In September of 2010, Maryland bowhunter Luke Muldoon shot a double drop-tine monster that we had on the blog. Last November Luke killed this giant, which is another incredible achievement but, as I see it, the second best part of the story. Here’s the best part. Luke followed this buck around for 5 years, documenting the deer’s growth and maturity with a hand camera and trail cams as he scouted and hunted. Fascinating! A tremendous effort and great hunting, way to go man.
The buck first came around in late November of 2008. He was easy to differentiate from other deer because of the white circles around his eyes. That first year I saw him, I thought he was a 1.5 year old; he had a small, basket rack. I saw him pretty often, but didn’t think much of it.
The next year, I saw the deer in the summer and throughout the 2009-10 hunting season. That December I began bringing a camera with me when I scouted and hunted. I managed to get the first pictures of this buck (sorry for quality, these were transferred from my old CPU). Notice the buck’s white eye circles.
In spring of 2010, I looked for this deer’s sheds. I saw him, but didn’t find his antlers. That spring and summer, I focused on following the double-drop I shot that September. I put this buck in the back of my mind, and did see him a couple times. He was highly visible that year. I passed him several times and got some great pictures.
More pictures revealed that he broke his brow tine during the November 2010 rut.
I managed to find the buck’s right antler in spring 2011.
During the spring and summer of 2011, I was definitely focusing a lot of attention on this buck. I would see him somewhat regularly, but I was surprised how much more reclusive he had become. I particularly noticed his isolated habits while observing his wariness to the trail camera and his annoyance to human intrusion. Here is his trail camera picture in September.
During the November 2011 rut, I saw the buck cruising several times but never took a shot. I had grown pretty attached to this deer. I also picked up a decent amount of trail camera pictures.
In January of 2012 the buck began frequenting an area of re-forestation with a group of other bucks. I let him walk a few times since I had already shot a 160” 10-point that I was after. I didn’t want to kill 2 bucks of that size in the same year, since deer that big are extremely rare in this region. The only way I could effectively hunt the deer and get him in range was from makeshift ground blinds. I did manage to get some good pictures of him though.
I continued to do similar set-ups (without the bow) after the season so I could see when he shed. After he shed out, I did an all-day walk and ended up picking up his sheds late in the afternoon. I also found his other side from the year prior. He scored about 175 (assuming a 20 inch spread).
Last year, I managed to get some pictures of the buck in late May. I saw him several other times, but never could manage to get field pictures. He either came out too late or too far, and I didn’t want to impede or pressure him too much.
I decided to set up a camera pretty tight to where he was coming out to eat, and managed only one picture initially. He had a beam-like piece of antler growing down his neck with all kind of points on it (a “back scratcher”), some junk on the bases, good brows and mass…he was just starting to put on tine length.
Later on in the summer, the buck offered up a couple more pictures. He was now noticeably an older deer who had made an incredible transformation. At first glimpse, it even appeared that his frame could have shrunk from the year prior.
After not hunting enough due to a new job and other obligations, I picked the buck up on a camera in early October. Out of velvet now, it was apparent he had quite a bit going on up top, and some sweet trash around his left base.
One day in November while approaching a camera to switch cards, I saw the buck tending a hot doe at around 2 p.m. I decided that the next morning I would set up downwind of the thicket he had her holed up in.
He came in behind the doe, although he definitely did not want to. The wind was perfect, but the buck still hesitated, even though he had a hot doe with him. She persisted on heading out of the thicket, and he reluctantly followed. That was the last mistake he ever made.
It’s been awesome watching him grow. He has 21 points on his 9-point frame, and he was without doubt the king of the woods for the past two years. His 161 5/8” frame plus 33 0/8” of trash make for a gross-score of 194 5/8.–Luke