MonsterMuleys.com

"Muzzleloader Monster"
Written by Derren Klein
Featured in the Fall-1, 2004 issue of Trophy Hunter Magazine

Muzzleloader Monster
In 2003, I finally had the tag that I had waited 10 years to draw. Having such a busy schedule owning and operating Legacy Tile & Granite, in Centerville, Utah, I knew I would have to hire some extra help to maximize my opportunity for this muzzleloader tag. After checking around for outfitters, I decided that there was no better choice than X-Treme Guides & Outfitters, owned and operated by Troy Justensen. X-Treme has some of the most knowledgeable experienced guides in the business today.

It was August and anticipation was high for the upcoming hunting season. X-Treme's guides had been scouting the area and had found many good bucks. They knew that I would be looking for something special and had found a couple of monsters in this unit.

Late September finally arrived and I was in the hunting camp with Heath Latham and Brandon Barney. The first few days were spent covering a lot of country and looking at many different bucks. On the second day, I passed a buck that would drop the jaw of most seasoned hunters. The buck was 34" wide and had a six-inch drop tine off of his main beam. However, the buck didn't have tremendously deep forks and we knew that there were better deer in the unit. We decided to persist in our quest and kept pounding the trails in search of a big buck.

On the seventh day of my hunt, Mark LeFevre finished guiding an elk hunt and would be joining us for the remainder of mine. Then, one afternoon it happened. Mark, Heath, Brandon, and I were glassing when Mark spotted a group of bucks and quickly sized them up through the spotting scope. Mark said, "Derren, there's the buck were looking for. Let's go!"

We took off up the mountain, stopping only to rest for brief moments. At this point, I was still questioning the size of the animal because I had only seen the buck through my 10 power Swarovskis and I had seen nothing more than a nice, 26" deer. However, Mark assured me that is was a huge framed buck with lots of extras and kept me marching toward the deer's location.

After one of the most vigorous stalks I had ever been on, we were as close as we could get. As I was hunting with a muzzleloader with open sights, I wanted to get as close as possible. Although not as close as I wanted, the buck now had us pegged and it was time to shoot. Mark quickly put his rangefinder up and told me the distance. We calculated the vertical incline into the distance and I squeezed the trigger of the Super 91 White Rifle. I center punched him right behind the shoulder. No doubt, one of the best shots I have ever made.

Mark and I quickly made our way to the deer and were shortly followed by Heath and Brandon who had watched the events unfold from a distance. It was then that I realized what a magnificent animal I had taken. The buck has a 201" typical frame with 20" of trash!

The thrill of the incredible hunt ended with the harvest of a monster mule deer and some unforgettable pictures taken during a beautiful sunset in the Rocky Mountains. I owe many thanks for the efforts of the guides at X-Treme as well as Don Peay and the folks of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife.