Lightning strikes twice for Pontotoc County bowhunter
Few deer hunters kill a buck with 200 inches of antlers in their lifetime, much less two a week apart of each other, but that is what Larry Wheeler of Francis did earlier this month.
Hunting out of the same ladder stand on the same spot of ground in Pontotoc County, Wheeler killed a buck on Oct. 8 that green scored 206-4/8 and another eight days later that measured 202-1/8.
Now the 55-year-old deer hunter from the small town fives miles east of Byng is a local celebrity.
Since word spread through social media about the fete, Wheeler has received more than 1,500 congratulatory messages on Facebook and is asked to share his hunting tale with everyone he meets.
"That's all they talk about," Wheeler said.
He also has been interviewed by a half-dozen outdoor writers from around the country and a Canadian hunting magazine. He is enjoying his newfound fame but said his wife is not.
"My wife hates it because it interferes with me remodeling that bathroom," Wheeler said.
Wheeler, who retired last year from the Oklahoma Army National Guard as a sergeant-major after 36 years of service, has been hunting the pecan grove where he shot the big bucks for 30 years.
"I've never seen anything this big there before," said Wheeler, who uses a crossbow to hunt during the archery season because of previous back and shoulder surgeries.
The pecan grove is owned by a friend of Wheeler's, who encourages him to take as many deer as allowed during the hunting seasons because of the damage they do to the pecan trees.
"They tore up about 25 or more new-growth trees," Wheeler said.
Wheeler said he has culled deer for years while hunting the pecan grove in hopes of one day seeing bigger bucks, but he never expected anything like what showed up twice in eight days.
"It's pretty incredible," he said.
Wheeler said he will spend the rest of the hunting season trying to take some older does and donate the meat to families in need.