We put together a gallery of the highest scoring typical and non-typical mule deer to ever be entered into the Boone and Crockett record books. Throughout the gallery we included of the unbelievable stories of how some of these mule deer were killed.
Editor’s note: There are a handful of ties in this ranking, so as you click through the gallery the numbers will skip after a tie.
There are no missing bucks from this piece, it includes the top 40 all time.
1. Doug Burris, Jr.
Score: 226 4/8
Doug Burris and his cronies from San Antonio called their annual Colorado hunting trip the “poor boy trip,” as they share all their gear and hunting knowledge, typically venturing out on foot. In 1972 on a trip to the San Juan National Forest, Doug was rattling in mulies (yes, you can rattle them in), and he passed up a half-dozen decent bucks in the rainy and miserable weather.
By day four, Doug had set his sights on a buck that one of his hunting buddies had seen earlier. He was dropped off in Proven Canyon, a place where he killed a buck the prior year that had a 41-inch spread. He spotted a couple bucks on the opposite hillside when a third buck materialized. He knew that was the one he wanted. He dropped down the canyon and weaved his way through thick oak brush.
On his way to meet the bucks, he nearly stepped on a doe that exploded from her bed. This spooked the bucks. Two went left, his buck went right. With one shot from his .264 the big boy was down. When he got home, he took the head and cape to his taxidermist, Ed Schlier who measured for Boone and Crockett.
A green score put the antlers in the top 10. In an article in the December 1975 Outdoor Life, Doug recalled what happened next. “Several months later my phone rang at 1 a.m. “Doug,” Ed blurted out, “I think your buck may be the best typical ever taken.” It was, and has been ever since. The closest contender is a good 8 inches shorter.
2. Lars Svenson
Score: 218 4/8
All we really know about this buck is that the owner didn’t give a rat’s behind about getting it scored. It belonged to his grandfather, who killed the buck in the 1950s in the South Saskatchewan River area.
3. Unknown Hunter
This buck prowled the Hoback Canyon south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In 1925, a hunter killed the buck for meat and left the head behind. A ranch hand found the antlers and brought them into Jackson where they hung in Mike Meek’s Saloon.
The saloon closed and the antlers appeared at the Handicraft Shop where a taxidermist bought them and sent them to Boone and Crockett. Not a bad find as the head was the #1 typical for a short time. It sits on display at the Jackson Hole Museum.
4. (Picked Up) Steve Stayner
Score: 216 2/8
Predators only kill the sick, weak and young, right? Well, not really. Consider the story of Arizona’s only top-20 typical entry. In the fall of 1996, Steve Stayner was cruising the rim rock looking for deer in Cococino County.
What looked like a white rag in the sage brush caught his eye. Zigzagging through the sage once he made his way down, he didn’t find rag, but the bleaching bones of a massive muley. Miraculously, none of the tines had been touched by porcupines or mice. Evidence around the deer suggested a lion had taken it down.
Steve went back to Phoenix and showed his dad, who just happened to be an official Boone and Crockett measurer. After taping it out, the buck has an outside spread over 31 inches and a left G2 that measures 22 4/8 inches.
5. Ray Talbot
Score: 215 5/8
Ray Talbot was the sheriff of Franklin County, Idaho when he took this magnificent mule deer in 1961. The buck, which was killed near Worm Creek, has certainly been enjoyed by many.
The buck was on display at the Idaho Fish and Game offices in Boise, then it was showcased at the Boone and Crockett headquarters in Cody, Wyoming. It was also displayed at the Museum of Natural History for a spell in Washington, D.C.
5. (Tie) Gary L. Albertson
Score: 215 5/8
7. Robert L. Ingels
Score: 215 3/8
8. Paul A. Muehlbauer
Score: 214 3/8
Score: 213 1/8
I love everything about this photo: the beard, the hockey sweat shirt, the work boots, the intense stare…oh yeah, and the buck is pretty sweet too. And to think those antlers were slated to be cut into knife handles. True story.
When David Blaker saw the antlers hanging in a garage, he thought they looked a little to big to be sawed into remnants. The owner of the rack received them from a hunter who only wanted the meat. He killed the buck in northwestern Colorado.
David took the rack to a local bow shoot to show it around. Thanks to all the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ it produced, he decided to get i taped. It went well over 200. When an official scorer taped it in the top 10, David decided to enter it into the book. It now sits in a Cabelas somewhere–and it’s not attached to a knife.
10. Errol R. Raley
Score: 212 7/8
11. J. Larry Barr
Score: 212 6/8
Mule Deer fanatics will recognize the name J. Lary Barr. Barr has taken a number of exceptional mule deer and this southeastern Idaho beast is his best.
Mule deer fanatics will also likely recognize the Taylor Brothers (Ridge and Cash). The duo known for finding world-class muley bucks were guiding Barr when the deer was taken.
11. (Tie) Kirk Payne
Score: 212 6/8
It’s funny how doctors can get in the way of a good time. Kirk Payne had a heart attack, and his doctor told him specifically not to go hunting. Like any die-hard good old boy, Kirk ignored his doctor’s advice and took to the hills in Gem County, Idaho in 1967.
