana certainly knows what it means to hunt monster mule deer. Take notes boys! Congratulations Diana on a beautiful Wyoming muley!

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Sean Morgan – Sean Morgan Outdoors

4. Sean Morgan: I love this buck! At 35″ this thing is an absolute beast. The picture is amazing as well and was recently featured in our “Hunting Hashtag 10 Most Stunning #massntrash” article. As a Hoyt pro staffer and avid hunter, Sean’s passion for these animals is unmatched. This guy puts in some serious miles in pursuit of these giants and seems to always get it done! Nice work Sean on a giant Wyoming stud! For some incredible footage you have to check out “Tale of Three Seasons” on youtube. Follow Sean on Instagram @seanmorganoutdoors.

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Ben Daniels

5. Ben Daniels: At 231 4/8″ I am dying to know more about this 2014 Wyoming bruiser. If you know Ben or the back story to this buck I would love to hear the story! This buck is an absolute beast. Congratulations Ben on harvesting such an amazing animal.

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Nicolle Wilson

6. Nicolle Wilson: The ladies are at it again! This 31″ public land 8X10 monster is simply amazing. Many of us hope to pass the 30″ mark at least once in a lifetime. The other bench mark would put you in the 200″ club. Accomplishing both on one buck places you in a unique category of awesomeness! Nicolle, you are awesome! Well done and congratulations on an amazing trophy.

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Greg Wilding – Non Typical Outfitters

7. Greg Wilding: This isn’t Greg’s first rodeo. He and his family have made a habit of killing monster big game! This buck dubbed “Stickers” is no exception. Greg said it best when he said, “Christmas came for me on Sept 27th this year with the gift of “Stickers.” Soliciting a bit of help can be an important element to success on any hunt. Greg picked the best and pursued this giant with Robb and Brenda at Non Typical Outfitters. Be sure to follow Greg on Instragram @wild man_g. If interested in booking the hunt of a lifetime, give Non Typical Outfitters a call at 307-654-0000! Visit them online at www.nontypicaloutfitters.org

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Hunter Unknown – Non Typical Outfitters

8. Non Typical Outfitters: Although we can’t seem to find the hunter’s name associated with this buck, it certainly deserves its rightful spot on this list. If you know anything about this buck or its back story, please shoot me an email at jdheinerblog@gmail.com. That being said, a well deserved applause goes out to Non Typical Outfitters on an absolutely stellar year! What a monster buck! Contact Non Typical Outfitters at 307-654-0000. Visit them online at www.nontypicaloutfitters.org

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Hunter Unknown – Non Typical Outfitters

9. Non Typical Outfitters: Although we can’t seem to find the hunter’s name associated with this buck, it certainly deserves its rightful spot on this list. If you know anything about this buck or its back story, please shoot me an email at jdheinerblog@gmail.com. One last time, well done Non Typical Outfitters! The mass on this buck makes it a “must have” on this list! Contact Non Typical Outfitters at 307-654-0000 to book your 2015 hunt.  Visit them online at www.nontypicaloutfitters.org

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Phil Krall

10. Phil Krall: To round off this list we have “Captain Hook” as it’s referred to here at JDHeiner Blog. Take a look at that cheater! Phil’s reputation precedes him as one who consistently kills big muleys. Those results don’t come easy and are the result of extensive scouting. Congratulations Phil on a well deserved Wyoming giant!

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Please share your thoughts in the comments section and cast your vote below for Wyoming’s #1 buck of 2014. Follow JDHeiner Blog in the right hand column of your screen and follow on Instagram @jdheinerblog

Hunting Hashtag 10 Most Stunning Photos #massntrash

I was first annoyed by the concept of #hashtags. All of a sudden placing a #hashtag #beforealonglistofridiculousyetseeminglyclevercomments is an accepted way to communicate. That approach is still annoying; however, hashtags used effectively can be both fun and effective.

Commonly used hashtags are an awesome way to further explore you favorite topics within instagram. Are you into hunting #muledeer or #elk? Would you describe yourself as a #huntinfool?

I often find myself glued to various instagram #hashtags while utilizing the instagram search function. This series of blog posts will highlight the most stunning pictures within a given #hashtag. I will take into consideration photos posted within a 52wk time frame. In this my first edition I will focus on one of the best!

HASHTAG: #massntrash

One of the biggest contributors and founder of the #massntrash tag is the one the only Jeremy Joyner @massntrash. In a world where @signs make everyone a “one and only,” Jeremy sets @massntrash apart with some awesome content. I am a religious follower of @massntrash. Check him out and follow today!

That being said, lets enjoy the Hunting Hashtag 10 Most Stunning Photos #massntrash.

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1. @fne4life (Chris Brackett): If you want to see some absolutely stunning hunting photos, follow @fne4life! This guy is a hunting machine. This photo is the first of many @fne4life photos that are sure to capture your attention. Nice work Chris on an giant muley and an epic photo finish.

image2 copy 22. @tim_downs_ (Tim Downs): To say Tim loves big desert rams would be an understatement. His passion for big curls is evident in his work.  Follow Tim for some phenomenal pictures of these magnificent animals @tim_downs_.

image43. @jayscottoutdoors @huntaz (Jay Scott): Averi was able to harvest this once in a lifetime ram with Jay Scott Outdoors. I am a huge youth hunter advocate. With 4 daughters of my own, this picture obviously caught my attention. congratulations Averi on an absolute trophy ram and stunning photo!

Be sure to follow @jayscottoutdoors and @huntaz for some unbelievable hunting pictures and video. Check out www.jayscottoutdoors.blogspot.com for some great content.

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4. @proline_imagery (Ricky Bangerter): This picture is stunning! As a result, I checked out @proline_imagery and this picture is just the beginning. This guy is an unbelievable photographer. Go follow Ricky for your outdoor and extreme sports photography fix! He will not disappoint. Nice work Ricky on a stunning photo.

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 5. @evanhault (Pictured: Ryan Warner, JJ Lund): Sonora, Mexico is the land of giant mule deer and incredible backdrops. To double up on a couple of bucks then finish off with that view would be a dream. This photo captures the moment perfectly. Take a minute and follow @evanhault. Evan and his hunting buddies are as consistent as it gets. Check out “The Trophy Hunter’s 4 Skills” for a great article about Evan and his hunting success.

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6. @bucksighter: To kill a double drop tine buck is a thing of fantasy for most big game hunters. I love the simplicity of this image. I love the lighting. This buck is both massive and trashy. @bucksighter has many great shots for your viewing pleasure. Check them out! Great job on an awesome picture.

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7. @seanmorganoutdoors (Sean Morgan): This 35″ buck is a favorite of mine from the 2014 season. Sean captures the moment well with both still shots and riveting video. Check out the kill shot on this buck at www.seanmorganoutdoors.com. Great time and effort goes into Sean’s harvest photos and film. This photo is no exception. Nice work Sean! If you are not following @seanmorganoutdoors today, get over there and click follow.

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8. @skylerrichards1325 (Skyler Richards): This guy continues to impress. CCO and Skyler kill some of the biggest mule deer in the West. This buck was actually featured in Utah’s Top 10 Monster Mule Deer of 2014. I am a huge fan when photography pays due respect to a harvested giant. Skyler does this on each and every hunt. Follow @skylerrichards1325 for some spectacular hunting photos. Skyler’s track record indicates there is more to come!

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9. @chase_christopher_ (Chase Christopher): What an absolute giant. This husband and wife team, this buck, and a spectacular backdrop is a solid recipe for a photo finish. I love everything about his picture. Follow @chase_christopher_ for some great content and visit www.themountainiscalling.com for some must see films. These guys are putting together some awesome stuff!

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10. @drivenhunter (Mike Jahnke): I love big whitetail. There is still a big ole’ bruiser that haunts my dreams from a tree stand in Monroe, Michigan. You win some, you lose some. Mike @drivenhunter and www.drivenhunter.com won one here. This picture is simply fantastic. Be sure to follow @drivenhunter and watch Driven TV on the Outdoor Channel Tuesdays at 9:30 ET. Mike killed this buck with Wicked Outfitters. Check them out at www.wickedoutfitters.com.

Now the only question remaining is are you now following these 10+ instagram users? If not, you are missing the boat on amazing content. While you are at it be sure to follow me @jdheinerblog.

If you like this article, take a look at some of the other articles at http://www.jdheinerblog.com and click the little follow button in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.

