It took Bowdy Gardner’s buck nearly a decade to officially make it to the top, but the tremendous velvet mule deer he arrowed in 2012 is now an official world record, as announced by the Pope & Young (P&Y) Club today. The buck was scored by a special panel of five P&Y measurers assembled at the Inter Mountain Bowhunter’s Bash held in Ogden, Utah, earlier this week. That panel verified the buck’s original score of 212-2/8 inches and declared the incredible deer the new No. 1 archery muley in the typical velvet category.
Gardner was hunting with Color Country Outfitters in Kane County, Utah, when he shot the towering 5X5. After the mandatory 60-day drying period, the buck vaulted to the top of the typical velvet category, topping an Arizona buck shot by Bradley Hunter in 2010 by three inches.
At that time, however, though P&Y did keep records of velvet deer, the club did not recognize the leaders of those categories as official world records. But that all changed in 2021, when P&Y changed its stance, which led to the special panel scoring session and today’s long-awaited announcement. “This is a tremendous mule deer that has been awaiting this moment since it was taken,” said P&Y Records Chairman Roy Grace in a press release. “We were finally able to authenticate this buck.”