THE "BROWNING BUCK." For over half a century Browning's headquarters has been situated just a few miles out of Morgan, Utah. Before that we were down the canyon in Ogden, Utah. Morgan County is primarily a rural area. And we like it that way.
(A) This mule deer (the Browning Buck) has been wintering near the Browning offices for several years. We have photos going back to 2010 and each year after. You can see the progression of his antlers over time. He just dropped his current set a month or so ago as you can see in the photo taken on February 28.
Although there are houses and a county airstrip to the south of our buildings, we border a large rural, mostly undeveloped area to the north that eventually moves up into the Wasatch mountains on the west and east. To the northwest is the famous Snow Basin ski resort. To the east and north is open open hilly country that works its way up to mountains where some of the top mule deer hunting in the world takes place. Our long distance rifle range and our shotgun shooting areas all point at the unpopulated country.
Since we are up in the mountains we have our share of wild game that, from time to time, calls the Browning property home. Right now we can see large flocks of turkeys (Rios) almost every day, working the hill above the 300 yard target berm. Up the hill from the range is a large pond that ducks and geese use as a staging area each fall. And, in the winter it is not uncommon for several dozen mule deer to move into the sagebrush flats behind the offices. That's what this story is all about.
When the deer are in close around the buildings we keep a careful eye on them. Mostly because -- just like you -- we love to watch deer. In the winter they like to eat the shrubs and trees and we are okay with that.
Over the past few years our Browning Webmaster has been keeping a close eye on a certain buck -- we now call the "Browning Buck" --that has been returning each year since he was a, well, young buck. The photos show the progression of his antlers from 2010 until last fall (photo "A"). Each year we have hoped to find his sheds. This year one employee's family got lucky . . . after a bit of trap shooting at our company range they found the 2012 sheds a few hours after he dropped them, and, in the process, they found a single right antler from two years earlier found half buried nearby (see photo "F" below).
Download the "Browning Buck" featured as the April 2013 computer wallpaper.
For us, the interesting part is just watching him change from year to year. If you look closely you'll realize that he really doesn't score all that high compared to a trophy deer in Utah, and he hasn't really increased in antler size very much since the first year we saw him. But watching him each year and watching as the antlers have become more interesting -- with a few cheaters here and there -- has made it really fun.
Hunting for shed antlers is a popular spring activity out here in the west. Most shed hunters are looking for large elk sheds, but it is just as much fun when you find a mule deer shed from a deer you have seen wearing them. Most states regulate the collecting to some extent, so check before you pick one up. In Utah, during the early shed collecting season you will need to get a certificate earned after taking an online course on shed gathering rules.
(B) In December of 2010 this very tall 2x3 Mule Deer with two cheaters on his left G2 showed up at Browning.
(C) The "Browning Buck" was back in 2011 now sporting a 3x3 frame with two cheaters on both G2s however the lower cheater on his left side had been broken off.
(D) In November of 2012 the "Browning Buck" showed up hot on the trail of any does he could find. This year he had lost a little mass in his antlers and now sported three cheaters on the right G2, with one being branched and one cheater on the left G2. He later broke off the middle cheater on his right side. Notice the rifle range warning signs in the background.
(E) Shortly after he shed his antlers in February of 2013 he is seen showing a little attitude with another buck in front of the skeet high house.
(F) Here's the same mule deer we have been watching, along with his dropped antlers from 2012. He dropped them about a month ago. The upper right shows a comparison between his single right side dropped antler from 2010 with the right side found last month. You can see that he picked up some cheaters. Very cool.
The video below was taken this winter of our "Browning Buck."
Copyright Browning, 2013. A special thanks to our Webmaster for all the photos taken diligently since 2010 and to our Customer Service Department Manager's family for locating the dropped antlers.
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