Oklahoma’s whitetail bucks have been turning a lot of heads lately, and rightly so. It seems we are becoming accustomed to hunters bagging record-sized bucks every year in our state. Due to selective harvest by hunters and increased feeding of minerals by landowners, the state’s bucks are growing larger antlers and big-buck chasers are reaping the rewards.
Following is a rundown of some of the best bucks taken last season. Naturally, the list can not be exhaustive, but we’ve tried to include bucks from all over the state. So read on and perhaps glean some tips from these successful hunters that will help you bag a giant of your own this fall.
WAYNE OSBORN: TEXAS COUNTY GIANT
A busy schedule left Wayne Osborn with few days to scout his hunting spot in Texas County — 7,200 acres featuring a dry riverbed, deep draws, cottonwood trees and sand plum thickets. Previously, Osborn had seen some 6- to 10-point bucks and one dandy 12-pointer — which he figured to be the dominant buck of the area.
On opening morning of the 2009 gun season, the weather was frosty with a chilling temperature of 16 degrees. Osborn positioned himself in a blind by a pinch point near the river channel, where he could watch deer leave the wheat field in route to their nearby bedding areas.
As light broke, deer started moving and soon does and small bucks were walking by Wayne’s location. At 8:30, Osborn noticed a deer stand up 150 yards away. The deer was a buck and looked impressive as he headed towards Osborn.
“I knew the buck was not the 12-pointer I wanted, but I decided he was the one for me,” Osborn said. “When the buck got 50 yards from me, I shot him.”
The big buck dropped in his tracks, and Osborn walked over to claim his trophy. The buck definitely was not the 12-pointer; in fact this buck had 29 points and would later tip the scales at a whopping 240 pounds!
A Boone and Crockett scorer estimated the buck to measure 215 inches, making it one of the biggest non-typicals ever taken from the Oklahoma Panhandle.
AARON VAUGHT: OSAGE COUNTY BOW BUCK
Late last October, Owasso’s Aaron Vaught awoke and debated whether to go hunting. His instincts told him to go, so he headed to his 40-acre lease north of his home. He had been hunting the area for seven years and knew there were some good bucks there.
Just before daylight, Aaron grabbed his bow and headed toward his stand with high hopes. His plan was to arrive earlier than on most days; he knew there were some active bucks in the area.
In the dimness of predawn, Vaught could barely make out two deer shapes heading his way. Closer examination revealed a buck chasing a doe, the doe running in circles with the buck close behind. In a flash, the deer vanished but later returned to feed directly under Aaron’s stand.
The buck was now standing 35 yards away and had heavy, wide antlers. However, the doe was closer and that prevented Vaught from drawing. He figured she would bust him. In an instant, the doe bolted and jumped a barbed-wire fence to feed in a nearby pasture. The buck walked in her direction, crossing parallel to Aaron’s stand. At 20 yards, Vaught grunted to stop the buck before releasing an arrow.
The shot was perfect and the buck traveled only 100 yards before expiring. Vaught waited a few minutes before claiming his trophy. “He was much bigger than I expected,” Vaught said. “I am so glad I got out of bed and came hunting this morning!”
Aaron’s buck is the largest non-typical ever taken in Osage County. The 20-point monster grossed 215 6/8 and netted 207 4/8.
TIM WOOLERY: HOMEGROWN HATRACK
Tim Woolery had hunted deer for 43 years before taking the best buck of his life, and he shot a dandy!
Woolery hunts in Blaine County and feels his spot is pretty good for deer. Last October, his nephew Forrest was bowhunting there when a monster buck walked up, leaving him so shaken he couldn’t draw his bow. Forrest told his uncle the buck’s rack had lots of points and a drop tine.
On opening day of the 2009 gun season, Woolery took a friend to hunt the property and his friend shot a nice doe. Woolery didn’t hunt the place again until six days later when he took his son Ryan. Later, Woolery’s future son-in-law, Craig, drove to the farm for an afternoon hunt.
At 4 p.m., two does came to the feeder positioned just 18 yards from Tim’s stand. At 4:45, both deer raised their heads and gazed intently into the brush, arousing Woolery’s suspicions. “I decided that I better get ready; it could be a buck coming,” he said.
Tim noticed movement and saw a rack of antlers coming toward the does. “I could tell from the buck’s drop tine that it was the deer my nephew described,” Woolery said. Tim raised his rifle and soon caught the big buck in his scope at a mere 18 yards away. He fired when the crosshairs settled on the buck’s shoulder. The shot was perfect; the huge buck dropped instantly.
The buck’s rack spanned 31 1/2 inches and carried 23 points. After drying, the antlers grossed 209 5/8 and netted 197 5/8, a score that makes Tim’s trophy the largest non-typical ever recorded from Blaine County.
JEREMY SPENCER:BRUISER BOW BUCK
August, a friend of Jeremy Spencer’s told him about a big buck he had seen on his property. Spencer set up a game camera and checked it a couple of weeks later. He was shocked to find he’d captured photos of a huge buck with multiple points. Spencer checked the camera every other week and found additional photos of the great buck.
Spencer hunted the buck the first two days of October but wasn’t afforded a glimpse, thanks to the mild weather.
On Oct. 22, just two days before the blackpowder opener, Spencer decided to bow hunt amid a weather change. Climbing into his stand at 3 p.m. Jeremy soon heard blackpowder guns being shot in the distance. “I knew people were sighting in their muzzleloaders, and figured I wouldn’t see anything,” he said.
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