Idaho’s Top 10 Monster Mule Deer of 2014

Monster mule deer are one of many reasons why I love the state of Idaho. I went to school in Idaho. My wife is from Southeast Idaho. It is a place I also called home for several years. We brought our firstborn child home to a single-wide trailer in Hibbard, Idaho. We loved that trailer and we loved Hibbard. On a clear day you could watch the sun rise over the Tetons. It is a view that is unmatched. To top it all off, Idaho is the land of monster mule deer and trophy big game! For outdoorsmen and women it is a perfect combination.

This Top 10 is full of spectacular mule deer. As with my previous Top 10 articles including Utah, Colorado, and the Arizona Strip, these bucks are in no particular order. From 1-10, these mule deer deserve a spot on this list.

Take a quick minute and follow my blog by hitting “follow” in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Visit me on instagram @jdheinerblog.

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Nate Jones

0. Nate Jones: The readers always send pictures and stories of big ole’ bucks that should have been considered. Sometimes the readers are right. Sometimes they are wrong. When they get it right, I add those bucks to a BONUS section at the bottom of each article. Whether a buck makes the list or not, I love seeing your pictures big or small.

Ryan Thomas sent me a picture of Nate Jones’s monster 2014 archery buck. I am placing this buck in a very special #0 spot for 2 reasons. First, The buck is a giant. This buck green scored 225 7/8″ and dried at a impressive P&Y nontypical score of 215″.

The second reason for placing this buck at the top of this list is the bowhunter simply deserves it! Killing a 200″ buck can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Accomplishing it with a bow places the hunter in a whole new bracket. For the sake of this article, that bracket comes in the form of #0. That means we get to enjoy 11 massive bucks on this list of 10! Nice work Nate on an absolute giant. Sorry I missed it! Readers… Enjoy!

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Gary Webb / South Creek Outfitters (801) 836-8411

1. Gary Webb: South Creek Outfitters seem to get it done every year. 2014 was no different for owner Gary Webb. At 221 7/8” this buck really is a giant. I love the character of this buck. You could say I’m a sucker for big ole’ eye guards coupled with some mass n’ trash. Congratulations Gary and South Creek Outfitters on an absolute stud.

To learn more about this buck check out the following links: South Creek Outfitters, South Creek Outfitters on Facebook, on Instagram @southcreekoutfitters

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Shawn Stanley

2. Shawn Staley: Can you say MASS! This is the sort of mass and character that you don’t see every day. As a result, this buck lands on Idaho’s Top 10. Throw in that cape and a wide 31″ and this buck is truly a unique specimen! Nice work Shawn on an absolute stud late season Idaho moose buck.

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Wyatt Johnson

3.  Wyatt Johnson: At 14 years old, Wyatt just notched this big ole’ 200 incher to his belt. That is an achievement many will not accomplish in a lifetime. To say this 6X8 32” mule deer is a monster would be understatement. Congratulations Wyatt on this Unit 40 216” giant.

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Michael Wright

4. Michael Wright: Non-typical mule deer are gnarly but a perfect typical is simply sexy! This 30 ½” wide typical is beautiful. Well done Michael on a record book Idaho monster. This buck is one of my favorites on this Top 10! Nice work.

Tyler Hobbs 2014 Idaho
Tyler Hobbs / Bear Lake Fishing Charters (435) 890-4551

5. Travis Hobbs: It’s time to share simply one of the best! No matter the state, this 239 1/8″ giant would show up on any Top 10. It didn’t come easy and after a long 5 year chase, Travis was finally able to connect on this bad boy. This should come as no surprise considering Travis’s business is chasing down trophy animals and fish. In 2014 alone, Travis whacked 2 bucks totaling 430″. He also owns and operates one of the best fishing charters on Bear Lake. If you are into big fish, look him up!

For more information on Travis’s monster deer and catching monster fish in Bear Lake, check out the following links: Bear Lake Fishing Charters on facebook.

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Ryan Christensen

6. Ryan Christensen: This 36A buck has got it all.  Deep forks, huge main frame, some trash, and incredible eye guards are characteristics of this once in a lifetime buck. This buck really is a dream. Nice work Ryan on an absolutely stunning Idaho muley!

Rick Yellowhair 2014 Idaho
Rick Yellowhair

7. Rick Yellowhair: This list just keeps getting better and this buck is no exception. Rick is no stranger to big deer but this one will be tough to top. Nice work Rick on a giant Idaho muley.

