One of the largest typical mule deer ever is finally getting the recognition it deserves after the Pope and Young Club finally entered Bowdy Gardner’s awesome Utah mule deer officially into the record books. The big buck was harvested back in 2012, but has been ineligible for the record books. That’s because Pope and Young previously did not allow animals harvested while still in velvet into the books. However, the club changed their policies for velvet trophies in 2021, creating a separate category for these early season harvests.
As a result, P&Y convened several judges for a panel scoring on May 14 in Ogden, Utah, where the Gardner buck’s score of 218 2/8 inches was officially upheld. This makes the Gardner buck not only the largest typical velvet mule deer ever, but the largest typical mule deer ever taken with archery equipment in North America. The Gardner buck is nearly nine inches larger than the previous record, Bradley Hunter’s 209 1/8-inch monster that was taken in Mohave County, Arizona in 2010.
In a blog post on the Pope and Young website, the club’s Records Chairman, Roy Grace, noted how this honor for the Gardner buck was a long time coming.
“This is a tremendous mule deer that has been awaiting this moment since it was taken in Kane County, Utah in 2012. When Pope and Young changed their stance in 2021 and allowed velvet antlered animals to be eligible for world record status within their own respective categories, we were finally able to authenticate this buck,” Grace said. “It also demonstrates how sportsmen’s dollars, coupled with oversight from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, can properly manage these incredible animals and provide opportunities for sportsmen to pursue them.”
The Gardner buck was first measured by P&Y officials and entered in the club’s 28th recording period back in 2011. However, due to the rules about velvet antlered animals, it wasn’t eligible for the record until now. P&Y requires a panel scoring of all world record class animals before they are officially certified as the record.
It will be interesting to see what deer previously ineligible for entry are now brought before P&Y panels, as several categories, such as the whitetail typical world record, are unfilled in the velvet category right now.
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READ MORE: NEW WORLD RECORD VELVET SITKA BLACKTAIL DEER HARVESTED BY CHUCK ADAMS CONFIRMED BY POPE AND YOUNG
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