Archery deer season opened Saturday, but last season a Foyil hunter harvested a buck that will be the new state archery record if accepted into the Cy Curtis record book.
Wade Ward harvested the monster buck on his land in Rogers County with a crossbow on Jan. 11.
The typical 14-point buck grossed 196 6/8 and netted 188 4/8 after deductions. Ward has submitted the buck to Boone & Crockett and to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Cy Curtis program, the state's record keeper for trophy bucks.
If approved, it would be the biggest typical buck ever killed during the archery season in Oklahoma and the third-largest typical ever.
Only John Ehmer's buck that scored 194 0/8 and Jason Boyett's buck that scored 191 4/8 are better. Both bucks were killed in Pushmataha County during the 2007 gun season.
Ward, 57, said he had seen the buck on his trail camera for two years but never laid eyes on it until a very cold Jan. 11.
“It was spitting snow and getting down to 5 degrees,” Ward said. “He came out right before dark.”
Ward noted that if the buck season hadn't been extended to Jan. 15, and if crossbows hadn't been legalized, he never would have killed the buck.
He borrowed his wife's crossbow to use in the ground blind that day because it was so cold.
“It was just easier to sit in that ground blind with a crossbow,” he said. “They are a little easier to shoot. You got a scope on it. They are really accurate.”
Ward said the deer came to his corn feeder that he supplemented with Buck Blitz, an Oklahoma deer attractant made in Cheyenne.
“The deer really like that stuff, I will say that for it,” Ward said.
Ward has been a deer hunter for 35 years, and killed many bucks in Kansas, but never thought the biggest buck in his life would be taken in his back yard.
“I've killed some good bucks in Kansas but nothing like this,” he said.
Ward said no hunter in the county had ever reported seeing the buck, even though his land is very close to Blue Creek Park on Oologah Lake. Someone had found a huge shed on Blue Creek, however.
“As far as I know, nobody had ever saw that deer in the daytime,” Ward said. “That buck spent a lot of time on public hunting land, there is no doubt about it.
“It's just amazing that deer could live there and nobody could ever see him and get a shot at him. If I hadn't had the trail camera, I would have never known he existed. He was completely nocturnal.
“He was just a freak. Kind of like Secretariat. They don't come along very often. They sure don't come along in Rogers County like that.”