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Lance Cole / http://www.scout-outdoors.com

8. Nate Archibald: The Scout Outdoors team simply know how to find and hunt huge mule deer. From Brian Cole’s monster Utah buck to this big ole’ Idaho buck, these guys get it done. Visit www.scout-outdoors.com and you will quickly learn Scout Outdoors has great deal of passion for the sport. They have some great apparel, galleries, and forums. Go check them out online. Congratulations Nate on an absolute pig.

To learn more about Nate’s buck and Scout Outdoors, visit the following links: www.scout-outdoors.com, Scout Outdoors on Facebook, on Instagram @scoutoutdoors

Jake Kobetsky ID 2014
Jake Kobetsky

9. Jake Kobetsky: Jake whacked this monster buck in Eastern Idaho. I love the tripod and mass on this old buck. Is there a better feeling than getting a monster mule deer into the back of a truck? Well done Jake on an absolute toad and a well deserved spot on this list!

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10. Mike Pimentel: This buck has some incredible character. I’d imagine this ole’ boy has spent some time in the sun with those light horns and cape. Everywhere you look this buck has something going on. Well done Mike on an absolute trophy Idaho mule deer.

Several Top 10 caliber bucks fell off this list. This speaks volumes to the quality of mule deer found in Idaho. I appreciate every one of the recommendations that came in for this article. You guys killed some bruisers.

So what do you think? Is there a 2014 Idaho buck that I simply missed? Please share! I love adding undisputed BONUS bucks to these lists.

If you like the content of this blog, please take a quick minute and hit the little “follow” button on the bottom right side of your screen. Follow me on instagram @jdheinerblog.

DIY Hunting: The Trophy Slayer’s 4 Skills

Successful DIY Hunting requires a special breed of individual. Do you know a “do it yourself” hunter that deserves a spotlight? Is the proof in the photos? Email me at jdheinerblog@gmail.com. Take a minute at click follow in the bottom right hand corner of this page and follow me on instagram @jdheinerblog

FEATURED DIY HUNTER: EVAN AULT

I did well in college. Based upon grades the argument could be made that I was smart. I know that sounds funny. The reality is I was strategic.

My approach to getting good grades began at the beginning of the semester. Most guys spent the first few days phone skoping the hottest chicks in the class. My “in-class” strategy was much different and had nothing to do with hunting chicks. I simply identified the smartest and brightest students and hitched my wagon for the semester.

I would study with these students. I would ask them questions. I would review their notes.

Simply put, I surrounded myself with the smartest and brightest people in the room. They rubbed off on me.

You might wonder what this has to do with hunting? The reality is this has a lot to do with hunting. It has a lot to do with life. It has a lot to do with my new DIY Hunting Series on this blog.

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Evan Ault 2006 General Season Bruiser – This buck started it all!

Are you surrounding yourself with the best? Are you learning from the best? Are you hunting with the best? This series of posts will help you answer with a passionate “yes.”

Let me share with you 4 skills I have learned from one of the most successful DIY big game hunters I know. In 2006 Evan Ault killed a general season buck that he will surely never forget. It is his 06′ buck that gave him the bug! His DIY record since that time is pretty impressive and most the pictures on this post have been from the last 2-3 years. I have followed and hunted with Evan for 4 years and here are my observations:

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1. The Best Spend the Time: Monster big game rarely come by way of luck. Let your passion drive you to spend time in the field. It is not enough to say you are passionate about the sport then stay put on your couch. Your hunt should not start on the opener and end on the season’s last day. Get out and spend the time required to kill a trophy. To a fault, Evan spends the time.

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2. The Best Never Settle: It is extremely difficult to pass on a good buck. I have observed Evan pass several bucks and bulls that 99% of us would kill. This often happens at a time in the hunt when I am confident it was his last chance. The reality is he is willing to walk away. In magnificent fashion, he usually pulls something off within the last hour. Evan rarely chokes and never settles.

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3. The Best Know the Area: This goes hand in hand with spending the time. A common fallacy amongst the haters is that money is the only path to area and success. I will tell you that a vast majority of Evan’s trophies were killed in general units across Utah and its surrounding states. Simply put, he studies the area. Trophy animals exist in your backyard, go find them. Study your area.

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4. The Best Glass: If you only listen to one of these 4 steps, this is it! Growing up hunting, we covered a lot of country. We would load up the horses or put on the hiking boots and go, go, go. Every now and again we got lucky. At first I thought it odd that Evan would sit and glass for hours. I often thought, “let’s get going” or “we are wasting our time.” Seemingly out of nowhere and after painstaking time behind the glass, the mistake is made. Out of his bed that giant appears only for a short time. Trophy animals rarely make mistakes so you need to be ready. You need to find a highly visible vantage point and get behind the glass.

