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HomeOutdoorBowhunter Tags a 225-Inch Buck on Vermejo Ranch

Bowhunter Tags a 225-Inch Buck on Vermejo Ranch

Few of us will ever have the ability to hunt Vermejo Park Ranch. The sprawling, full-service visitor ranch owned by media mogul Ted Turner is most positively a high-dollar vacation spot. However in case you’re going to drop the dough to chase mule deer at one of many largest and most luxurious recreation preserves within the West, you would possibly as properly additionally drop the most important buck in ranch historical past.

A minimum of that’s what Austin Musacchio did earlier this month, when he traveled from Dallas-Fort Value to northern New Mexico for a 5-day guided hunt at Vermejo. On the third day of his hunt, he shot an absolute monster of a buck.

The nontypical 12×14 had an enormous 2×3 mainframe with an explosion of antlers coming off it—together with about 6 drop tines that have been as much as 6 inches lengthy. Vermejo’s resident wildlife biologist Lance Bernal gave the buck a gross rating of 225 and three/8 inches. In line with information James Reedy and hunt supervisor Kyle Jackson, who retains information of each animal killed on the ranch, it was the most important mule deer buck taken off the property because it was bought by Ted Turner in 1996.

The Hunt for a Ranch File

Totaling round 560,000 acres, Vermejo Park Ranch is extra like a privately-owned nationwide park than your typical dude ranch. (Truly, it’s extra like two privately-owned parks, for the reason that property is sort of the dimensions of Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain Nationwide Parks mixed.) It’s house to a number of high-end lodges—the most important of which is a turn-of-the-century mansion generally known as “Casa Grande”—and a staggering abundance of wildlife, together with massive herds of elk, bison, deer, and antelope. It’s free-range looking (not excessive fenced) however the expansive privately owned and thoroughly managed panorama permits critters to develop outdated and large.

vermejo park muley buck 2
Musacchio arrowed the buck round 7:45 within the morning on Sept. 8. Austin Musacchio

Musacchio has made a handful of journeys as much as the sportsman’s paradise alongside together with his household, who’ve their very own connection to Vermejo because the homeowners of Cinnamon Creek Ranch. One of many largest wild recreation processing amenities within the nation, it’s the final word vacation spot of a lot of the big-game animals which might be harvested at Vermejo.  

“The previous three years I’ve hunted for mule deer up there,” Musacchio says. “I did a administration hunt the final two years with out killing one, however I noticed trophies throughout each of these hunts. So I figured, man, I would as properly save up and are available again so I can attempt to shoot a trophy.”

After attending to Vermejo on Monday, Sept. 5, Musacchio was paired up with long-time information James Reedy. They break up their time between climbing and driving via their assigned zone over the following couple days, they usually noticed loads of good deer however no shooters.

“Thursday morning got here round and we determined to go as much as the north ridge in Spring Canyon,” Musacchio says. “Reedy had killed lots of good bucks on this ridge, so we drove up there from the lodge.”

Musacchio explains that since Vermejo has greater than 900 pure fuel wells, there’s a system of properly roads on the ranch which might be large enough for full-sized vans. This allowed them to cowl far more floor than they might on foot, and it meant that Musacchio may convey his fiancé alongside within the car.

Driving within the early morning gentle, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Reedy stopped and pointed at a set of antlers that have been skylined up on the ridge.

“We get our binoculars out and James goes, ‘that’s him,’” Musacchio says. “I had by no means seen something prefer it earlier than in my life. He was tremendous tall, good and large, with kickers and a loopy quantity of drop tines. I used to be like holy shit.”

After taking a minute to compose himself, Musacchio requested Reedy if they need to get out and stalk the buck. However his information had a greater concept.

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“[Reedy] advised me in the event that they see us on foot, they’re gonna bolt. However as a result of they see so many vans working these properly roads, it simply would possibly give us a bonus.”

So, they crept up the highway and stored their eyes on the buck. He was in chest-high grass with a number of different deer, and as they received nearer to the group, Reedy advised Musacchio to seize his bow and sneak out the passenger-side door. Scurrying alongside the truck, he stayed shielded from the deer as Reedy drove nearer.

“I walked with him for some time—it felt like eternally,” Musacchio says, “after which I received down to drag my bow again. The deer have been standing 46 yards away within the brush, and when Reedy drove away that they had their eyes on the truck and never me. The buck begins strolling, takes two steps, and I’m at full draw simply side-shuffling so I may get some type of angle on him.”  

Bowhunter Tags a 225-Inch Monster Buck on Vermejo Ranch
The wildlife biologist at Vermejo Park Ranch gave the buck a gross rating of 255 and three/8 inches. Vermejo Park Ranch

When the buck received to about 50-60 yards and was quartering away, Musacchio put his pin proper above the guts and squeezed off the shot. He heard his arrow zip via the grass, after which he heard the tell-tale thump of the broadhead hitting muscle. The arrow hit excessive on the again of the deer’s neck and got here out the entrance, severing its carotid artery. After ready a full 45 minutes, they discovered the buck piled up in some bushes roughly 80 yards away.

“It was the happiest I’ve ever been,” says Musacchio, who was unable to cover his pleasure. “My fiancé was there with us too. We had only in the near past gotten engaged, and she or he walked up and stated, ‘You’re extra enthusiastic about this deer than you might be about being engaged.’

“And I stated, ‘Sure, sure I’m. However I do love ya.’”

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