To his credit, he did stick mostly to his pick-up instead of hoofing it up and down the hills. This time, that was a good strategy. As he rounded a corner on a dirt road, this massive buck just happened to be in his way. The hunt went something like this. Buck goes up hill. Kirk pulls out .30-06. Buck looks at Kirk. Kirk gets a 212-class mount.
13. V.R. Rayburn
Score: 212 1/8
13. (Tied) Urban H. Riener
Score: 212 1/8
When you have 16 kids, aside from cattle rustling, hunting is about the best way to feed them all. With ten boys to his name, Urban Riener was cruising the Snake River Breaks on a warm day back in 1979.
With his International Scout (what else do you hunt Idaho mule deer with?), Urban was followed by his boys in a CJ-3 Jeep. A dozen does filed out of a draw in front of them and the big buck followed. The Riener boys opened up with no one connecting. With one shot from his .30-06, Urban severed the buck’s spine at 175 yards. Did I mention he only had one arm? A mill accident took the other one. The boys winched the carcass up to the Jeep and likely had backstraps for supper.
15. Wesley B. Brock
16. Picked Up
Score: 211 7/8
16. (Tied) Joseph A. Garcia
Score: 211 7/8
Location: New Mexico
Taken in 1965, there’s not much information to be had regarding the story behind this exceptional typical. That said, one safe assumption can be made: Joseph A. Garcia, the hunter who tagged the buck, either knew a thing or two about giant muleys or hunted in a pretty special area. Or, perhaps it’s a combination of the two.
Scroll down a bit and you’ll find Garcia’s name again. He’s also in the Boone and Crockett’s Top 20 with a non-typical mule deer buck he took in 1963.
16. (Tied) Boyd W. Dennis
Score: 211 7/8
Even back in the early 1970′s, hunters from California got heat from locals. Boyd Dennis and Bill Kaylor left California for some Idaho muley hunting and couldn’t help but overhear snide comments about Californians coming to town. They tried to stick it out, even smearing mud on their license plate, but in the end, packed up and headed to a new spot. Good thing they did.
They headed north and stopped at 3 a.m., pitching tarps and bags anywhere. They woke to four inches of fresh snow on that mid-November morning and got down to business. Late in the evening, Boyd took a load off by a stream and waited for his hunting partner to arrive.
The snow crunched and Boyd thought it must have been Bill. Instead, it was a rutted-up beast of a mule deer, and Boyd took him down with his .270 Remington. The buck was only 27 ½ inches wide. Boyd really wanted a 30-incher and was a little depressed about it all. But after realizing it was one of the best typicals in all of Idaho, he probably got over it.
19. Robert V. Parke
Score: 211 6/8
20. Mark A. Reeb
Score: 211 3/8
1. Ed Broder
Score: 355 2/8
This world record produced one heck of a hunt and got one 75-year-old man thrown in jail. Fall of 1926 found Edmund Broder and two hunting buddies heading to hunting camp in a 1914 Model T and a 1924 McLaughlin touring car west of Edmonton, Alberta.
Once the road dissolved, they hired a horse and sleigh to get them south of Chip Lake. Ed left camp around 1 p.m. and followed some deer tracks. Then he cut moose tracks, but decided to stay the course on his deer. He came to a clearing where he saw two deer, trained his 32 Winchester Special on the larger buck’s spine and dropped him. “What a rack that one’s got,” he wrote in a letter recounting the hunt. But that rack may have been cursed.
When Ed died in 1968 he left no will. With numerous children to his name, who would get the Model T, chaps, saddle and the monster buck? The buck stayed on the wall of the family home until 1973 when Don Broder, one of Ed’s sons, took it to a sportsman’s show and then mounted it in his own home. In 1997, the other siblings filed suit, wanting the head returned.
Don refused to reveal its whereabouts and spent six days in jail for contempt. Appearing back in court, Don admitted to selling the head to a collector on eBay for $170,000. In the end, the earnings were split between all siblings. Don’s portion went to pay for his contempt of court fine.
Score: 339 2/8
Date: Prior to 1892
Location: British Columbia
You might think that after after being dead for 120 years, the origins of a mighty fine set of antlers would fade over time. Not so for this buck, which is reported to have been given as a gift prior to 1892 by an Indian hunter to Sir Edgar Dewdney, then lieutenant governor of British Columbia.
The legend has it that this buck was taken with stick and string in the Okanagan Valley, but it’s all speculation. Dewdney was so impressed with the rack that he shipped it to Vienna Austria in 1910 as part of a big game exhibition. Despite being screwed to a wooden shield and held together by the original hide, the rack made it back in one piece.
In 1993, the family sold the rack. In 1995, it went to the Boone & Crockett judges panel for scoring, but there was one minor, but significant problem. The skull was cracked, which could disqualify the rack. But the judges took x-rays and determined the rack was in good enough shape to qualify. With 24 points on the right side and 23 on the left, only a sadist would enjoy scoring this beast.
