Jeremy Toman knew he was looking at one special buck when he checked his trail cameras last fall. “My first look at him was a night pic, which can throw you off pretty easily, but I figured this buck would go 230 inches, maybe 240 pretty easily,” he told F&S. In fact, the camera was fooling him a little, but in a good way. Toman, the owner of Toman’s Outdoor Adventures, would later guide a client to the giant buck, which ended up threatening the top spot for the best nontypical mule deer in the B&C record books from Mexico.

Toman was guiding South Dakota hunter Terry Ernst in mid-January when they encountered the buck. “This is a 15,000-acre ranch and we only run four feeders on it,” Toman said. “But one of those feeders was the only place that buck had shown up on camera. So we kept checking that area as we hunted but had zero luck finding the buck. Finally, we just started covering ground, looking for a good deer. January is typically peak rut there, so I figured if we were patient, our chances of finding Terry a buck were pretty good.”

Finally, the pair spotted what looked like a fantastic muley chasing a doe. “When I got the glasses on him, I knew which deer it was and told Terry to shoot when he could,” Toman said. “There wasn’t much drama to it. One minute we had a great buck chasing a doe in front of us, and a couple minutes later we were standing over one giant deer.”

hunter with big mule deer
Another look at Ernst’s tremendous muley. Jeremy Toman

Giant indeed. Ernst’s Sonoran mulie sported 18 scorable points and 50 inches of mass measurements. “He had a back drop-tine that was 11 inches long, as well as a 7¾-inch drop at the base,” Toman said. “He ended up netting 250-⅞.” That score should cement the giant as the new No. 2 B&C nontypical muley taken in Mexico—only a couple inches shy of the 252 4/8-inch monster taken by Frederick Decker, also in Sonora, back in 1997, which still ranks as No. 1.