Kroll is looking forward to fall, when he hopes to get more photos of the buck all muscled up for the rut. Until then, he'll enjoy his front-row view of a first-rate muley.
Mule deer loitering around office parks is not an uncommon sight in Colorado Springs, which nestles at the foot of Pike’s Peak in Colorado’s Front Range. In the 10 years George Kroll has worked as a foreman at J.E. Dunn Construction, he has grown accustomed to seeing bucks grazing amid the sprinklers in early morning or even bedded under pines during the heat of the day. Deer that many hunters would consider bucks of a lifetime have for Kroll and his co-workers been, well, just another day at the office. Until this spring, when a muley with a rack straight out of a science fiction movie showed up and topped them all.
“For us to have 30-inch bucks, it happens every year,” Kroll says. “But this guy, he’s in a class by himself. I’ve hunted my whole life and I’ve killed some big bucks, but looking at him I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’ve never seen any deer with four well-developed main beams, crowned at the top like a red stag, with multiple drop tines, kickers and stickers to boot.”
A huge, club-like drop dangles near the buck’s right eye. “The thing seems to bother him,” Kroll says. “He’ll shake his head and try to get it out of the way.”
Kroll first spotted the buck at the office in April, when early antler growth already tipped him to be a trophy in the making. “He was a monster then, and I figured he was going to be unreal in a couple of months,” Kroll says. “And that’s how it turned out.”
Goliath, as he’s known around the office, has shown up consistently since then, usually in the company of another buck. The two-deer bachelor group seems comfortable bedding down in the shade of the pines near the parking lot–as long as people keep their distance. “It’s not a tame damn deer, I’ll tell you that,” Kroll says. “He won’t tolerate you getting right on top of him outside the office.”
Inside the office is a different story. “When it’s really hot, he likes the coolness and the shade of the mulch right next to the building,” Kroll says. “He’ll lay right outside the window, and when he gets up to turn around he’ll look right in the window at you standing there behind the glass. It’s unbelievable.”
Kroll guesses the buck’s age at 7 years old. “I’ve tried counting points, and best I can say is somewhere between 35 and 40,” he says. “As far as a score, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I’d say 300 easy.”
Justin Spring, assistant director of big game records for the Boone and Crockett Club, was cautious about estimating a score only from photographs. “It could be around that 300-inch mark,” Spring says. “I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a pending world record if it was taken, but it very well could rank very high if it meets all the criteria for entry.” Boone & Crockett does not accept bucks with multiple beams. If the buck does indeed have four main beams growing from four pedicles (instead of two beams that grow from two pedicles but split near the skull) it would be disqualified from the record book. Truly gnarly racks like this buck’s can often be the result of a hormone imbalance caused by underdeveloped sex organs–also grounds for disqualification.
Kroll says the buck certainly looks healthy. “He’s a big bodied deer, but you lose sight of that because you get awed by that rack. Then you see him next to another deer and you realize what a tank he is.”
Talk of trophy potential may be moot unless the buck starts to roam: The area is solidly suburban, according to Kroll, surrounded for miles by condos, homes and stores with no legal hunting areas nearby. And the office where he likes to hang out is across the street from a police station–enough, one hopes, to dissuade poachers.
Kroll is looking forward to fall, when he hopes to get more photos of the buck all muscled up for the rut. Until then, he’ll enjoy his front-row view of a first-rate muley.