Jack Rosander has done something that not many Montana Mule Deer hunters have done in quite a while, he's put a big non-typical Mule Deer in the Boone & Crocket Club Record Books, and he did it with a Muzzleloader!
Rosander took the big Mulie last year in Eastern Montana at the outskirts of a town called Colstrip.
Rosander recounts the hunt to Outdoor Writer Brett French in an article in the Billings Gazette. Here's an excert from that article.
I'd seen this deer for three years, and a lot of people around Colstrip had seen him. There's a photo of him standing two doors east of my house inside a chain-link fence eating crab apples in a snowstorm.
The buck had been seen with about 30 other deer last hunting season, Rosander said, but it never came into a legal hunting area, opting instead to stay on reclamation land that wasn't open.
But on Nov. 5, Rosander's luck changed - at first it seemed for the worse.
After reserving the day to hunt, he bumped into his friend and co-worker Joe Novasio on the way into the area and asked him to go along.
"Joe's a nonhunter, but he likes to look at deer," Rosander said.
Rosander could see from scouting the reclamation area's deer that the bruiser buck was nowhere to be seen.
"So we went snooping around and found him and a doe," Rosander said.
Rosander was packing his Thompson/Center .54-caliber Hawken cap lock rifle with iron sights. When he spotted the buck, he used a rangefinder that put the deer at 133 yards distant.
"He was just out in the open" intent on breeding the doe, Rosander said. "I knew I couldn't get any closer."
He turned to Novasio, asking what he should do. "Shoot!" Novasio advised him.
Taking aim from a kneeling position, Rosander's seemingly good luck took a turn for the worse when he pulled the trigger and the gun misfired. The pop of the cap going off, which is supposed to ignite the black powder in the chamber, sounded like a .22 rifle being fired.
"It got his attention," Rosander said.
Working quickly, he recapped the rifle and took aim at the deer, which by now was walking away from him at an angle. Rosander squeezed the trigger again. This time the shot rang out and the deer took off.
Rosander knew he'd hit the deer.
"I was just sick that I'd crippled a deer that big," he said.
He'd passed up a shot on the same deer two years earlier in the last hour of the last day of the season.
"He came by me right in the wide open," Rosander recalled. "He had two does with him. But it was 200-plus yards, and they were wild."
Back then, he didn't risk a shot with the iron-sighted Hawken, fearing he'd miss or wound the buck. The next year, the area wasn't opened to hunting.
After pulling the trigger and watching the buck run off, Rosander sat and went over the possibilities with Novasio. Then they decided to split up in search of the deer. It wasn't long before Novasio came running up, saying he'd found the buck. About an hour had elapsed.
"The deer had not gone far from where I initially shot him," Rosander said. "He laid down right in some small pine trees."
Rosander crawled up a hill to make sure it was the same buck he'd shot.
"I couldn't see his horns very well," he said. "What gave it away was his hurt leg was laying out so I knew it was him."
Turns out, his initial shot had hit the deer high on the left front leg.
From 80 yards, Rosander drew a bead and shot again, this time dispatching the deer.
The buck turned out to be 7½ years old. Although big-bodied, Rosander never got a weight on the bruiser buck. When scored, the deer had 11 points on one side of its rack and 13 on the other. His main beams measured 27 inches, and the outside measurement was 32 inches, Rosander said.
You have to follow the link above and get a good look at this record book Montana Mule Deer, he's hoss for sure!
How many hunters do you imagine passed up that area and drove hundreds of miles to hunt Mule Deer? Quite a few I imagine!
It just goes to show you that sometimes the best trophy deer hunting is under your nose!
Congratulations to Jack for an awesome Montana Mule Deer. I also agree with the Rosander when he said that buck should sire some other good bucks in that area in years to come. I imagine Mr. Rosander will have some company on that property from here on out.
Now which way do I turn at Wyoming to get to Colstrip? If you would prefer a guide or outfitter who is familiar with the area, check out Montana Hunting Guides and Outfitters site for some professional hunting guides in Montana.