It is 100% worth the investment. Spending the time with the right optics, area, and vantage point have changed how I view hunting big game in the West. Here are some of hunting’s preferred brands of spotting scopes and tripods:

Spotting Scopes: Swarovski Optik, Vortex, Carl Zeiss, Nikon,

Tripods: Manfrotto

If you have dreamed of killing monster big game in the West, take these 4 DIY Hunting skills and implement them today. The results are undeniable.

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Arizona Strip’s Top 10 Monster Mule Deer of 2014 (BRITTON’S EDITION)

The Arizona Strip is synonymous with monster mule deer. This Northwest section of the state produces some of largest mule deer in the world. Simply put, this portion of Arizona deserves its own Top 10.

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These bucks are in no particular order. Whether its #1 or #10 these bucks will draw you in as though all that matters in this world are big nasty monster mule deer. I tend to agree; however, I recently came across a picture that reminded me of what’s most important. Contrary to popular belief, its not monster mule deer.

imageThis is a picture of Jesse Shipp and his son Britton scouting for elk a few years back. Each time I see this picture my mind recalls some of my fondest memories in the outdoors. I have a similar picture with my own daughter Kate. It is no wonder this photo caught my attention. I had to know more. I continued clicking.

I landed on a loving sister’s blog. (www.believeforbritton.blogspot.com) I couldn’t stop reading Autumn’s posts. She and her family are pretty awesome. Just over 7 weeks ago Britton Shipp was in a serious accident. He is in a coma; yet, he is having “little victories” everyday. He continues to fight like a champ with an army of supporters by his side. My prayers go out to the Shipp family.

Change can happen in the blink of an eye. Cherish every moment. Re-calibrate to the things that matter most. Thank you Shipp family for your example of faith, patience, and love. We are all watching and praying for the best!

You got this Britton. Open them eyes. This Top 10 is dedicated to you!

To learn more about Britton, please check out the following links: Believe For Britton, gofundme

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Waylon Janousek’s 243 6/8″ Monster Buck / James Guide Service

1. Waylon Janousek: 243 6/8″ never looked so good! Congratulations to James Guide Service and Waylon on an absolute beast strip buck. I love the eye guards on this buck. To be honest, I love every inch of this ole’ boy. Nice work guys!

To learn more about Waylon’s buck check out these links: James Guide Service, James Guide Service on Facebook

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John Gisi’s Massive  245″ Strip Buck / A3 Trophy Hunts

2. John Gisi: This buck gets me every time. Take a look at that buck’s left side! 245″ and mass for days! A3 Trophy Hunt’s facebook page and webpage is something to behold. These guys kill massive bucks year in year out. Two thumbs up for John Gisi and A3 in 2014. What a buck!

To learn more about John’s monster buck check out these links: A3 Trophy Hunts, A3 on Facebook, Follow A3 on instagram @a3trophyhunts

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John Marin’s Amazing 217″ Bruiser / Arizona Strip Guides

3. John Marin: As with #2 on this list, the strip is producing some awesome lefties! The tripod and palmation on this buck’s left side is enough to get one’s blood boiling! Guide Josh Corbin, ASG, and John simply got it done this year. You guys should be proud! This is one of several monster ASG bucks in 2014. Nice work guys.

To learn more about John’s amazing strip buck check out these links: Arizona Strip Guides, Arizona Strip Guides on Facebook

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Con Wadsworth 263″ Giant / A3 Trophy Hunts

3. Con Wadsworth: This list just keeps gettin’ better! How about 263″ better? Congratulations to Con and the A3 team on an absolute beast. This buck was killed early in the season with no regrets! Nice work guys.

To learn more about Con’s giant buck check out these links: A3 Trophy HuntsA3 on Facebook, Follow A3 on instagram @a3trophyhunts

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Fred Proudfoot’s Cheater Claw Buck / Arizona Strip Guides

4. Fred Proudfoot: This old buck has some awesome character. I love the claw cheater on this buck! Nice work ASG on yet another monster buck! Congratulations to guide Cliff Amator and Fred on an amazing achievement.

