Is This the New Texas State Record Mule Deer?

Records & Rarities
Is This the New Texas State Record Mule Deer?

A few weeks ago, we told you about the potential new world record whitetail killed by a teen in Oklahoma. Now, it’s rumored another record was broken by their neighbors to the south.

Greg Simons of San Angelo, Texas, shot a mule deer last week that seems likely to break the Texas non-typical record. Simons has been following the deer on his free-range ranch since it was a 3.5-year-old, electing to pass on the buck multiple times.

“With the traits that he had at that young of an age, I could only assume that he had the potential to become something incredible,” Simons said. “I’ve seen deer that you think will make a tremendous leap, but then just fall off and never grow into their potential.”

This deer didn’t disappoint, though. Simons estimated that the buck was 180 inches at 3.5 years old, 215 inches at 4.5, and 235 inches at 5.5. This fall, at 6.5 years old, the buck made its biggest leap yet.

texas state record mule deer
The buck became a regular on trail camera in 2019.

“The buck’s number of points and mass are so impressive,” Simons said. “His tines just look like cigars. But what puts this deer in another class is how his main beams turn out and drop down.”

Simons has killed three other deer that grossed over 200 inches, but this was by far the largest muley he’s ever hunted. To get close to this unconventional deer, Simons had to use unconventional tactics.

Via recent trail camera images, Simons knew the buck liked to bed in a flat area that’s rife with brush and cactus. Visibility is limited so Simons had to get elevated for a better view, which he accomplished by sitting on a 12-foot step ladder in the bed of his pickup. After spotting the buck 350 yards from his perch, he moved in for a shot.

“I climbed out of the ladder and hauled butt towards him,” Simons said. “I started glassing the Spanish dagger where I saw him last, and then I spotted his antlers. He had me pegged, but I think all he could see was my hat. Curiosity eventually got the best of him, though.”

texas record deer
Simons got most of his pictures of the deer at a water trough.

When the buck abandoned its cover to get a better look and smell, Simons took his shot, ending the four-year journey with this deer at just 50 yards.

The buck has 27 (possibly 28) points. Simons ran the tape multiple times and thinks the antlers will gross around 292 inches and net around 289 inches. The current state record is a velvet muley that scored 288 gross and 283 net.

While Simons is confident that his buck will top the 16-year-old record, he admitted that the antlers require some “interpretive scoring.” The palmation makes it difficult to determine where tines originate, and two webbed points off the main beam might not be considered distinct enough. There’s also a question as to where the spread will be measured, which could lead to a 5-inch swing.

texas deer record
The buck’s palmation makes it difficult to predict what an official scorer will come up with.

Simons said he’s been conservative with his numbers, though, and thinks there’s potential his deer will score even higher than what he’s calculating. Time will tell once an official scorer gets ahold of the buck after the 60-day drying period.

Simons noted he’s a big fan of MeatEater. While this buck means a lot of things to him and his ranch, it also represents a source of meat that he deeply appreciates.

“I’ve been following Steve and MeatEater for a long time, and I’ve already turned the venison into some special dishes,” Simons said. “The first meal I made was a steak Diane: grilled tenderloins with a red wine and mushroom reduction, served with a baked potato and grilled asparagus.”

The tenderloins were the first thing Simons cooked after the hunt.

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