3. Alton Hunsaker
Score: 330 1/8
Taken in Box Elder County, Utah this giant of a muley made the rounds of the western United States. It was displayed in bars, visitor centers, museums…and then finally scored and recorded in the Boone and Crockett record books where it’s stood the test of time as the third-largest mule deer ever recorded.
4. Clifton Fauria
Score: 325 6/8
Just take a minute and stare at it. Think about what might go through your mind if you saw this thing through your scope. With 22 points on one side and 24 on the other, this deer weighed 300 pounds when Clifton Fauria shot him in the Stoneburger Basin of Nye County, Nevada.
After Clifton died in 1956, the antlers hung in his garage, then an uncle displayed them in his California restaurant for six years. After the restaurant closed, the antlers went back to the garage until they were placed in an Oregon storage unit for eight years until the head and the .270 was given to Clifton’s son.
In 1991, he moved the head to a business owned by a connoisseur of racks, who contacted an artist, who contacted a Boone and Crockett measurer who then taped it out as the largest Nevada buck ever.
5. William Murphy
Score: 324 1/8
6. Albert Peterson
Score: 321 1/8
The current Oregon Stake record, this buck was taken in Umatilla County in 1925.
7. Grover Browning
Score: 320 4/8
8. Harold Laird
Score: 319 4/8
9. Vernor Wilson
Score: 311 6/8
Score: 307 6/8
11. Lloyd Pyle
Score: 306 7/8
12. Kyle Lopez
Score: 306 3/8
Kyle Lopez was 14 when he took this giant mule deer in Colorado’s Pike National Forest. That’s right, this is a public land buck.
Lopez took the buck while hunting with his dad (who was also his offensive line coach) after getting permission to miss football practice that day after school. The result was a pretty tough workout hauling out one of the biggest mule deer ever taken by a hunter.
13. Steve Herndon
Score: 306 2/8
Sometimes a hunt is over as soon as it begins–such is the case with this fine buck taken on a ranch near Norwood. According to a letter in Boone and Crockett records, Steve Herndon was a rancher, and as ranchers are apt to do, he rose early one morning before the sun.
As the dawn started to light up a stack of his alfalfa, Herndon noticed a mule deer feasting away. He grabbed his .30-30 from behind the kitchen door (where else would you keep a .30-30?) and he shot it. End of hunt. The head hung on a fence near the barn for a year until Herndon was telling the local barkeep about his unusual score.
Sensing a marketing scheme, the barkeep got Herndon to bring in the antlers to show off in his window and hopefully attract thirsty hunters. He did and a patron saw the antlers and purchased them around 1965.
14. Joseph A. Garcia
Score: 306 2/8
Location: New Mexico
15. Artie McGram
Score: 305 6/8
You’re never going to shoot a big buck if you always shoot the first buck you see. Passing on a buck is always a gamble, but sometimes the strategy pays off. It paid off in spades for Artie McGram in 1987.
On a hot and dry early October day, Artie was about to call it a day and head to the truck when he heard some rustling just below him. Thinking it was simply a squirrel, he ignored it and watched a few deer on the hillside. Then the squirrels sounded a little bigger so he picked up his rifle. Out of the brush popped a small 3-point. He let him walk, but thought to himself that buck may be his last shot at filling the freezer that season.
He was watching the deer on the hillside when he heard yet more rustling from below in the brush. Then the buck of his dreams appeared and Artie wasn’t going to let this one walk. One shot and the buck was gone. No blood. He was crushed, but he finally picked up the trail. Then he saw “the biggest thing I could ever imagine,” he wrote.
16. Babe Hansen
Score: 305 3/8
17. Andrew Daum
Score: 304 5/8
18. James Austill
Score: 303 6/8
Even back in the 1960s, Colorado’s hills were crawling with hunters–and more than a few trophy bucks. James Austill and five hunting buddies hunted around Minturn.
In 1965, they all decided to take nothing but trophy bucks that season. Packing themselves into a Jeep, the six hunters bounced to 10,000 feet in mid-November. The first day of hunting produced five punched tags, but none for Austill. The second day had Austill back on the ridge tops where he could hear other hunters shouting to one another. He spotted a giant buck bedded in the trees and put the sneak on him before anyone else spotted it.
The hunters spooked the buck just in time for Austill to shoot him with an 80-yard shot. The buck had only four well-worn teeth in his jaw and may have likely starved that coming winter. The hunters packed up camp after three days with nine deer to their credit and one very cozy ride back home.
19. Louis H. Huntington, Jr.
Score: 302 4/8
20. Darwin Hulett
Rejected––The New World record?
When this non-typical taped out at more than 407 whopping points, something just didn’t sit right. The skull was awfully small for suck a massive rack. The antlers had been shellacked.
An unidentified someone had picked it up and dropped off the rack at Wholesale Sports in Canada. Naturally, the folks at Boone and Crockett wrote a prescription for some x-rays and the truth set the rack free. With some putty and more than a few screws, someone with a screw loose themself created a nice hunting cabin conversation piece.
It would have been funnier if they didn’t try to pawn it off as the new world record.