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December 31: Ashley Mueller

Highbrow Taps Out!!!

Brutal cold weather in December is some of the toughest hunting conditions any hunter can endure during the entire season. But throw a TC muzzleloader into the equation along with a reliable food source and it can be some of the most exciting hunts of the year. This year it was those conditions to the extreme and my girlfriend Ashley was going to be on the business end of my TC hoping to get her first buck ever. She had her sights set high and we were going to target two bucks on her hunt, Mr. Chocolate and Highbrow. If the wind was out of the south we were going to hunt Mr. Chocolate and when it switched to the north we were going to hunt a corn field on the south end of some timber Highbrow calls home.

The first evening we had a southeast wind and hunted a bean field but only seen a ton of does and a couple of 2 year olds. Day 2 presented the same wind so we went to a different box stand and again just seen a lot of does but did have a good encounter with a 4 year old buck we call Santa Claus. Day 3 was New Year’s Eve and we got the north wind we wanted along with the coldest weather of the year! We decided the heater was going to the box stand with us tonight and maybe it would keep us thawed out in the sub zero weather we would be sitting in. Ashley wasn’t thrilled with the temperature but I told her if Highbrow was ever going to move, it would be in the next couple of nights.

Highbrow is a 9.5 year old monarch who has as much history on our farm as any buck ever. We have the last 4 years of sheds from him and every year he kept those super tall, bladed brow tines. Ashley was hoping to kill Highbrow, I was just hoping to be lucky enough to see him. We have tons of Reconyx photos from him but I had only seen him once ever and knew if he showed up before dark it would be a miracle. The evening started off better than the last two, we seen a couple 3 year olds early and several more yearling bucks, the deer were pouring out of the timber. At sunset I seen a deer coming thru the timber making its way to the field, it was Highbrow! I could not believe my eyes but didn’t make a big deal out of it because I didn’t want Ashley getting too nervous. He stepped out into the edge of the field and just sat there staring for about 5 minutes. He then started walking right towards us, all the way to within 50 yards but faced us eating for what seemed like an eternity. He finally turned broadside and Ashley made a perfect shot, he ran about 75 yards and was done. I was so proud of her, she held it together, made a perfect shot and never complained about the cold. Three straight days of hunting in brutal weather isn’t much to most of us but Ashley had never hunted 3 days in a row in her life. Team Sylvia had its first girl on the board and it was Ashley’s first buck ever and if not for a broke g3 he would have been over 180”, she has set the bar high! An old giant is down for the count and Thank the Lord for weather that gets the oldest of deer on their feet in daylight!