BIG BUCK STATE OF MIND
George Moore of Edmond travels the state scoring deer antlers for hunters. He puts the tape measure to antlers more than any other Boone & Crockett scorer in the state.
And he says this deer season in Oklahoma is unlike any other.
"It's just been a record year," he said.
Moore has scored 15 bucks in the state whose antlers measured more than 200 inches. Last year he scored four. Thirteen were killed by hunters and one was a roadkill.
The biggest buck of the 15, what could have been a state record whitetail had it been taken by a hunter, was entangled in a barbed wire fence in Le Flore County and found dead.
Moore guesses the deer died in September because it was in a stage of shedding the velvet from the antlers. The bucks can't be officially scored until 60 days after the rack dries.
Moore put the total gross green score on the Le Flore County buck at 269 2/8ths inches and tallied a net score of 259 6/8ths.
That's more than 10 inches larger than the current Oklahoma overall nontypical record buck listed in the state's Cy Curtis records program, a 248 6/8ths inches buck shot by Michael Crossland in Tillman County in 2004.
The big Le Flore County buck, with 26 points on the left and 21 points on the right, was given to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation by Josh Hughes and Drake Fletcher, who recovered it near their hunting property.
The Wildlife Department plans to look for a taxidermist to mount the antlers with the cape of another buck, and it will be placed in a traveling display used at department events.
The Crossland mount also is in possession of the Wildlife Department and on the wall at the agency's headquarters in Oklahoma City, the resolution from a court battle that ensued between the hunter and landowner over the buck.
The Le Flore County buck is the second huge buck the state has claimed this year. A motorist hit a buck with antlers that measured 234 inches near Edmond earlier this fall.
The number of 200-inch bucks that Moore will score this season might even go higher.
"I still got a ton of people calling me and sending me pictures," he said. "I get to see more big deer than anybody in Oklahoma."
Even though the Le Flore County buck is not eligible for a Cy Curtis award since it wasn't killed by a hunter, Boone and Crockett does have a category for found records and the buck will be recognized in its record book, Moore said.
Moore said he is surprised by the number of big bucks he's seen in Oklahoma this hunting season.
"I am really shocked by the number of big nontypical bucks," Moore said.
Moore doesn't know why there has been an explosion of big bucks this hunting season, but speculates it's probably due to the willingness of Oklahoma hunters to let young bucks grow into old bucks before harvesting them.
"As far as percentages (of Boone & Crockett record bucks taken in Oklahoma this season), we are up there with Kansas and Illinois and Ohio and Wisconsin," Moore said.
Three of the 200-inch plus bucks that Moore scored came from Pontotoc County, two by bowhunter Larry Wheeler. The rest of them are spread across the state and not coming from just one region, Moore said.
Now, hunters can seemingly go anywhere in the state and have a chance to kill a big buck, he said.
Oklahoma's deer gun season ended last Sunday. Through Thursday, Oklahoma's deer harvest for the year stood at 94,711 and counting.
Oklahoma's archery deer season continues through Jan. 15. The holiday antlerless gun season opens Dec. 22 and runs through Dec. 31.