Episode 2: The Deer

The story of the biggest whitetail buck ever taken by a hunter.
silhouette of a buck trophy against a sunset
"Respect the Game: The Story of the World Record Buck", Sponsored by Polaris Heartland Bowhunter

Luke Brewster got lucky when the world-record buck walked into bow range last fall. But making a perfect bow shot on the largest whitetail to ever be taken by a hunter? That was all skill and preparation.

In 2014, a spindly young 10-point started showing up on trail cameras run by Justin Cearlock (Brewster’s buddy and hunting mentor). When the buck showed up on camera the following year, he looked similar. But when the buck reappeared in 2016, he had earned the status of a mature deer, and a nickname: Mufasa.

Brewster and the rest of the crew would have happily tagged Mufasa that year, but no one saw the deer on the hoof. In 2017, Mufasa returned for the fourth year running with several abnormal points jutting off his left main beam. That made him instantly recognizable when Cearlock spotted him approaching his stand that fall. Cearlock had a shot opportunity on Mufasa, but hit an unseen branch, causing a heartbreaking miss.

The following season, Mufasa wasn’t showing up on trail camera, and the guys worried that he had finally been killed by another hunter, or hit by a car, or simply disappeared. So when Justin pulled trail camera cards in late October, he was astonished to see the freakish non-typical that appeared on his screen. A few days later, Brewster found himself staring down the deer from his tree stand.

This is the second chapter of their story, and it focuses on the biggest whitetail buck ever taken by a hunter—and the incredible amount of respect Brewster and his buddies have for the deer they hunt. The crew has teamed up with Polaris RANGER to help share the story of Mufasa, and how other hunters can implement habitat projects and strategies to improve their own deer seasons.

Brewster’s success can be traced to plenty of sources. Some are obvious. Brewster practiced shooting his bow often, releasing arrow after arrow until he knew he could make a clean shot under pressure. The best way to respect the animals we hunt is to make a well-placed, ethical shot, and Brewster did just that when it mattered most.

Meanwhile, Justin and their other buddies worked hard to maintain food plots and create habitat that would entice Mufasa to return to their farm, year after year. That’s why we’re highlighting small-scale projects that can have a big impact on your hunting property, including timber-stand improvements, tips for planting clover and strategies for using exclusion cages to monitor deer activity.

Stay tuned for the third chapter of Respect the Game, which will move beyond the habitat that grew the world-record deer, and the buck itself, to look at the story of the friends and traditions that brought the hunt together.

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