To learn more about Fred’s buck check out these links: Arizona Strip GuidesArizona Strip Guides on Facebook

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Drew Shipp’s Big Ole’ Velvet Buck / A3 Trophy Hunts

5. Drew Shipp: I love big velvet. This buck certainly fits the bill. Again, A3 is knocking down some big deer. Congratulations Drew and A3 crew on an absolutely beautiful buck. You can’t beat the tripod on this buck. Great job guys!

To learn more about Drew’s big velvet buck check out these links: A3 Trophy HuntsA3 on Facebook, Follow A3 on instagram @a3trophyhunts

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Jim’s Gross 224.3″ Monster Buck / A3 Trophy Hunts

6. Jim: With a gross score of 223.3″ this buck is big, tall, and deep. These bucks may lead you to believe that killing a monster buck on the strip is an easy task. Jim hunted hard for 9 days in order to have an opportunity on such a magnificent animal. Congrats to Jim and A3 team on a huge main frame buck!

To learn more about Drew’s big velvet buck check out these links: A3 Trophy HuntsA3 on Facebook, Follow A3 on instagram @a3trophyhunts

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Unknown Hunter with a 253″ Arizona Strip Bruiser / Chad’s Guide Service

7. Hunter Unknown: Chad’s Guide Service has killed some giants this year. At 253″ this buck is right on top. Congratulations to both the hunter and Chad’s Guide Service on an incredible buck.

To learn more about Chad’s Guide Services check them out on Facebook at the following link: Chad’s Guide Service on Facebook

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Ryan Diquatrro and his Amazing 210″ Typical / Arizona Strip Guides

8. Ryan Diquattro: This is one of the most impressive typical bucks I have ever seen. To break 200″ as a typical is quite a feat. At 210″ Ryan’s archery buck is in a class of its own. Well done ASG. congratulations Ryan on an absolutely beautiful typical.

To learn more about Ryan’s monster typical check out these links: Arizona Strip GuidesArizona Strip Guides on Facebook

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The Curtis Family and 635″ of Strip Bone (240″ 40″ Outside Spread) / A3 Trophy Hunts

9. The Curtis Family: The Curtis family killed 3 absolute giants on the strip this year. You have to go check out A3 Trophy Hunts to see all 3. It is worth your time! This giant came in at 240″ with a 40″ outside spread. The Curtis family pulled down 635″ of Arizona strip bone all in 2014! (240″ 210″ 185″) I am pretty sure that is a family record. Nice work guys (and gal)!

To learn more about the Curtis family and their 635″ year, check out these links: A3 Trophy HuntsA3 on Facebook, Follow A3 on instagram @a3trophyhunts

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John McClendon and his Pending World Record Typical / Arizona Strip Guides

10. John McClendon: Congratulations to John and the ASG team on this pending world record book slammer. Very few could get this done with a rifle let alone a bow. I have a great deal of respect for the archer and John you’re one of them. Great job on such an amazing animal.

To learn more about John’s record book buck check out these links: Arizona Strip GuidesArizona Strip Guides on Facebook, Pending World Record

BONUS BUCKS: Alright ya’ll, we have come to #10 and this list just can’t end. The Arizona strip is going to keep on giving with some additional giants that deserve a spot here on the list. Check out the links to learn more about Britton’s Edition of Bonus Bucks for 2014.

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To learn more about this buck, check out these links: A3 Trophy HuntsA3 on Facebook, Follow A3 on instagram @a3trophyhunts

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To learn more about this buck, check out these links: Arizona Strip GuidesArizona Strip Guides on Facebook

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To learn more about Skip Rimsza monster strip buck and Mule Deer Addiction take a look at the following links: Mule Deer Addiction, Mule Deer Addiction on Facebook

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To learn more about Chad’s Guide Services check them out on Facebook at the following link: Chad’s Guide Service on Facebook

 

Colorado’s Top 10 Monster Mule Deer of 2014

Colorado produced some absolute monster mule deer in 2014. I have been looking forward to this post for some time! From 200″ to a whopping 308″ this is an awesome compilation of some magnificent animals.

Remember: If you like these articles, please take a minute to follow my blog. Click the small “follow” button in the bottom right hand corner of this page! Follow me on instagram @jdheinerblog.

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Brett Ross’ 308 1/2″ King of Kings / Muley Crazy Magazine

1. Brett Ross: Every now and then a buck comes along that absolutely takes social media by storm. Everyone has been talking about Brett Ross’ DIY Western slope King of Kings. With 308 1/2″ of DIY bone, this buck is an obvious #1 in 2014. It is also one of the 10 largest non-typicals to ever be harvested.

