Guide Kenny Perry, cameraman Ed George and I hiked down into the canyon near the Cimarron River and found a nice little elevated hill to sit on. Ed was fixing his Sony camera on its tripod and I was digging through my pack for stuff when Kenny hissed, “Buck in the river.”
I peeked up at the deer. One old dude – thick-chested and thin-hipped, with a short, gray face. I hadn’t even looked at his rack yet, and I knew he was a shooter.
“He’s an 8-pointer, kind of weird-looking, good mass, and old,” Kenny reported from behind his binocs.
I fumbled to load my Remington. Ed hopped forward, reached abound my neck, attached a wireless mike to my shirt, ran around behind his camera and started filming. It struck me that the guy was not only a pro movie maker, but quick as a cat too.
The old warrior stepped out of the misty river and ducked into some thick cover. He popped out 250 yards away and I was fixing to kill him, he ducked into some scrub brush and kept moving out toward the wheat field. Gone, just my luck.
Whack, pop, thwack, grind. . . .Grunt, bleat, grrppp, urrrrppp. . . .
I looked over at Kenny, who worked his calls and rattle box with a gleam in his eye. I am a big believer in grunt and bleat calls. I love to rattle with sheds or synthetic horns. But I’d always thought those rattle boxes were a joke. Only a nimrod would use that thing.
The joke’s on me.
“Here he comes!” Kenny whispered. I shivered. Ed the Cat’s camera purred.
The old buck’s face shone a white halo in the new morning sun. His rack was not long on tines, but it was 20 inches wide and gnarled with mass. Old.
He walked in chest-on from 500 yards to 400 to 300. . . . At about 250, he started that aggressive posturing and hoof-popping of a dominant deer. He came faster and harder now.
I held my fire – almost too long. The beast trotted to within 125 yards, turned and walked behind a screen of trees. Just as he was about to pop out into a shooting hole, he sensed something was amiss, turned and coiled to bolt. Sixth sense?
Grrrrruuuurrrppp. Kenny cut loose a mighty grunt you could have heard for 200 yards. I jumped. The buck stopped and looked up at us for a split-second; I pressed the Remington’s trigger. The 140-grain bullet hit high in the lungs and drove him down onto the sandbar. He died 40 yards from the salty river.
We walked over to my first Okie buck. Probably 6½ years old, with a thick-beamed, 145-inch rack. It took the better part of the day to get him out of the riverbottom. Ed the Cat hopped around and filmed the arduous drag all the way. It ought to make an awesome movie.
Trip notes: If you’d like to plan a similar hunt for Oklahoma whitetails for fall 2006, contact O-KAN Outfitters. . . . Non-resident buck tags are available over the counter at Wal-Mart for about $300, a bargain these days… Watch for this hunt on the all-new “Whitetail Xtremes” TV show to air on OLN starting this August. . . . That was the third buck I shot last year with a Remington Model 700 CDL in 7mm Rem. Ultra Mag (RUM) and a 140-grain Core-Lokt bullet. All the deer fell in their tracks.