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Thread: Oklahoma Giants

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    Oklahoma Giants

    The monster whitetail that Mark Hanaway killed near the Oklahoma City suburb of Jones last fall wasn't the first giant from that area.(September 2007)
    By Mike Lambeth

    When Mark Hanaway first saw this huge buck, he mistook it for a big 10-pointer that he'd seen in the area. It wasn't until after the deer was down that Hanaway realized what he'd killed!
    Photo by Mike Lambeth.

    Each season, hotspots all around our state yield numerous good bucks. Most big-buck encounters are credited to being in the right place at the right time, but in the last 15 years, certain areas have seemed to produce more frequently than have others.

    If asked where the state's biggest bucks come from, most hunters would have their own opinions. Some would pick Pushmataha County, which leads the state in entries in the Cy Curtis record book. Others might select the northwest part of the state, home to some real heavyweights. A faithful reader of this magazine will no doubt have noticed the recurring mention of bucks taken in Oklahoma County. A quarter-century ago, this county in the heart of the Sooner State averaged checking in only 25 deer annually.

    Boy, have things changed! Consider these impressive facts.


    Chris Foutz's late-season 16-pointer from 1992 bested the state's top typical whitetail and, at 179 6/8, was eventually crowned the new state record; taken in Edmond, the huge bow kill held the record for three years.

    An Arcadia resident hunting mushrooms in 2005 stumbled across a partially buried 32-point rack attached to a deteriorated skull. Measured at 201 B&C points, it was entered in the "open" category, which is for antlers either picked up or taken by unknown means. The gnarly mass of bone --bleached white by the elements, moss on its beams -- testified to yet another Oklahoma County giant.

    In 2003, Doug Cleary, afield in the northern part of the county, shot a heavy-beamed non-typical grossing 187 inches. On that same tract of land, lease member Chris Caplinger arrowed two fine P&Y typical bucks -- a 174 7/8 gross and a 146-incher -- in just three days.

    So what makes Oklahoma County so productive?

    "I believe the main reason that Oklahoma County has produced so many big bucks is that the small parcels of land there are overlooked by most hunters," opined Russ Horton, a biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "We already have good genetics, but the deer have the opportunity to grow old and grow their best antlers. These deer in the metro areas have learned to adapt."

    THE JONES CONNECTION
    Jones resident Rick Chandler can attest to big deer being found near that rural community in eastern Oklahoma County: Within walking distance of his home, he took a gnarly non-typical in 2002!

    Primarily agricultural land with very few trees, Chandler's 80-acre hunting spot didn't look like a prime place for taking a big buck. But it did seem to attract does each evening.

    On opening weekend of the 2002 blackpowder season, Chandler hunted from a ground blind on a levee overlooking a dry pond converted to a food plot. On the opposite side of the levee was a small waterhole.

    During the first seven days of blackpowder season, Chandler saw does but no bucks -- understandable, as the weather was unseasonably mild, with showers. Around 4:15 on the final evening, Chandler settled in and began working his grunt call sporadically. About 15 minutes before dark, a big deer ran toward the blind, obviously lured by the sound. It stopped at the edge of the small pond, presenting a 50-yard broadside shot. Settling the open sights just behind the buck's front shoulder, the hunter touched the trigger.

    Later, an amazed Chandler gazed at his buck's unbelievably heavy, multipointed rack. "I was ecstatic," he said. "I had never seen any antlers this large before. I had never seen this buck before on my property."

    Rick counted and recounted the points on the gnarled rack, eventually ending up with 26. The field-dressed buck later bottomed out the check station's 200-pound scales. Witnesses estimated the buck at 240 pounds.

    Scored at the Backwoods Hunting Show, the heavy non-typical rack tallied 182 5/8 points.
    Live, Love, Hunt and Fish

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    Rick counted and recounted the points on the gnarled rack, eventually ending up with 26. The field-dressed buck later bottomed out the check station's 200-pound scales. Witnesses estimated the buck at 240 pounds.

    Scored at the Backwoods Hunting Show, the heavy non-typical rack tallied 182 5/8 points.
    Wow, I don't remember hearing about that buck! I hope he had some help getting it in his truck.

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    That is a monster for Oklahoma especially.

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