A rare 17-point deer has been reported killed in Holmdel Township. Awed game hunters have dubbed it "The Holmdel Monster."
According to the state DEP Division of Game and Wildlife, the deer was legally harvested on Oct. 15 on private land in Holmdel (Zone 50) with a crossbow. It possessed non-typical antlers, which means the antlers were not symmetrical. State regulations require hunters to report their kills to the state.
"Congratulations to the hunter to be able to harvest such a large deer," said Jodi Powers, deer biologist for the Central Region for the Division of Fish and Wildlife. "They are out there and Monmouth County does have good deer habitat and open spaces to feed the deer. I’m anxious to see it," she said. The Division refused to disclose the hunter's name from the report, citing the hunter has expectation of privacy.
News of the kill was posted on NewJerseyHunter.com's forum on Oct. 17, with a photo of the hunter standing next to his deer laying in a cart, outside World Class Taxidermy in Howell. The hunter's face is blacked out in the photo.
The person who posted it, a site member called "Doelicious," wrote: "He's a beaut, story goes something like the guy has only been hunting a few years, hunts a small piece of property in Holmdel, found the sheds last year, and saw the buck pre season so he knew he was around still. Rattled him in on Saturday and laid the smack down on him."
Over the following two weeks the board lit up with admirers and some cynics. "Holy smokes!! Whopper!!" said a member called "Buckoff."
"Thats one amazing kill and a big big BIG boy at that," wrote "basskid247."
"Wow! Who knew?!? Ive seen some big deer around there but that is crazy," said "bigwuhead."
Taxidermist Chris Errickson said the deer was brought into his deer processing facility by his customer, whom he declined to identify.
Errickson said he figured the deer was about five and a half years old. He scored the rack, using a method for measuring key antler parameters, at 204 gross. After deductions for its abnormalities, the net score is 197.
"I met the kid," the taxidermist said. "What was really unique is that this is young guy who just started hunting. I listened to way he did everything. He talked like a guy who's been doing it his whole life. He really was very careful. He knew the deer was there. He watched the wind direction. He did everything right and all worked out. Everybody is really impressed."
The hunter was sent home with the rack and venison meat. In mid-December, when the hide is tanned, the hunter will return with the rack for the display mount. " I wouldn't even keep the horns here in my shop. I’d be afraid someone would steal them," he said. "That deer was so unique and special. It's definitely the deer of ten lifetimes for this hunter," he said