Jim Muehlbach’s son Jake killed a 130-inch bruiser on the opening day of archery season in central North Carolina, and on the day before gun season opened, it was the dad’s turn to take down an even larger, 153-inch archery buck that will become the highest scoring deer either of them have ever taken off their Chatham County property.

“It’s the second year we had this deer on camera, but he was completely a ghost last year and this year too,” Jake Muehlbach said. “He was traveling with a big, heavy-horned 9-point that dad shot on Oct. 1.”

They looked all over the woods for the big 9-point buck after the blood trail ended and unfortunately, they never recovered the deer. They were disappointed, especially when the big 12 vanished from their trail camera photos. 

“We looked for the 9-point several days all over our farm and I believe we ran the 12-point off in all of the commotion,” Jake Muehlbach said. 

Then on Oct. 23, the 12-pointer showed back up on camera in his usual places after being missing for over three weeks. Jim Muehlbach made it his goal to get this deer in his sights no matter how many days and hours it would take. He was still devastated over losing the 9-pointer, and was ready to redeem himself. 

Jim Muehlbach sat on the deer every chance he got with no luck. They began to worry since the opening day of gun season would soon arrive, and if anyone on neighboring properties saw this deer during gun season, they would surely crack a shot at him.  

Then, on Nov. 10, the day before gun season, the two were replacing the roof on Jim’s shop and quit just in time to get in the stand. Jim wanted to finish the roof project, but his son had other ideas for him. That morning, Jake hunted nearby and saw bucks chasing does all morning long. The rut was in full swing.

“I felt like if he was going to slip up and make an appearance in the daylight, today would be a great time to go,” Jake Muehlbach said. “I had been pressuring my dad all day for him to go after that deer.” 

His father finally caved and shortly before 4 p.m., Jim climbed into the stand overlooking an oak ridge. Almost immediately, the buck showed up cruising out of a thicket with his nose to the ground at 40 yards. Muehlbach bleated a few times to get the deer to stop. Once it paused, he fired his Rage Hypodermic-tipped bolt right in the sweet spot. The deer ran out of sight.  

“My dad texted me and told me he shot him. But, he was pretty quiet about it until we found him. When we shined the flashlight up there, we could see his rack up against the tree. It was an impressive sight,” Jake Muehlbach said. 

It was a perfect double lung shot and they found the deer 50 yards away. 

“He was happy to get that deer. He is the biggest buck to ever come off our property,” Jake Muehlbach said.