As Oklahoma's dreamy 2017-18 big buck run continues, Edmond hunter Steven Everett writes the latest chapter with a massive 246-inch net non-typical rifle trophy buck nicknamed "Goliath."
For Edmond, Okla., hunter Steven Everett, hunting has long been a part of the fabric of his life.
"I've been hunting since I was about 5 years old," he said. "My dad [Johnnie] used to take me dove hunting in Mississippi, where I grew up, and told me I was his bird dog.
"I loved every second of going on hunts with him, but my favorite has always been white-tailed deer hunting," he added.
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"The excitement of seeing a deer and sitting in the stand with my dad and grandad as a kid is what I loved [most]."
And the hunter has the video to prove it.
"I got to harvest my first deer when I was 9 years old while my dad videotaped it," smiled Everett. "You could see the gun shaking like crazy from the box stand on the video."
Everett may have been shaking on Nov. 18 after harvesting what is sure to be one of the largest whitetails in Oklahoma history. The buck, nicknamed "Goliath," scored an amazing 246 net inches.
"I'll never forget walking up and touching the antlers, something I'd dreamed about a thousand times," Everett said. "It was all worth it."
Now 37 and a medical sales expert with Stryker Spine, Everett is a dedicated family man himself, married to Kinsey and father to 8-year-old boy/girl twins Max and Maris, and 3-year-old son Miles.
In recent years, Everett was able to purchase a farm in Oklahoma's Logan County, a place named the ESE Ranch.
"I was hooked [on hunting], but always had to hunt other friends' land and never felt completely comfortable taking deer off someone else's property," he said. "I understand that now, after owning my own land and putting in all the time and energy to harvest a big buck.
"It has made hunting so much more fun having my own place," he added.
Especially when he learned that there was a literal giant of an Oklahoma whitetail calling the farm home.
"The previous owner is a friend of mine and told me there was a big deer on property," said Everett. "I put up trail cams up and we got a picture of the deer I named, 'Goliath.' That was the first name I thought of after I saw him. I couldn't close my mouth and have never seen a deer that wide in my life."
After seeing the giant whitetail on his computer screen, a multi-year hunting saga began for Everett as he chased the giant of his dreams.
"I became obsessed with trying to figure this deer out, putting up more cameras trying to figure where he was bedding and [his] travel routes," said the hunter. "This was new to me, so it took me a while, but I never really figured him out."
Why is that?
"He was very nocturnal and only came out in the rut and the late season," said Everett. "I have hundreds of trail-cam pics, almost all at night. It was always exciting pulling trail-cam cards [though]."
Over the next few years, the Oklahoma hunter found the giant buck to be not much more than a huge antlered apparition.
"The first year, he came out [only once on virtually] the last day of the season," said Everett. "There were four bucks coming down the hill behind me and I was in a ground blind. I saw him but the first bucks winded me and stared at me so I couldn't move.
"But somehow after the stare down [ensued], I was able to take a [bow] shot because I thought I might never get the chance again," he added. "My arrow missed right under him. ...
"I'll never forget that rack as he ran off into the woods."
While Everett was excited to chase the buck again during the 2016-17 season, "Goliath" became even more of a ghost, appearing only on trail camera photos and never in the woods.
"In 2016, he was bigger and I hunted very hard, but I never saw him while hunting," he said.
Which brings us to the 2017-18 season and Everett's ongoing quest for "Goliath."
"He showed up again this year and I started to pattern [him] more," said Everett. "When he got on a doe in the rut, I knew where he was."
As this woodsy chess match continued, the hunter thought he had "Goliath" cornered.
"I hunted one day 14 hours straight and he came out with his doe to 70 yards, only to be spooked by hogs that ran into the field," said Everett.
As Thanksgiving Day approached, the Sooner State's weather turned warm and dry, keeping much of the big buck rutting action during the overnight hours.
But on Nov. 18, that all changed. While the full details of Everett's Oklahoma gun season hunt will be revealed in a future 2018 North American Whitetail magazine story, suffice it to say that the hunter was able to make a successful shot with his Browning X-Bolt 7MM Rem Mag rifle.
With hunters adrenaline surging, it took Everett and his 61-year-old father a bit longer to find the buck than anticipated, but the buck had actually not gone very far at all.
"I took my flashlight out and just started shining it underneath the trees to the left of where I thought he went in and saw some white hair," recalled Everett. "I yelled at my dad, 'I found him!' and he came running over and we embraced again with relief."
When the father and son were able to sit down next to "Goliath," a wave of different emotions came over them.
"[Recovering him] was one of the best feelings of my life," said Everett. "I wanted to shoot him with my bow, but after I had such bad luck, I thought I'll take him any legal way I can."
As news began to spread via word of mouth and social media, Everett â€“ who said he has previously taken about 10 deer with only a couple "worth mounting" — was about to be introduced front and center to the bright lights of world-class whitetails.
"My dad and I have never needed to score a deer, so we got on line, bought some Trophy Tape and tried our best," said Everett. "We felt we were conservative and came up with around 246 inches gross.
"I knew he was big, but had no idea he was this big. I just hoped he would be 200 inches."
At that point, an official measurer entered the picture.
"George Moore, the Boone and Crockett Club scorer in our area [Editor's note: Moore is also a frequent contributor to Game & Fish and North American Whitetail magazines], he called and said he wanted to score it," said Everett. "He came over and when he tallied it up to 255 inches gross, we about fell out of my kitchen table chairs!
"With deductions, he will end up being somewhere around 246 inches net, which would put him in second place all-time [in Oklahoma]," added the hunter. "He broke off at least three-inches of his main beam, so in my mind he's the biggest ever. What a blessed experience this has been!"
Since "Goliath" was tagged by Everett, the Edmond hunter has become something of a celebrity on social media, local television news programs, and in Sooner State newspapers.
What does he do now for an encore?
"I thank God for this blessing and the memory I'll have forever," said Everett. "Now I'm looking forward to filming my kids harvesting their first deer and doing it all over again just the way my dad did with me. I will always love hunting and will never give it up.
"It's about watching nature, turning your phone off and spending time with friends and family," he added.
"The big buck is nice, but it's just a cherry on top for me."