Although the rest of these bucks are in no particular order, it is only right we begin with this giant. Congratulations to Brett Ross on harvesting this true King of Kings.

If you have ever thought 300″ deer were only a thing of fantasy, check out Muley Crazy magazine! They are starting 2015 off right with two 300″ bucks back to back in their January and February issues. Here’s to hoping the wife will put a subscription to Muley Crazy in my stocking!

Check out these links for more information on Brett Ross’s King of Mule Deer: Muley Crazy Magazine, Muley Crazy on Facebook, Muley Crazy Store

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Ashley Ratkovich’s 259″ Monster Buck

2. Ashley Ratkovich: Like the ladies that dominated Utah’s elk scene this year in Utah’s Top 10 Monster Elk of 2014, Ashley got it done on this monster 259″ DIY buck! Congrats on a beautiful buck! This buck has got it all and deserves a spot on this list!

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Mike Kinney’s 255″ Governor’s Tag Giant Non-Typical / Muley Connection, The Legends Channel

3. Mike Kinney: It is a hard thing to beat 255″ of perfect velvet. Mike downed a buck of a lifetime with his coveted Governor’s tag this year in Colorado. The Muley Connection team and The Legend Channel filmed this entire hunt and it is currently available for your viewing pleasure! Check it out at www.muleyconnection.com. It is a must see!

Check out these links for more information on Mike Kinney’s amazing buck: Muley Connection, Muley Connection on Facebook, Legends Channel on Youtube

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Cody, Jeremy, and Brandy / @massntrash @wicoating on Instagram

4. Cody: This buck has got some awesome character. What an awesome buck. Pictured with Cody are Jeremy Joyner @massntrash and Brandy Williams @wicoating on instagram. Take a minute to follow these guys. These guys post some amazing content. Congratulations Cody on an awesome Colorado slob.

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Hunter Unknown 227″Slob / Birdsall Taxidermy

5. Hunter Unknown: This buck really is one of my favorites coming out of Colorado in 2014. Birdsall Taxidermy will be doing the work on this 227″ Colorado slob. Congrats to the hunter (not pictured) that was lucky enough to harvest this amazing buck!

If you are in Colorado, check out Birdsall Taxidermy. They do some incredible work. Check out these links for more information on Birdsall Taxidermy: Birdsall Taxidermy, Birdsall Taxidermy on Facebook

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Charlie and Alex (Father and Son) with their 240″ and 200″ Bruisers

6&7. Father (Charlie) and Son (Alex) Duo: At 240″ and 200″+ this is exactly how I hoped every outing with my own father might go. I have had some great memories with my father but nothing that compares to whacking two monsters bucks on the same trip. Congrats to Charlie and Alex on some absolute monster deer.

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Tim Laing’s 200″ DIY Archery Giant

8. Tim Laing: I have a great deal of respect for the DIY archery hunter. With a 200″ bruiser to his name, Tim finds himself in a very elite group of bow hunters. Their patience and dedication is unmatched. Tim Laing represents every DIY bow hunter well. The mass on this buck is awesome. Nice work Tim!

Check out these links for more information on Tim’s buck: Monstermuleys.com

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Larry Spillers 200″ Monster Typical / Bull Basin Guides and Outfitters

9. Larry Spillers: Larry downed this 200″ bruiser with the help of Bull Basin Guides and Outfitters. Bull Basin kills some big bucks year after year. It hard to beat a beautiful typical frame and I am a sucker for big deep forks. This buck has got it! I am sure this ole’ boy got Larry’s blood boiling as he zeroed in. Awesome buck Larry!

For more information on Larry’s Colorado buck check out the following links: Bull Basin Guides and Outfitters, Bull Basin Guides and Outfitters on Facebook

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Hunter Unknown, Colorado Eastern Plains Non-Typical

10. Hunter Unknown: Here is another confirmed bruiser coming out of Colorado in 2014. This Eastern plains giant has some awesome trash. I would love to know more about this buck. For now, we will sit back and enjoy! Congratulations to the hunter in this photo.

Remember: If you like these articles, please take a minute to follow my blog. Click the small “follow” button in the bottom right hand corner of this page! Follow me on instagram @jdheinerblog.